What if the year was 1944: Thoughts on Ottawa and St. Jean

Let’s suppose the year is 1944 and a couple of guys kill two Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and St. Jean. These guys are Canadian, born and raised here, but they have been radicalized in the Nazi ideology. They read Nazi material, wear Nazi costumes and bear Nazi symbols. They associate with known Nazi sympathizers and frequent German-Canadian beer halls and union lodges. They consistently spew Nazi propaganda, listen to Nazi radio stations from Germany, and have been seen in photos giving the Nazi salute. Both were trying to acquire passports to fly to Belgium or The Netherlands allegedly to take up arms against Canadian, British, French and American soldiers.

It’s safe to say we would assume the killings were motivated by Naziism. It would be acceptable to talk publicly about Naziism as a possible, albeit highly probable, motivator. We would not need to apologize to German-Canadians before we commented or made assumptions. We would dismiss as crazy the notion that these guys were just lost souls upset by the armed conflict in Europe or that they were mentally ill. The killings would not deter us from our mission. And any accomplices would be rounded up, jailed and tried for treason. Moreover, any Canadian politician or journalist who suggested anything different would be considered nuts.

But of course the year is 2014 so……….queue the denial and political correctness.

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