Charlotte Whitton Controversy

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jtleroy
Charlotte Whitton Controversy

Charlotte Whitton has had a strange hold on Ottawa in life and now following her death almost 25 years ago. No one can argue that she was a "take no prisoners" single minded activist and polititician. But now as documented in this blog

http://drdawgsblawg.blogspot.com/2010/08/mayor-was-anti-semite.html

 and as written about in a number of newspapers today, it seems that there is a move on to honour her.

Mostly that might be seen as a good thing. Trouble is that Whitton has a spotty past to say the least. In fact she was a racist and anti-Semite according to the Canadian Jewish Congress and as documented by two of Canada's most renowned historians, Irving Abella and Harold Troper in the definitive work on Canadian immigration policy and its impact on Jews during the Holocaust, "None is too many".

Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

MCsquared

An interesting issue given that so many including Vincent Massey, The Famous Five and others harboured racist beliefs. On this matter I side with CJC. Charlotte Whitton's decision to try to bar desperate jewish orphans strictly because they were Jews is reason enough not to show her any honour today.

skdadl

I don't quite see why writing our history has to be thought of in terms of "honours," since precious few public figures have been wholly admirable. There's something about being a public figure (or even just getting there) that makes a lot of people kinda ruthless, a problem that continues to vex feminists more than others, perhaps, because it helps to account for our underrepresentation in public life.

Anyhow, I don't care whether Whitton is "honoured" or not, and I think it's important that her anti-semitism, especially since she was able to give it effect, be recorded along with everything else she did. I just want it all recorded, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It shouldn't come as news to anyone that anti-semitism was pretty much the default position of Canadians generally through the first half of the last century -- people my age grew up trying to figure out why and what it meant, and the lights only started to go on at a popular level in, maybe, the mid-1950s, when the stories of what had happened under the occupation in Europe began to work their way into the popular culture. I'm sorry to say that but it's the truth, and it's always better to know the truth.

Women like Whitton and, a generation later, Judy LaMarsh, paid a huge personal price by bluffing their way out into the public sphere. Do I "honour" that? I don't know -- I find it affecting. And it's part of our history.

The British just put up plaques noting the homes of notable people all over the place, and I don't think anyone thinks of that as a particular "honour," given that lots of their notables were absolute bounders (jerks). Why can't we just do that and leave it at that? Who needs "honours"?

 

milo204

i see your point skdadl, in winnipeg there was a small debate about honoring nellie mclung with a statue since she advocated forced sterilization of people with mental illnesses.  

that's why i agree we should ditch the "this person is a total hero!" attitude and just recognize the accomplishment, not so much build the people up into a celebrity like figure.  

remind remind's picture

Frank Ney, Nanaimo's mayor for over 35 years, was less than stellar as a human, and yet there is a bronze of him on the water front.

Guess women in history are still held to differing standards...what's new with that....and who knew a mayor would have such power to prevent the feds from doing anything.....

 ...and personally I don't side with the CJC on anything much anyway...afterall who are they trying to kid. pot calling kettle black.

 

 

remind remind's picture

Yep, let's tear down all those statues of men in Canadian history that are scattered like a plague across Canada, and remove them from  museums too.

 

 

Unionist

What skdadl, milo, and remind said.

And I say that as a child of Nazi genocide survivors. What exactly was the Jewish establishment of Canada doing while refugees were being excluded, both before and after the war? What was their real attitude to their embarrassing poor cousins from Eastern Europe? Who are they to judge the prevailing mentality of that epoch?

There are some who are brilliant when it comes to recognizing the crimes of the past. They tend to be not so good at recognizing the same behaviour in the present. Try to imagine someone who chastises Charlotte Whitton's sins of the 1940s, while supporting that Palestinian children should rot in refugee camps and occupied besieged areas in 2010 rather than return to their homeland? Impossible, eh? Check out this thread.

 

jtleroy

Let's try and focus a bit here. Whitton it seems to me lobbied to have Jewish orphan children excluded from Canada at a time they were seeking desperate shelter. This in my mind disqualifies her from any special honour.

I agree with others that Whitton was not the only such anti-Semitic/eugenecist.racist aspirant who were public figures and even honoured in the past, though the fact she acted on her racism makes her actions in my mind more damnable.In the end I think Skdadl's idea is most worthy of consideration.

 

Caissa

I ran across Whitton's attitudes when writing my M.A. thesis especially her comments at the founding meeting of the CNCR.

