E-letter: Salut

In case you hadn’t heard, all-Canadian icon and hockey broadcaster Don Cherry stepped in it last weekend. He went “over the top.” He made an observation about “immigrants,” and his world, including his co-host, are treating him as if he has leprosy. In fact, he’s fired as of Monday —Remembrance Day.

Kerry Knudsen

Let’s be honest. Don Cherry is a clown and a commentator. I say “clown” because all you need to do is watch his costumes. Now those are a statement! But his mannerisms are the mannerisms of a clown — a court jester — a commentator on the crown, the parliament, current events and society. Clowns, as Shakespeare was fond of showing, are seldom frivolous. In Shakespeare, the clown was the only one at Court that could speak Truth to the King. From what I have read, Cherry’s offending words last Saturday night regarding immigrants were: “You people you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.” The price to which Cherry referred is death. Dead. To Cherry, whether we like it or not, the artificial poppies so many of us wear leading up to Remembrance Day each year signify a salute to the 212,530 total casualties Canada suffered during The Great War. Cherry’s maternal grandfather served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in WWI.   Monday was Remembrance Day. I have featured Remembrance Day in this space in years gone by. This year, the news reports on Cherry’s firing all seem to miss the back story. For example, on Nov. 5, 2011, Cherry declined an honourary degree from the Royal Military College of Canada because some protester objected to Cherry’s nomination. According to the National Post at the time, “Mr. Cherry’s stalwart support for the members of the Canadian Forces and his entertaining personality have helped boost military morale for over two decades, said the RMCC news release, which also mentioned his work with charitable causes, including organ donor awareness and the pediatric and hospice care facility for children called the Darling Home for Kids.” The fact is, I am an immigrant, my son-in-law is an immigrant, my paternal grandparents were immigrants and virtually everybody reading this is either an immigrant or descended from immigrants. “You people.” I hope Cherry misspoke when he said, “You people you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey.” I hope, rather, the  “you people” came here because they love what Canada represents — freedom, private ownership of property and businesses, strength in battle and compassion in peace — stuff that is worth dying for. I share other people’s disdain for people that come here for entitlements — to have somebody else work to support their demands. We have enough native-born Hosers already. Here is another all-Canadian icon. Tell me if you can guess what it is:

Fundamental freedoms

    1. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
    • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
    • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
    • (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
    • (d) freedom of association.
It’s at the very top of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, right under this:


Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

Rights and freedoms in Canada

    1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
If you never know anything else about Canada but that, you will be well off. Notice, for example, that it says, “freedom of peaceful assembly.” Can you square peaceful assembly with Antifa or Occupy? If you’re puzzled, the answer is no. It also says, “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression….”   At the very top, right under the title, it says, “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God….” I wonder if our current government knows that? It often seems not. Our soldiers believed they were fighting to enshrine those principles in eternity. It was to be the War to End All Wars, but it was not. Curiously, a new world war would come along within a lifetime, and in this one the Axis Powers, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, all had as part of their doctrine a belief in the supremacy of man and the absence of God, much along the line of contemporary media and academics. And government. Note it is the media that is promoting this idea, but it is not the independently owned media of the Charter. It is a bunch of stenographers for special and commercial interests that don’t dare take an opposing view for reasons Cherry has made painfully clear. Cross into No-Man’s Land, and you’re dead. They don’t even dare call themselves reporters anymore. They “journal.” Cherry is 85. That likely means he knows a hell of a lot more than you do about veterans. He saw the still-green ends of legs and arms that had been blown off, the gauze over faces and the glass eyes, the push-carts and breathing tubes sported by returning veterans. It makes an impact. It educates. Cherry refuses to apologize. To me, that looks like the principles of a great man and the spine of a hero. At 85, clearly believing he was forced into either acting on his beliefs or prostrating himself before the altar of his media bosses, he acted. Don Cherry chose his hill to die on. I’d say he’s in good company. Salut.
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  2. Hi Kerry,
    I enjoyed your editorial. I however I question why virtually every one misses the most salient words Don Cherry spoke. It’s not the “you people” part; that is a common catch all phrase he uses regularly. “You People” can apply to any group, any demographic, any object of his discussion. It is the words that come next that narrows his focus to a tight spectrum excluding other possibilities. To paraphrase as you did….”You people, you come here, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey”…. He is not addressing me the immigrant nor you the immigrant who has lived here for many years and reverently wear the poppy every year, rather he is talking about the New Immigrants. The New Immigrant who is more discernable as different in a crowded city like Toronto or Mississauga.
    He began his opinion piece decrying the fact that he does not see the people in downtown Toronto or Mississauga wearing the poppy as Veteran’s Day approaches. That is a fair statement in that it encompasses a broad demographic. Business people, lawyers, Bay street brokers, shop vendors, cabbies, tourists, students, shoppers they all fall into the mix. Had DC just urged everyone to wear the poppy and show the respect it reflects then he would have been praised graciously for his continued service to the Veterans. It is the unnecessary swing in the narrative he took next that has many heartily disappointed and taken aback. He had it in the palm of his hand, but by laying the heft of his perceived disrespect towards Veterans on the backs of “those who come here” to the exclusion of others ……well that is the cliff he created and jumped off on his own.
    So sad to see how quickly this has divided Canadian people, perhaps we are not as generous as we like to think.
    Patricia Stewart

  3. Wow, nice one

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