My bleeding Canadian heart was so relieved today when I read that an ďinternational forensics teamĒ is hurrying to the west coast to disinter and investigate the remains of those poor, cute little sled dogs that got shot soon after the 2010 Olympics.International experts hired for sled dog investigation A team of international forensic experts has been hired to dig up the mass grave of 100 sled dogs slaughtered in Whistler last year,
Donít say we arenít a humanitarian people. We Canucks sure love our pets, at least.
We have the English to thank for our civilized humanity, of course. Sometime around the time of the war that was supposed to end war, when over a thousand miners in south Wales had died from explosions and on the job accidents, King George V wrote an incensed letter to the mine owners of the region, demanding that they treat their pit ponies more humanely.
The mine owners complied.
Around the same time, the city council of Norwich enacted a law protecting the local toad population by ordering the suspension of buckets every few hundred yards along the local roadways. If residents didnít carry the toads across the road to avoid their getting mashed by vehicles, the good folk of Norwich could face fines or imprisonment.
The toads were saved.
A few years earlier, after shipping out record boatloads of wheat and cattle from a starving Ireland, Queen Victoria and her Church of England sent specialists to Cork and Dublin to see what aid could be brought to the ravenous multitudes there in the form of workhouses for the poor.
The Irish were animals, you see, and therefore worthy of our attention.
Darn it, I am so proud of my heritage of Anglo-Saxon humanitarianism that Iím going to go and personally welcome that forensic team when they arrive next week in Vancouver, to get to the bottom of that horrible crime committed against a bunch of innocent sled dogs.
Besides, being foreigners, the investigators wonít know their way around. They might dig up the wrong mass grave.
I used to have it all wrong about my country. I thought that Canadians just didnít care about dead little Indian kids. Back in the spring of 2008, I assumed that when not a single cop, politician or reporter replied to my published list of twenty eight mass graves near former Indian residential schools, it was because they were all indifferent to aboriginal people.
I thought, with typical liberal arrogance, that when five hundred native women went missing and the RCMP said there were only nine, it meant our noble Mounties were trying to cover up murder.
How wrong I was.
Of course we care. Indians are animals, after all, and therefore worthy of our tender mercies.
We have allotted the aboriginals the kind of care they deserve, as we do to all our pets. First, after eliminating and breeding out the savage ones among them, we domesticated, neutered and trained the rest to do our bidding. Today, we confine them to kennels and toss them our scraps; and when we discover that wrong has been done to them, we establish a Royal Commission to study the wrong.
Sometimes animals go astray, and need to be hunted. Mistakes are made. But you just canít rush these things. The Indians arenít like you and me, and they themselves have not been exactly chomping at their bits to dig up the remains of their own people who have died. We wouldnít let them, of course, but thatís beside the point. A housebroken animal knows its place.
Besides, thanks to our own special Indian Act, they have no need of the prerogatives of citizenship, like the right to refuse medical treatment or enjoy due process. We take care of our Indians. We know their needs before they do. We will provide them all the compensation, and apologies, and healing and reconciliation that they will ever need.
So why in Godís name should we disturb this special, thoughtful arrangement by digging up the wrong mass grave?
You know, itís good to live in a country like Canada, where pets get treated the right way; where even the lowest animal can receive justice, and a proper criminal investigation. We care that much.