If anybody hasn't seen the CJC press release and is interested I can send it to them by PM.

remind remind's picture

yes well, we all know historically men were less powerful than women and were much more racially and ethnically open, thus women deserve much more contempt and ostrasizing from history and no allocades

Caissa

I'm surprised you are concurring with the CJC on this one. I think on balance, which is how we should access all individuals, deserves to be recognized.

remind remind's picture

Oh...so the CJC, thinks men have been powerless through history and all the faults of the world rest upon women, good to know.....that they are at least consistent with the old testiment in respect to it all being women's fault.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

jtleroy wrote:

Let's try and focus a bit here. Whitton it seems to me lobbied to have Jewish orphan children excluded from Canada at a time they were seeking desperate shelter. This in my mind disqualifies her from any special honour.

I agree with others that Whitton was not the only such anti-Semitic/eugenecist.racist aspirant who were public figures and even honoured in the past, though the fact she acted on her racism makes her actions in my mind more damnable.In the end I think Skdadl's idea is most worthy of consideration.

 

On this coast we have coal barons names on everything and statutes everywhere. Nice people who tried to starve their workers out when they dared to go on strike. Hell the nice new bridge in Kelowna is named after a man convicted of insider trading violations a mere two years after leaving office. He even got to open it himself. So what is the fuss about?  I would agree with small plaques and tearing down the existing statutes.  But then again I have a real soft spot for one of the statutes in Saskatoon based on my own beliefs and there in lies the problem in deciding what to keep or what to honour. 

But if it is to be no memorial for her because of her political view on refugees then it must mean none for Harpo either.

His take on refugees is every bit as evil and immoral. Unlike Whitton he not only lobbies he enforces draconian responses to humanitarian disasters. If he could have legally refused entry to the Tamil ship he would have.  Despite our countries acceptance of the very rights meant to prevent another recurrence of people being returned to their probable death and certain abuse he has greeted similar people with arrest detention and false accusations. 

 

MCsquared

remind wrote:

Oh...so the CJC, thinks men have been powerless through history and all the faults of the world rest upon women, good to know.....that they are at least consistent with the old testiment in respect to it all being women's fault.

This should not pass without comment. Where in heavens name has CJC made such a statement or even insinuated such? It is exactly this kind of hyperbole that enables people to disregard any fair comment you make.

Charlotte Whitton was a bigot and a racist. This point is made very well in the following op-ed http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/case+against+Whitton/3412079/... . In fact I see that even the CJC's nemesis B'nai Brith which in fact earlier supported The Whitton nomination has now done a full about face http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/should+know+historical+figure...

CJC are not always right on many issues. However let's not suggest it has taken positions it clearly has not.

remind remind's picture

you are speaking to the wrong person here, Caissa is the one who stated such.....not me.

Star Spangled C...

remind wrote:

Oh...so the CJC, thinks men have been powerless through history and all the faults of the world rest upon women, good to know.....that they are at least consistent with the old testiment in respect to it all being women's fault.

This is anti-Jewish bigotry in addition to being profoundly dishonest and ignorant.

MCsquared

Sorry Remind it is you and only you. I can find no such post from Caissa. Bad enough you wrote as you did, its another thing altogether to blame someone else for your inappropriate statement

Ripple

remind wrote:

Quote:
yes well, we all know historically men were less powerful than women and were much more racially and ethnically open, thus women deserve much more contempt and ostrasizing from history and no allocades

 

 Caissa wrote:

Quote:
I'm surprised you are concurring with the CJC on this one.

Unionist

So, another baiting thread has the desired effect. Supporters of the murderous state of Israel - which not only expels its native inhabitants but periodically pursues and bombs them - have found a terrible person, Charlotte Whitton, who committed a crime of about 1/1000 the intensity 60 years ago. And, continuing to do their fishing, they have found a real-live anti-semite right here on babble - none other than remind!! Because remind doesn't like the CJC much!

Better add me to the club of anti-semites, then, because the dissolution of the CJC would give me the greatest thrill of the week - and it's been a pretty good week, thanks for asking!

And, in only 17 posts so far, three (3) of the usual cast of supporters of Israel have arrived to lecture us that Charlotte Whitton was responsible for a chunk of the Holocaust! Because she wouldn't give refuge to its victims! Israel! Which welcomes refugees in true Jewish spirit! And is getting ready to deport 400 kids because they're not Jewish!!!

Wait a sec... If I can prove those orphans were "terrorists", then the shoe's on the other foot, right? Charlotte Whitton was defending Canada's borders against religious fanatic flotilla activists!!!

What a spectacle.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

remind wrote:

Oh...so the CJC, thinks men have been powerless through history and all the faults of the world rest upon women, good to know.....that they are at least consistent with the old testiment in respect to it all being women's fault.

