Now fast forward to 2017, Justin Trudeau and Omar Khadr

Canada's Passchendaele Heroes Offer Lessons for Today


By —— Bio and Archives August 5, 2017

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One hundred years ago, Canadians were slugging it out with the Germans on a muddy battlefield near Passchendaele in northwestern Belgium. The Canadians fought with great distinction, gaining Canada new international respect, and the conflict still holds lessons for today.

As the National Post noted, for their bravery in that battle nine Canadians won the Victoria Cross, including private Tommy Holmes from Montreal. He took out took two German machine gun positions and forced the surrender of 19 enemy troops.

Nine Canadians won the Victoria Cross

Winnipeg’s Christopher O’Kelly captained a battalion that captured six German fortifications, ten machine guns and took 100 prisoners. George Mullin of Moosomin, Saskatchewan, took out an enemy sniper and two German machine gunners.

Private Cecil Kinross, with only his rifle, mounted a solo charge across the field and prevailed against a six-man gun crew. Private James Robertson, the pride of Pictou Nova Scotia, personally took down four members of a gun crew and turned the captured gun on the fleeing Germans.

Major George Pearkes of the Canadian Mounted Rifles, took a bullet in the thigh but with only a few men held the German position he had captured. Corporal Colin Baron, a Scottish immigrant, also captured a German gun position all by himself, under heavy fire.

Against the odds and in terrible conditions, Canadian troops captured the town of Passchendaele, a great victory for Canada but at great cost. More than 4,000 Canadians died at Passchendaele, and 12,000 were wounded. The heroes got their Victoria Crosses, and that prompts a centennial meditation.

Suppose a Canadian-born fighter had gone to Europe in 1917 and fought with the Germans and their Ottoman Empire allies against Canada and its French, English, Russian, Italian and American allies. Suppose this pro-German fighter had killed an American medic and wounded other allied soldiers before being captured by one of Canada’s allies.

Suppose that Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden had freed this fighter from prison, given him the equivalent of $8 million, plus an apology from the Canadian government. The brave men who put their lives on the line for Canada would likely have mounted a march on Ottawa. Fast-forward to 2017.

Canadian-born Omar Khadr, son of an al-Qaeda terrorist bagman

Canadian-born Omar Khadr, son of an al-Qaeda terrorist bagman, was not a member of Canada’s armed forces. He traveled to Afghanistan, where Canada and its allies were engaged in a military conflict, and fought against them. He killed an American medic in a grenade attack. The Canadian government sprung Khadr from prison, gave him $8 million, many times more than most Canadian workers will earn in a lifetime. Then they sweetened Khadr’s windfall by tacking on an official apology.

Tommy Holmes, Cecil Kinross, Christopher O’Kelly, Colin Brown, and thousands of Canadian troops would have found it very strange. After all, Khadr was not a Canadian soldier and had never done anything for Canada that even approached the sacrifice of Canada’s Passchendaele heroes.

George Pearkes went on to fight in World War II, served four terms in Parliament, and was Canada’s defence minister from 1957 to 1960. Canadians might remember that Trudeau père did not serve in World War II. Canadians who did serve, like my uncle James Richard Billingsley, wounded in action twice, called such people “zombies.”

Canadians of all stripes, particularly veterans, have other terms and phrases for Trudeau fils.

The establishment media doubtless find these descriptions offensive, but they do capture who he is.



Lloyd Billingsley -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Our Time After a While: Reflections of a Borderline Baby Boomer, a memoir about growing up in Windsor, Ontario.

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