Re: "MP's column didn't represent all his constituents" (Dec. 27):
Anecdotal evidence at least suggests that Sir Leonard Tilley proposed the name "Dominion of Canada" based on Psalm 72:8, "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea . . ." According to the 1948 Encyclopedia of Canada (Vol. 11, p. 223): "Some doubt has been cast on this story, owing to the fact that it owes its currency to the second Lady Tilley, who married Sir Leonard only in 1867; and it should be observed that the term 'dominion' is not new in colonial history. . . But these objections are perhaps not strong enough to invalidate the story; and the probability is that it is true. In any case, it has obtained general credence. . ."
More recent confirmation of this historical understanding can be found on the government's "Library and Archives Canada" website (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/confederation/023001-4000.79-e.html).
Whatever the merits or otherwise of the story, the fact that the Peace Tower and other parliamentary buildings in Ottawa have a number of Scriptures, including Psalm 72:8, enshrined on their walls, does bear witness to the (at least nominally) Christian consensus that was part of Canada's origin.
While this does not affect the writers' basic argument that our MP is duty bound to "represent all constituents, including those who do not share his religion," it does suggest that the charge of "historical revisionism" applies not so much to Hillyer as to those who wish to deny or discredit Canada's religious (and specifically Christian) history.
The same applies to the historically confused half-truth that our "common morality" predates Christianity "and survives without religiosity." But dealing adequately with this would require a much longer letter.
Finally, the writers claim that what Hillyer calls the "tyranny of tolerance" asks only that "the privileged recognize theirs is not the only faith and respect the inclusive nature of Canadian society." What they seem not to recognize is that the "privileged" are no longer so in any meaningful sense. The problem is not with respecting the inclusive nature of present-day Canadian society with its varied ethnic and religious (or non-religious) expressions; it is with marginalizing and suppressing the beliefs and symbols that were once "privileged."
J. Cameron Fraser