This is anti-Jewish bigotry in addition to being profoundly dishonest and ignorant.

A quick read through this thread shows that clearly you are the one being deliberately dishonest by taking the quote out of its context. I find that ignorant.  Cassia at post #10 clearly draws the analogy to the CJC from Remind's feminist analysis.  She was talking about "nice" white men not a Jewish organization. This is far to blatant for me.

 

remind remind's picture

MCsquared wrote:
Sorry Remind it is you and only you.

Nooo...sorry it was Caissa, at post #10, in response to my post at #9, who said such, and  frankly, when I read it I was gobbsmacked that he  stated the CJC believed that that men have been persecuted  and controlled by us evil women, historically.

as follows, in case you have a scrolling problem and not a reading comprehension one.

 

my post at #9 reads:

 

remind wrote:
yes well, we all know historically men were less powerful than women and were much more racially and ethnically open, thus women deserve much more contempt and ostrasizing from history and no allocades

 

 

 Caissa's response at 10.

 

Caissa wrote:
I'm surprised you are concurring with the CJC on this one. I think on balance, which is how we should access all individuals, deserves to be recognized.

 

  What else is a gyrl to conclude from Caissa's words? I mean, afterall, he stated my words concurred with the CJC....so.....again, please do take it up with him, if you have issue with his stating such, and find his words inappropriate.

remind remind's picture

oh, and BTW this topic should be moved to the correct forum, given it has nothing to do with racism and anti-racism  activities.

Ripple

gad ... I can't even think of what forum these threads should go into ... there's going to have to be a new category.

ETA: maybe there should be a baiting, trapping and skinning forum afterall.

remind remind's picture

well perhaps activism, as they are trying to be all activist and everything....

 

Had I been posting it, I would have put it in the feminist forum as I believe this action and other such actions against women in Canadian history, are gender biased.

 

though the regional centre of the universe forum would be the appropriate one I believe.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Like remind, I don't like the CJC, at least, her representatives on babble throughout its history. So I guess that makes us all anti-semites.

Anyway, moving to Central Canada forum.

Caissa

I was merely responding to irony in post #9 with irony in post #10. Nothing to see folks.

jtleroy

Unionist wrote:

So, another baiting thread has the desired effect. Supporters of the murderous state of Israel - which not only expels its native inhabitants but periodically pursues and bombs them - have found a terrible person, Charlotte Whitton, who committed a crime of about 1/1000 the intensity 60 years ago. And, continuing to do their fishing, they have found a real-live anti-semite right here on babble - none other than remind!! Because remind doesn't like the CJC much!

Better add me to the club of anti-semites, then, because the dissolution of the CJC would give me the greatest thrill of the week - and it's been a pretty good week, thanks for asking!

And, in only 17 posts so far, three (3) of the usual cast of supporters of Israel have arrived to lecture us that Charlotte Whitton was responsible for a chunk of the Holocaust! Because she wouldn't give refuge to its victims! Israel! Which welcomes refugees in true Jewish spirit! And is getting ready to deport 400 kids because they're not Jewish!!!

Wait a sec... If I can prove those orphans were "terrorists", then the shoe's on the other foot, right? Charlotte Whitton was defending Canada's borders against religious fanatic flotilla activists!!!

What a spectacle.

 

Seems to me that if anyone is baiting here it is you unionist. This was a thread about Charlotte Whitton and you wanted to change it into something else entirely. A cursory look historically at babble seems to show that this is a preferred topic of yours and that many times when any remote issue is discussed where Jews are mentioned you try to move it into this discussion on Israel vs the Palestinians.

Unionist

jtleroy wrote:
A cursory look historically at babble seems to show that this is a preferred topic of yours and that many times when any remote issue is discussed where Jews are mentioned you try to move it into this discussion on Israel vs the Palestinians.

That laughable concoction is not worth responding to.

However, here's the grain of truth. There's definitely a club on babble who try to turn any discussion on Israel into one about Jews and anti-semitism. This profound hypocrisy - supporting Israeli crimes, and condeming critics as anti-semites - besmirches the whole history of the real battle against anti-semitism and all forms of racism, and exposes the Jewish people to danger.

That's why topics like these demean and trivialize the struggle of today. But it's dangerous, because it's not that obvious. There can be no doubt that Charlotte Whitton took regressive, reactionary, and racist stands at a crucial period. This has been known for a very long time. But what is the significance of raising such issues today - when real refugees are seeking real refuge, and their plight is being minimized and denied by those who jump up and down about one person's sins of 60 years ago?

