Thursday, October 22, 2015

Meet Canada's New Prime Minister

By Promod Puri

His father, Pierre Trudeau, was an intellectual statesman. Justin Trudeau may not fall into that grade. But the genes are there.

He is a  "thoughtful and intelligent guy", says former Liberal leader Bob Rae. In his policy statements we see rays of hope for better and more compassionate Canada in the years to come.

The clear majority gained by the Liberal Party under his leadership and with dignified campaign, not only demonstrated the rejection of ultra right wing politics of discrimination, anti-immigration and fake security concerns, but it restores the confidence in Canadian values of humanism and compassion in both national and international affairs.

Justin Trudeau's rise to political leadership has been like that of an ordinary common man. He worked his own way to climb that ladder. He was not handed a life in politics on a platter as being the son of legendary former prime minister.

His adult life began as a school teacher, snowboard instructor, bouncer in a night club, and playing a role of war hero in a World War 1 TV drama. These credentials show the traits of a young man trying to gain some space in the society.

Yes, he also has a tattoo of Haida nation printed on his arms. He loves ethnic food; his first outing with his date, now his wife Sophie, was to Khyber Pass, an Afghan restaurant in Montreal. He performs Bhangra too.

From this simple portfolio we can see the emergence of a down-to-earth leader who has promised some fundamental changes reflecting the "thoughtful and intelligent" approach to run the affairs of the nation.

In his declared statements Trudeau promised to review the dreadful anti-terrorism laws which could encourage a reign of terror thru fake encounters.

He has expressed openness to let in all the views and concerns in dealing with environmental issues.

He declared to pursue a humanitarian and independent foreign policy which is not influenced by the big brothers south of the border. This foreign policy puts Canada in its traditional role of no-combat military involvements, but for peaceful missions only. He has already announced that Canada will withdraw fighter jets from Iraq and Syria.

His domestic liberal policies include: legalizing marijuana, protection of transgender people, reuniting families of immigrants, reinvigorate ethnic cultures and diversities, and bring more diversity in the government. He has promised welcoming refugee policies. He has announced Canada will admit 25,000 Syrian refugees by the year end.

Mr. Trudeau has recognized the true multicultural fabric of Canada. It was also the hallmark of his father's political life when he declared multiculturalism as the official policy of the Canadian government. His has shown his enthusiastic participation in ethnic cultural events. More than that he recognizes the contribution of Canada's ethnic diversity to make this nation a truly multicultural society of equal opportunities.

There is faith in Mr. Trudeau's ethnic sentiments. And that is the kind of leadership the ethnic communities feel encouraged to see their involvement in Canadian affairs.

Friday, January 9, 2015


By Promod Puri

It was not a case of freedom of press but just an abuse of that freedom.

French sensational tabloid Charlie Hebdo published cheap, filthy and indecent caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad weeping, naked and in sexual poses.

It featured a mock debate about whether Jesus exists.

In its unrefined style the CB suggests that the Pope is stepping aside to be with his girlfriend.

A glib satire in customary French humor the tabloid once carried a cartoon showing rolls of toilet paper marked "Bible", "Torah", and "Quran". It carried the explanation: In the toilet, all religions".

It pride itself to be a cruder. And nobody was off limit. The loud-mouthed journal prey often included politicians and public figures as slackers indulging in wine and women.

It provoked a terrorist group head with New Year greeting card in black and white with the caption, " To your health". And in its most recent edition CB published a haunting image of an armed terrorist with the wording "Still no attacks in France; Wait! We have until the end of January to offer our wishes.”

The tabloid is just a piece of vicious wit. It tried to amuse. But very few subscribed to that insensible hilarity. With low reported circulation of 30,000 the tabloid try to sell itself thru yellow journalism. And covers itself under freedom of the press.

French laws about press freedom may be more liberal. But no democratic country can allow absolute freedom. There are both ethical and legal curbs for responsible exercise of democratic freedoms. That includes press freedom as well.

Wielding a pen to hurt and to humiliate, to ridicule and to disgrace, to downgrade and to decivilize a person or a populace, do mask the freedom of expression and freedom of press. 

Journalism in particular is a serious business, not a hunting sport or entertainment. It requires discipline, a commitment toward objectivity and to refrain from hurting feelings of an individual or a community of people. A pen is meant to create harmony and understanding for a civilized and peaceful society. If not handled responsibly pen is as much a killer as a gun.

Pen is mightier than sword. True. As long as it is used prudently.