Guns and Politics in Canada

The gun is now a part of Canadian politics. Richard Henry Bain killed one person and injured another at the PQ rally last Wednesday night. He was ill, it seems, and a recluse, like many of those who suddenly, unexpectedly, tragically erupt into violence.

It’s tempting to leave it there, at the feet of a mad man. But, like so many other, similar mad men, Mr Bain has tapped into something deeper and darker in our national psyche. Some old business we’ve left unfinished.

He’s English, and when he yelled “the English are waking up” he tainted the next four years of politics in Québec. We must be careful that the blood he spilled does not stain us in ‘the rest of Canada’.

I remember, now, my last visit to Québec. I chatted with two students from the Université de Québec about the federal election. The conversation was polite—not the sycophantic politeness that makes you cringe. It was a respectful courtesy—discourse without rancour or rhetoric. It was pure Canadian curtesie, to use the old English word, politesse to use the French … tough stands argued bravely, with honour and a smile.  Their wit and their charm were disarming, and typically Canadian.

Is it still true? It’s only been a year. Have the hate-filled politics of our neighbour to the south finally infected us?

Among us there are some, both mad and bad, who pick up the threads of political discord and act in ways that unravel the social fabric and test our national character.

But whenever rage overwhelms reason we are all of us bereft and bloodied. Let us ignore all calls to arms. And heed our national impulse to disarm.

© David McLaren September 6, 2012


About David McLaren

David McLaren is an award-winning writer. He has worked in government and the private sector, with NGOs and First Nations in Ontario. He is currently writing from Neyaashiinigamiing on the shore of Georgian Bay and can be reached at In February 2015, he won the nomination for the NDP to represent the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound in the 2015 federal election. See that page for writings during the campaign.
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One Response to Guns and Politics in Canada

  1. “who pick up the threads of political discord and act in ways that unravel the social fabric and test our national character.” – Yes, and I believe that harper has sewn those threads through his total disdain for unity in general and Canada in particular; he has done more to induce divisiveness than any other pm, faux or not!
    I’m appalled that – somehow – this despot (for he is that, nothing less) remains in ‘power’, stolen it seems, from honest Canadians that have been far too trusting ……

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