It's not a difficult conclusion. It's called diversion. And when not-very-well-informed people see self-styled "Jewish" organizations attacking Charlotte Whitton but supporting Binyamin Netanyahu, it doesn't reflect well on Jews as a whole. That's why it's so important to put such diversionary spectacles in perspective.

When I was very young, some teacher in my (Jewish parochial) school said we shouldn't study Shakespeare because of the Merchant of Venice. Luckily Shakespeare was part of the curriculum, and we had no choice in the matter! But his point was superficially attractive: Why should I, a child of genocide survivors, or any Jew for that matter, have to treat with respect and seriousness a historical figure who depicted the archetypical Jew exacting a pound of flesh from a Gentile!? Then the thought occurred to me that in those days, nobody liked Jews anyway. Not very profound, but it was good enough to allow me to keep reading!

Only later did I learn that all Jews had been expelled from Britain in the 13th century, and only allowed to return by Oliver Cromwell in the 17th. Shakespeare had likely never met one. And when I read the Merchant today, I no longer see it as "anti-semitic" at all. It is a powerful depiction of the dehumanization of marginalized people by a supposedly moral and virtuous majority.

 

Star Spangled C...

Unionist wrote:

. There's definitely a club on babble who try to turn any discussion on Israel into one about Jews and anti-semitism.

Actually, it seems that you're trying to turn a discussion about Jews and anti-Semitism into one about Israel.

Star Spangled C...

kropotkin1951 wrote:

A quick read through this thread shows that clearly you are the one being deliberately dishonest by taking the quote out of its context. I find that ignorant.  Cassia at post #10 clearly draws the analogy to the CJC from Remind's feminist analysis.  She was talking about "nice" white men not a Jewish organization. This is far to blatant for me.

Um, no. She attributed a position to a Jewish organization that the group in question never actually took. And then went further by attacking the "Old Testiment" and suggesting that the Torah claims that it's "all womens' fault". First, we don't call it the "Old Testament"  since we don't believe in the "new" one. Second, that's a pretty spurious reading of the Torah's message (assuming she read it at all, which I kinda doubt). I assume she was referring to the concept of "original sin" which is a Christian, not Jewish, theological concept.

remind remind's picture

Couple points of clarification

 

1. No where did I state I did not "like" the CJC, I stated I don't side with it much, which is something completely different, eh.

2. Again Caissa attributed those things to the CJC, not me.

 

So please do everyone stop  putting words in my mouth, it is not appreciated.

Caissa

Again, I explained things in post #25. This thread is ripe with disingenuousness.

remind remind's picture

well caissa, as long as your friends are insisting that I stated something I did not, that you actually did, ironically, or not, then you will have to bear the fall out, not me.

Caissa

My friends?Undecided

I shall fall upon my sword.

I believe, remind, the only place you referred to the CJC directly was in #4

MCsquared

Talk about mis-direction, Houdini would have a field day here.

First is the off-side debate between Caissa and Remind. I simply cannot follow it anymore. I regret whatever role I played in progressing it.

More strange is Unionist. he sputters and obfuscates but Star-spangled seems to have him pegged. This thread was about Charlotte Whitton. Only Uninonist tried to change it to make it about something else. I understand his motivation what I don't understand is why he would deny it.

And his agrgument that somehow the Whitton issue is trivial and then goes onto his favourite subject yet again (Israel, Netanyahu whatever) belies his ongoing denials. Im sure we will see more of his belicose language attacking me and others pointing this out and so be it. However what is undeniable is undeniable.

 

Caissa

If we look at another contemporary, WLMK, we see views similar to Whitton's. King's comments in his diary about J.L. Cohen are simply atrocious. WLMK has been memorialize in many ways (My parenthetical preference being F.R. Scott's poem WLMK, but I digress.) I do not think a different set of criteria for honouring should be applied to Whitton. Remind is correct in that often women are held to a higher standard of behaviour than are men when determining the granting of honours.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

MCsquared wrote:

Sorry Remind it is you and only you. I can find no such post from Caissa. Bad enough you wrote as you did, its another thing altogether to blame someone else for your inappropriate statement

This post is the start of the nasty thread drift.  I find it very disingenuous.

remind remind's picture

MCsquared wrote:
Talk about mis-direction, Houdini would have a field day here.

 

Just call us quick learners.

 

etd to make whom I was quoting clear.

 

 

remind remind's picture

ack, the law of entropy at work is all.

MCsquared

Caissa wrote:

If we look at another contemporary, WLMK, we see views similar to Whitton's. King's comments in his diary about J.L. Cohen are simply atrocious. WLMK has been memorialize in many ways (My parenthetical preference being F.R. Scott's poem WLMK, but I digress.) I do not think a different set of criteria for honouring should be applied to Whitton. Remind is correct in that often women are held to a higher standard of behaviour than are men when determining the granting of honours.

