Monday, December 18, 2006

In New Brunswick, "support the troops" or lose your job

When I'm away for a weekend to relax, I hate getting roped into activities I don't feel like doing. I call it "compulsory fun", an obvious oxymoron. The same goes for enforcing patriotism or support of things like the military. I really hope what I've written about below plays out very differently.

I don't know Jacques Beaulieu, the coach of the Quebec Major Junior league Saint John Seadogs but I can safely predict his name being mud on websites like and on various left leaning websites before the night is down, because he fired winger Dave Bouchard, a 20 year old left wing, for failing to sign a flag being sent to a Canadian Forces detachment in Afghanistan. Said M. Beaulieu:
"Morally, we have standards with this hockey team and that's a standard that we believe in." "I mean, if Dave doesn't believe in it, that's fine. But he won't be part of it. He won't be part of this organization. That's the standard that we set."
I'm sure someone out there believes Beaulieu when he claims the player was fired for performance reasons. Maybe M. Beaulieu's parents, if they are living. Bouchard will be labelled a "war resister" despite his rather lame stated reason that he "thought someone else signed his name" and his previous participation in a photo-op at CFB Gagetown - his name appearing in lights on the anti-Afghan blogs will generate bile from right wing bloggers as a rotten French traitor. We can only hope Don Cherry stays well away from this.

UPDATE: The league has given the coach a suspension but fudged the issue of the player's dismissal. Also, it turns out nobody should be signing flags anyway.

I support the Canadian presence in Afghanistan. I'm not sure we're doing the cleverest things out there - like buying the local marijuana and opium to dry up the supply heading to Europe and North America rather than trying to destroy (and not having much luck and annoying the locals who depend on the income). We're in there now and we should prove the Afghans who doubt the commitment of Westerners wrong. But I don't propose that anyone else be forced to believe that unless they sit in the Federal Cabinet.

Even if M. Bouchard was truly mistaken about the flag, how many more of these mementos are out there with false professions of support because of the wish to keep the signer out of bother? How many antiwar petitions have names on them for equally selfish reasons?
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