Members of the Quebec National Assembly get it. MNAs from all parties wore red poppies in the legislature yesterday in a show of solidarity with the military and out of respect for the two Canadian soldiers killed in terrorist attacks this week in Ottawa and St. Jean-sur-Richelieu.
Ian Orr gets it. A member of Royal Canadian Legion branch 66 in east end Montreal, Orr told the Montreal Gazette that he and other veterans will wear their uniforms proudly during Remembrance Day ceremonies. "We've been under fire before," he said, "and we're not going to run away."
Members of the Montreal Police Brotherhood get it. They'll dispense with their pension plan protest wardrobes and go back to wearing full uniforms on the days of the funerals for the fallen soldiers.
Glenn Greenwald doesn't get it. The left wing American lawyer and journalist wrote an article this week saying Canada has reaped what it sowed as a military aggressor, and told an audience at McGill University last night our perception of ourselves as a peace-loving nation is entirely at odds with who we really are. Greenwald's lack of timing, judgement and self-awareness makes him a fine bedfellow with Quebec Green Party leader Alex Tyrell - a leading proponent of the white poppy campaign drummed up by a social fringe element who've deluded themselves into thinking the red poppy glorifies war. Tyrell says this weekend's cross-country demonstrations by something called the Canadian Peace Alliance are perfectly timed. The grieving personal and professional familes of Warrant Officer Partrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo would probably disagree.
It's easy to march in the streets wearing your white poppy and demanding peace, just as it's easy to lecture a neighbor on your perception of their shortcomings. It's easy because while you're living in your self-righteous, holier-than-thou cocoon, someone else is making the difficult real-world decisions and sacrifices on your behalf.
But just because it's easy doesn't make it any less inappropriate and distasteful.