Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
On this Canada Day, as a Canadian living abroad, I want to thank you.
Canada has a long history of standing up for freedom. Most strikingly, but not only, when the free world was threatened in the second world war, Canada carried out a vital role in defending the Free World and contributed forces beyond what can be expected of a small nation of then only 11 million people.
Between 1939 and 1945 more than one million Canadian men and women served full-time in the armed services! More than 42,000 were tragically killed while heroically defending freedom and Canadian values.
Canada was a lighthouse for freedom, with a clear moral compass and showing the world how a small country that is ready to stand up for what is right can make a real difference.
However, in the past few decades, Canada became the country of neutrality. Canada started becoming more Swiss than Canadian. Instead of standing up for Freedom, Canada stayed away from big questions of international relations preferring the safe route of consensus and neutrality to the tough battle for Freedom and values. By trying to please everyone, our moral voice was silenced. We were seen as “nice and friendly” but nothing more. We had no voice.
This was true until you, Mr. Harper, became Prime Minister. Since then, Canada has regained its voice, Canada has regained its moral clarity. Our country has regained its moral leadership.
In the middle east, Canada stands strong for the only democracy in the region, Israel (where I now live), against all its detractors, even paying a heavy price in the UN for this moral stance. Canada stands strong against the atrocities of ISIS, participating in the international effort to eradicate this evil.
Canada also strands strong against Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the greatest threat to the free world today.
When Russia invaded Ukraine, Canada’s voice was especially loud in opposing this act of aggression by Vladimir Putin. You, Mr. Prime Minister, were not afraid to confront Putin and tell him to “Get out of Ukraine”. You even stood up clearly and said: “I don’t think Russia under Vladimir Putin belongs in the G7. Period.”
If Canada had been made irrelevant by recent governments, you made Canada’s voice relevant again. You made Canada’s voice loud again. You made Canada’s voice heard again. And it is a voice of great morality and positive values. A voice for freedom and democracy.
As a Canadian living abroad, I am prouder than ever to be Canadian, and this is in many ways thanks to your clear moral stance.
Your friend and former Canadian Foreign Minister put it best: “Sometimes you should be a referee and a rule-setter, but if you want to get a certain result, you have to be a player. When it comes to promoting Canadian values and interests, we can’t afford to not be a player.”
You, Mr. Prime Minister, not only made us a player, but also a candidate for Most Valuable Player. The world now once again can look at Canada for moral leadership.
It is puzzling to me as a Canadian living abroad, who sees your success both in foreign policy and in internal Canadian policies (which were not discussed here), to understand why the polls shows the election coming up this year will be so close.
You are clearly one of the most competent leaders in the free world today. You make us prouder than ever to be Canadian.
On this Canada Day, I want to wish you a Happy Canada Day, and I hope that next year also, you will be celebrating this great day as Prime Minister of our great country.
Dan Illouz – Jerusalem