Yes you are 100% correct on King. And wouldn't it be nice to go back and undo all the mistakes of our past. Just because we fucked up on King and others doesn't mean we have to continue fucking up.

And Kropotkin I apologized for my role in the fiasco.

Unionist

MCsquared wrote:

And his agrgument that somehow the Whitton issue is trivial and then goes onto his favourite subject yet again (Israel, Netanyahu whatever) belies his ongoing denials. Im sure we will see more of his belicose language attacking me and others pointing this out and so be it. However what is undeniable is undeniable.

 

I firmly believe that fawning supporters of the Israeli regime do not belong on progressive discussion boards, any more than supporters of South African apartheid. When they try misdirection and concealment, it is my duty to expose what they are doing. When they attack Whitton for keeping Jewish children out of Canada in the 1940s, but are silent about Israel keeping non-Jewish children out of Israel in 2010 (and bombing lots of those who can't get back in), then I call them on their hypocrisy and diversionary tactics.

Hope that's clear.

johnpauljones

you know i have read the thread if wlmk was up for an award today i would condemn it because wlmk was a racist, if a current gg tried to name their dog the "n" word like former GG around the year 1900 did i would condemn it. but to turn a blind eye today when a racist whether it be a male or female is up for a "national" recognition well i will oppose it and have. i have written my mp, as welll as the leader of my party urging them to tell the government to reconside this.

 

eta one irony of this discussion is the debate and disagreement between bnai brith and cjc on this issue. cjc says do not award, bb says give the award.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

MCsquared wrote:

And Kropotkin I apologized for my role in the fiasco.

 

I was just pointing out what your role was in the fiasco.  I find it really nice that your response was I and others have done wrong.  It has a familiar ring to it.

remind remind's picture

Yes, kropotkin it seems to be a tone around here  thesedays, casting stones while standing glass houses, definitely not progressive. :D

Unionist

johnpauljones wrote:

you know i have read the thread if wlmk was up for an award today i would condemn it because wlmk was a racist,

Nice to hear from you, JPJ, but did you write to your MP asking that war criminal and racist Netanyahu ought not to be welcomed to Canada this year? If not, why not? What standard are you applying?

MCsquared

Unionist tries to have a topic vear off in another direction. Anyone else who has done so has been admonished by the mods. Just sayin is all

Unionist

MCsquared wrote:

Unionist tries to have a topic vear off in another direction. Anyone else who has done so has been admonished by the mods. Just sayin is all

I use hypermodern mind-ray thought control technology to whisper commands to the mods.

Norman Finkelstein has written extensively about the selective exploitation of the catastrophe of the Shoah for modern-day political pro-Israel and pro-U.S. purposes. If I can contribute ever so slightly to exposing that abuse, and to commemorating the victims of the Nazi genocide and applying the real lessons to present-day times, I will be content.

 

jtleroy

So Unionist, as is so often asked when someone purposely tries to throw off an issue, why don't you create a seperate thread?

Unionist

jtleroy wrote:

So Unionist, as is so often asked when someone purposely tries to throw off an issue, why don't you create a seperate thread?

It's like when the CJC rants on and on about Darfur - as if they give a shit. It's a well-coordinated international effort to pick a diversion to say: "Israel? Hah! Let's fix Darfur! You anti-semites."

So, when CJC yaps about Darfur, it is appropriate to condemn them for supporting aggression, racism, and genocide practised by "their own", while pretending to condemn it in others.

To open "separate threads" would be to accept your frame that one can condemn the racist anti-semitic Whitton of the past, while condoning it under our very noses. Which is why I asked JPJ, whose opinions and stands I respect, to explain what appears to be a double standard.

You don't get to dictate the terms of discussion here. Condemn Israel's policies on orphans, and I will join with you in adding a historical footnote to the condemnation of Whitton.

jtleroy

Oh but you clearly do get to dictate terms of discussion unionist?. This thread on Whitton is lost thanks to Unionist. If he is not admonished does this give free reign for others to copy his tactics?

Unionist

jtleroy wrote:

This thread on Whitton is lost thanks to Unionist.

No it's not. Answer the question. Can we as moral human beings condemn Whitton (and I condemn her for her anti-semitism and racism), but not condemn those others who are acting the same way in front of our eyes?

Quote:
If he is not admonished does this give free reign for others to copy his tactics?

That's "free rein", for starters. Secondly, anyone who has access to my thought control technology obviously is in a position to copy my tactics.

 

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