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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

FELDSTED – No one asks, ‘Who claims that black lives don’t matter?’. There is no answer because the slogan is not based on fact or reason

I have watched the ‘black lives matter’ “protests” in our major Canadian cities with astonishment. The concept is thoughtlessly mimicked from US racial strife with an anarchist background. Those in the vanguard of Canadian protests have no knowledge of history or Canada’s role in freeing slaves.

No one asks: “Who claims that black lives don’t matter?” There is no answer because the slogan is not based on fact or reason.

Slavery was abolished in Upper Canada (now Ontario) in 1793, 227 years ago. In 1834, slavery was abolished in the entire British Empire (including the Canadian colonies) 186 years ago and 33 years prior to Confederation.

William Wilberforce, a member of the House of Commons as an independent, became intricately involved in the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. His conversion to Evangelical Christianity in 1784 played a key role in interesting him in this social reform. William Wilberforce's Slave Trade Act 1807 abolished the slave trade in the British Empire. It was not until the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 that the institution finally was abolished, but on a gradual basis. Since land owners in the British West Indies were losing their unpaid labourers, they received compensation totalling £20 million.

The Royal Navy established the West Africa Squadron (or Preventative Squadron) at substantial expense in 1808 after Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807. The squadron's task was to suppress the Atlantic slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa, preventing the slave trade by force of arms, including the interception of slave ships from Europe, the United States, the Barbary pirates, West Africa and the Ottoman Empire.

The Church of England was implicated in slavery. Slaves were owned by the Anglican Church's Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPGFP), which had sugar plantations in the West Indies. When slaves were emancipated by Act of the British Parliament in 1834, the British government paid compensation to slave owners. Among those they paid were the Bishop of Exeter and three business colleagues, who received compensation for 665 slaves.

The £20 million Great Britain paid to free saves in the West Indies would be the equivalent of about $3 billion US today. The protestors are oblivious of Canada’s major role in the Underground Railroad:

The Underground Railroad was a secret network of abolitionists (people who wanted to abolish slavery). They helped African Americans escape from enslavement in the American South to free Northern states or to Canada. The Underground Railroad was the largest anti-slavery freedom movement in North America. It brought between 30,000 and 40,000 fugitives to British North America (now Canada).

A provision in the 1793 Act to Limit Slavery stated that any enslaved person who reached Upper Canada became free upon arrival.

This encouraged a small number of enslaved African Americans in search of freedom to enter Canada, primarily without help. Word that freedom could be had in Canada spread further following the War of 1812. The enslaved servants of US military officers from the South brought back word that there were free “Black men in red coats” in British North America. Arrivals of freedom-seekers in Upper Canada increased dramatically after 1850 with the passage of the American Fugitive Slave Act. It empowered slave catchers to pursue fugitives in Northern states.

The Underground Railroad was created in the early 19th century by a group of abolitionists based mainly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Within a few decades, it had grown into a well-organized and dynamic network. The term “Underground Railroad” began to be used in the 1830s. By then, an informal covert network to help fugitive slaves had already taken shape.

The Underground Railroad was not an actual railroad and it did not run on railway tracks. It was a complex, clandestine network of people and safe houses that helped persons enslaved in Southern plantations reach freedom in the North. The network was maintained by abolitionists who were committed to human rights and equality. They offered help to fleeing slaves. Their ranks included free Blacks, fellow enslaved persons, White and Indigenous sympathizers, Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, inhabitants of urban centre and farmers, men and women, Americans and Canadians.

Black Lives Matter” and “White Privilege” are slogans created by leftist, wh

ite American university anarchists bent on creating a race war to destabilize the US government. Wisconsin university professor Bernardine Dohrn, co-founder of the Weather Underground and an avowed Marxist said, "White youth must choose sides now. They must either fight on the side of the oppressed or be on the side of the oppressor."

Picking up slogans without historical context or awareness of their origins is unwise. Slogans are devoid of intellect as they are designed to appeal to our emotions. Thousands of people have been willingly hoodwinked.

Note that no mention is made of the bloody civil war the US went through to free slaves there. There is much more to the black lives matter movement than some incidents of police brutality.

I don’t condone police brutality or unwarranted killings and accept that we endure racism in police ranks. However, the brutality is not confined to blacks, or indigenous people. Brutes and bullies are not particular about who they victimize. The majority of police officers are ethical and honest. So are the majority of blacks. indigenous people and others. I reject the concept that blacks and other races do not practice discrimination. They too

have battered halos.

Every race, and ethnic group, has a share dishonest, discriminatory and unethical people. Every race has its share of brutes and bullies. Yelling ‘black lives matter’ does not excuse these elements or magnify the undesirable elements of others. Yelling that back people have suffered 400 years of oppression in Canada is not true.

Emotional reactions do not lead to rational and workable solutions. Arrogance, confrontation, and a lack of manners and respect

are not racist but have become common in our relationships. If we cannot discuss and debate issues civilly and respectfully, we cannot communicate effectively. If we cannot communicate civilly and do not respect one another we cannot resolve common problems.

One does not have to a genius to understand that defunding -- or disbanding -- police forces will result in neighbourhoods being taken over by criminal elements as has already happened in Seattle. Those objectives are anarchist/Marxist elements at work.

They know they cannot succeed in an orderly and lawful environment, so their aim is to create chaos.

John Feldsted ... is a political commentator, consultant, and strategist. He males his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


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