We asked what people thought about Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman receiving the Diamond Jubillee Medal – What Do You Think? Should Banman Receive Diamond Jubilee Medal? – and the reaction was entirely negative.
This seems to be one of those issues that captures the public imagination and causes average people to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘Enough is Enough.’
I know two recipients of the medal and they both inspire me and make me glad that my country has chosen to honour them. That they are in the same company as the politicians across the country who have given each other the same honours makes me angry in a way I have a hard time describing.
One of the best encapsulations of the public mood on the subject I’ve read was by Matthew Coutts on Yahoo.ca in a post sent to me by Lily Kaetler.
My grandfather died last March, at the age of 96, a few months before his military unit, the Winnipeg Grenadiers, received Diamond Jubilee Medals for their service.
The Grenadiers were part of the British defence of Hong Kong in World War II. He was one of the lucky few who survived the battle, and survived the following four years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
My father accepted the medal on his behalf. I have no idea what my grandfather would have thought about the Diamond Jubilee Medal. But it meant something to me. Such an honour coming so soon after his death, it meant something to me.
Two months later, Justin Bieber received the same medal from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He accepted it while wearing baggy overalls and a backwards baseball cap. He didn’t even turn his hat around.
Banman wasn’t a part of the power structure when he was elected and he won’t be a part it once he leaves office. He is merely doing their bidding while he holds the job.
Without even completing one term he is now accepting an honour reserved for those who have contributed to the lives of their countrymen by such sacrifices and contributions as:
- Being slaughtered or imprisoned in some of the cruelest conditions of the second world war
- Devoting their lives to ending the racism and divisions among us
- Changing the way employers deal with the health, safety and well being of their employees
Something has come undone.
The fact that so many making a living spending their friends’ and neighbours’ money can stoop so low is evidence to all and sundry that some of those who have slipped up through the cracks to hold positions of authority in local, provincial and federal government, are not the least bit interested in the meaning of their actions, the costs of their decisions or the feelings or beliefs of their fellow citizens.
Sadly some of them simply want to get as much as they can from the cupboard while the getting is good.
If it were nothing more than a trinket to hang on their wall their grubby hands were grabbing no one would care. The fact that they earnestly seem to believe they have done something to earn it, and that they feel they belong in the same company as those who truly deserve our praise and our thanks for significant contributions to their country or their community is so out of touch it is hard to grasp.
It is more than an oversight. More than and error in judgement. Much more than an extra penny sneaked from the till. It is a fundamental misunderstanding of their place in the world.
Shame on those politicians who have disgraced the honour bestowed upon so many righteous Canadians by usurping it and giving it to one another like so much tin at junkyard.
Though you have dishonoured the medals you have given one another we will not allow you to tarnish the respect we still hold for those who, unaware of your disgraceful conduct, deserved and accepted our praise, admiration and appreciation for their selfless and heroic actions on our behalf.
Your friends and neighbours can tell the difference.