I think it's natural for people to get their backs up when criticized, particularly when that criticism is coming from outside the family. So I think I was naturally upset last week reading about the U.S. government report calling Canada a terrorist haven.
This has been a favourite rant of the Bill O'Leillys, Pat Buchanans and other no-factanistas of the American right. Never mind the fact none of the 9/11 hijackers came through Canada, and it was colossal blunders by the FBI and other U.S. law enforcement authorities that failed to apprehend the terrorists.
Still, this kind of nonsense is par the course from the American right and I usually pay it no attention, although I was disappointed to see Stephen Harper react by taking off his cap and begging forgiveness (while throwing in the requisite Blame the Liberals defence) instead of saying (diplomatically of course) bullshit.
But what really annoyed me was that this report, to buttress its Canada=terrorist haven claim, brought up the Maher Arar case. Remember him, the completely innocent citizen shipped-off by the Canadian and U.S. governments to be tortured in Jordan (the outsourcing of the 21st century)? According to the Bush Administration, "the Arar case underscores a greater concern for the United States: the presence in Canada of numerous suspected terrorists and terrorist supporters."
In case you missed it the first time, he was COMPLETLTY INNOCENT! With fact checking like this, this report and the contention Canada is a terrorist haven has just as much credibility as Bush's pre-Iraq war WMD claims and Colin Powell's RV chemical factories from his UN show and tell.
The Globe put it well in a recent editorial (click here to avoid the subscriber firewall):
Hard as it may be to believe, the name Maher Arar stands for a Canada soft on terrorism, in the eyes of the U.S. State Department.
This is the same Maher Arar who was apprehended by the U.S. government in the fall of 2002 while changing planes in New York, deported without a judicial hearing to his birthplace of Syria, incarcerated in a cell only slightly larger than his body for a year and tortured -- without credible evidence emerging in a public forum, then or now, that he is a terrorist.