Terry Milewski left this comment on my blog post titled Air India suspect suing CBC’s Milewski:
First: Stephen Harper deeply impressed many of the Air India families last June when he said at the 25th memorial service that extremists must be “systematically marginalised.”
Do you agree? I do. As far as I can tell, you don’t.
Systematically marginalising them means having nothing to do with them – especially when they come bearing gifts: votes. That game, as Perviz Madon testified at the Air India inquiry, “is dirty business. You don’t want those kind of votes!”
Her husband, Sam, was killed on Flight 182, so I think she has a right to talk about these things.
Second: Harper’s exemplary speech last year was a much-hoped-for response to embarrassing reports (by Kim Bolan of the Vancouver Sun and by myself on the CBC) about politicians of all parties pandering to Sikh extremists – even when those extremists paraded the pictures, garlanded with tinsel, of terrorist “martyrs” such as the mastermind of the Air India bombing. What could be a more disgusting spectacle than a mass-murderer being glorified as a hero while our elected politicians smile and applaud?
Our stories named Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats and provincial Liberals alike. And yet, you are disgusted, instead, by a reporter exposing such things. Bad reporter! Must be a lefty!
Many of the victims’ families, including Mrs Madon, testified bitterly about political pandering at John Major’s inquiry and the judge had harsh words for it in his report. So is all this condemnation a lefty plot? And do lefties have some monopoly on loathing terrorism? I don’t think so.
Third: the notion that politicians should NOT marginalise extremists, and that expecting them to is some kind of anti-Harper plot is beyond ludicrous. Take a look at what Harper said to those Air India families and tell me: is he part of this plot, too?
Fourth: for many years, I have been reporting from the Middle East, the U.S. and Canada on the scourge of terrorism. Over the past ten years, I have become a friend of many of the Air India victims’ families. To see their cause trashed by a so-called “Conservative” should make all Conservatives ashamed. Or do you somehow imagine that you are NOT trashing their cause when you rail against a reporter for asking the questions those families want asked? If you doubt it, ask them.
Obviously, you didn’t notice when, the week before, I went after Michael Ignatieff for granting an interview to a well-known extremist who glorified Indira Gandhi’s assassins as “martyrs.” Obviously, something went wrong there at Anti-Harper Conspiracy High Command! But it’s not about parties; it’s about principles. And it’s time for you to think about who the real conservatives are here. You? Or the victims’ families? I think you’ll find they’re plenty tough on crime.
I assume, if you have read this far, that you agree with Stephen Harper’s speech to those families about the absolute necessity of shunning extremists who brought death to their husbands, mothers and children. Taking a stand on that seems to me not just a profoundly conservative position to take, but one that everyone should take, regardless of party.
Or are you soft on crime?
Two points in closing. First, I would also ask you, when you crow about the defeat of Ujjal Dosanjh, to recognise that he risked his life, repeatedly, to denounce violence by Sikh terrorists who lived next door. In the face of death threats to himself, his wife and his three young children, he went on TV and denounced the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. For that, he was beaten and nearly killed. But he didn’t shut up. He knows, perhaps, a whole lot more than you do about being tough on crime.
Finally, when you root for a lawsuit by a man like Ripudaman Singh Malik – and that’s who did have done by smearing me and by calling my completely factual report “mud-slinging” – you have crossed the line into the grotesque. Read the verdict of the Air India trial. Learn who you’re rooting for. Ask yourself why Malik paid over $100,000 to the family of Reyat, the bomb-maker. Ask yourself why Reyat declined to implicate Malik. Ask yourself why Malik joined the Babbar Khalsa. At the time, it was gloating about the blood it had spilled and was considered by CSIS to be a “terrorist group.”
Nice company you’re keeping! Please think about this seriously and learn something about the issue before you address it again. So far, you have been anything but conservative.