Red Poppy, White Poppy. Different Colours, Same Flower

781px-White_PoppyJulian Fantino, the M.P and Minister who is closing Veterans Affairs offices across the country, has come out swinging against pacifists. This former police chief, who has never been ordered to put his own life on the line for his country, claims the white poppy is “an offensive attempt to politicize Remembrance Day.”  Whether I wear a red poppy or a pink delilah, it is irresponsible for a Minister of the Crown to make negative attributions about a group of law-abiding Canadian citizens and claim they all intend to insult veterans. It takes a lot of balls to accuse pacifists of ‘politicizing’ Remembrance Day when the Harper Tories use every government tool at their disposal as a potential campaign ad, including Canadian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.

Allow me clarify what a white poppy means to me. It means I’m sick of being lied to. The whole Vietnam War was based on a lie. The Gulf of Tonkin “incident” has now been acknowledged as a U.S. fabrication, which ultimately cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. The whole weapons-of-mass-destruction justification for invading Iraq was another U.S. fabrication which benefited Dick Cheney’s company tremendously at the expense of the lives of thousands of Americans and over 50,000 innocent civilians among the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties. Closer to home, the goverment of Canada has always made the committment to honour the sacrifices our vets make by promising to treat them with dignity and respect. As Rick Mercer’s latest rant makes plain, our current government is failing miserably by kicking wounded vets out of the military months before their eligibility for indexed pensions. Methinks Fantino wanted to distract us from that reality with his attempt to sow conflict among the poppy-wearing public.

The government likes to trot out and stand beside the old World War vets because they represent a simpler, cleaner kind of war that took place where the truth could be better controlled. The red poppy I wear says thank you to all the Canadian soldiers who, to the best of their knowledge, were doing something right and just and honourable. If I wear a white poppy, it is to express my disgust for a government that lied to those good men and women and continues to do so. Mr. Fantino, my white poppy is not an insult to veterans; it is a criticism of a government that fails to walk the talk and your own ministry’s abysmal track record.


About Connect ALL the Dots

Just trying to make the world a better place.

Posted on November 7, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Well said. Unfortunately, be prepared for blowback 😦

    • Thanks. Here’s hoping people will actually read it before firing off an emotional reaction to some meaning that isn’t actually there. Fantino’s poorly-thought-out comments were unfortunate, but worse was the way Sun news fanned the flames of controversy by misrepresenting the whole idea behind the white poppy. They said nothing about the U.K. origins of the movement, just took off-the-cuff remarks of some students who were not very media savvy and spun them out in a way calculated to piss off the maximum number of people. That isn’t journalism, its called propaganda.

  2. I’m not agreeing that the White poppy should be worn on Nov 11th, however your views on the subject are valid. I’m a former soldier and therefor a little jaded, but for your arguement. I hope you wear both with pride.

  3. Many thanks. I couldn’t have said it better.

  4. I don’t have a problem with anyone wearing a white poppy. However, as it represents the celebration of peace and the red poppy represents remembrance, it would more than likely benefit them finding another day, a day of their own.

    The other two points I wish to make or query are the remarks stating these young pacifists did not care what the vets thought about any of their plans and wearing a red poppy celebrates war?! If they did make these statements and it’s not just media hype, then it was very disrespectful and rude. No one seems to know from where or whom they got the idea that wearing a red poppy celebrates war.

    Remembrance Day has never been about celebrating war. Were they not listening or did they not attend any ceremonies in their past? Anyway, prior to the publication of these words, the on-line comment boards were about normal in volume. Shortly after this article appeared, it was like a storm had blown in on the comment sections and it was these two elements that were being attacked, the rudeness and the assumption of wearing a red poppy.

    • Yes, a good choice for a day of their own might be September 21 – the International Day of Peace.
      One person did make a statement to the effect that he or she would continue to distribute white poppies, even though some people might be offended. Clearly this was an unwise statement to make to a Sun news reporter, even though nobody was advocating replacing the red poppy with the white, and these kids were wearing red poppies at time. If these young people misunderstand the meaning of a red poppy, what is the intelligent response to that? Certainly not the threats of physical violence I’ve seen on facebook! Maybe we need to have more rational conversations about what poppies mean to those who have served. If the young misunderstand the red poppy, we need to respond with education, conversation, and sharing our personal experiences.
      My own son stood at attention in the wind and rain today, proud to wear the uniform of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. He’s only 16, and wants to join the military after he’s done school. I would prefer that my only child not put himself in harms way because too often the justifications turn out to be morally inadequate, but I cannot make that decision for him. What I can do is make sure my vote supports the promise that all vets are treated properly when they come home. I want this country to prove itself worthy of the sacrifices of the fallen and help create a world where war is a thing of the past. Getting our knickers in a twist over a white poppy will not help us reach this goal.

  1. Pingback: Remembering the Dead we Betrayed | Solve All the Problems

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: