It would be reassuring to explain that Canada lost its innocence that week and that, while never abandoning its moderation and civility, suddenly took the threat of Islamist terrorism seriously. Not so. Not so at all. The leader of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau, initially refused to describe the attacks as terrorism and the leader of the New Democratic Party, Canada's Labour Party, still will not do so. Those politicians who did admit that the organised murder of two Canadian soldiers and an attempt to slaughter MPs was perhaps terroristic, then exhibited what has become a notorious adjectival complaint. It wasn't "Islamic" or "Muslim" terrorism, it was just terrorism. Terror for terror's sake perhaps, or as part of an obscure hobby, or merely a result of childhood trauma. Both killers were described as being mentally ill, which now seems to be the verdict reserved almost exclusively for Islamist murderers. I don't recall IRA, UVF or in Canada French separatist terrorists ever being considered mentally ill. Perhaps it's just that mental illness is on the rise these days. Both killers, by the way, had been under police supervision, had had their passports confiscated and were openly supportive of jihadism and Islamic State.Of course, as Coren well realizes, it isn't really a matter of "innocence" as much as it is a blindness that's intrinsic to a certain worldview:
It's not a dysfunction confined to Canada of course but this is a country that partly, perhaps largely, defines itself at least in establishment circles by not being American, and Americans are seen as conservative, nationalistic and at war with Islam. It may be risible but it soaks Canadian political opinions. Yet both Democrat and Republican administrations have laboriously, and incorrectly, insisted that Islam is a religion of peace and that there is no link between Muslim teachings and international terrorism. It's a mantra we hear in almost all of the Western world now; as though if we say it often and loudly enough it will suddenly come true. But the Canadian situation is even worse because relativism was pumped into the bloodstream of the nation's body politic long ago. It's not so much that our leaders and opinion-formers are physically afraid of speaking truth to Islamist power — though that is a factor; it's not even that they are frightened of being accused of the canard of Islamophobia or racism, though that is even more of a factor. It's that to admit, even to oneself, that some religions and cultures are more violent and less tolerant than others is to question the entire underpinnings of one's philosophy, ideology and even secular theology. It's not that Cameron, Obama, American celebrities, British talking heads or Canadian chattering class doyens are bad — it's that they're terrified of questioning everything they have believed since they can remember.