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2 Comments Honouring A Canadian Hero

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 30 Oct 2012 in Canada

Even if it took an American movie production company, as well as actor/producer Ben Affleck, to remind us of Ken Taylor’s heroism then so be it. For those of you under the age of 35, Ken Taylor was a true hero. He never played in the NHL nor was a hip-hop artist. Ken Taylor was the Canadian Ambassador to Iran, and I was reminded of his bravery and courage while watching the movie Argo over the weekend. The movie is about six American diplomats who escaped from Iran during the American Embassy hostage crisis in 1979. For those of you old enough to remember the eyes of the world were focused on the crisis and everyone was stunned at the audacity that a super power embassy would be invaded. At the beginning of the crisis Canadian’s, along with the rest of the world, watched the events unfold, but the rest of the world would learn about a Canadian’s bravery and what it means to be an ally.

The Ken Taylor story is an extraordinary one. The movie Argo gives only glimpses of the role Ken Taylor played during the whole ordeal. It’s an American movie; therefore, the Americans have to be the heroes of the movie. No doubt that the CIA came up with an ingenious plot to get the six Americans diplomats out of Iran, and the story behind it was declassified in 1997, by the then President Bill Clinton. In the event you’re not familiar with the story, I won’t give it away, but it is right up there with anything that Clancy, Flynn or Ludlum could come up when writing a novel. Maybe not Ludlum because he’s been dead since 2001, and all his books released after 2001 have been written by ghost writers, most people don’t know that. I digress, no doubt the movie embellished certain aspects of the story for theatrical purposes but that’s Hollywood. Affleck’s movie had no choice but to highlight Ken Taylor and Canada’s willingness to support an ally. If the Iranian authorities had found out that Ken Taylor had supported the CIA efforts, the consequences would have been dire and a good chance those six American Diplomats would be dead today.

The only annoying part of the movie was right at the end of the credits. There was a voice over from Jimmy Carter, the President during the hostage crisis. He stated he really should get the credit but the real story could not be told so the Canadians had to get the credit. I understand Carter wanting to shape the narrative as it relates to his Presidency. His Presidency can be best described as an abject failure, and anything he can say to change historical perceptions works to his benefit. The real political hero here was former Canadian Prime Minister, Joe Clark. I had the pleasure of speaking to the former Prime Minister prior to last year’s CAAMP Mortgage Forum; what a humble and respectful man he his. Unlike Carter, Joe Clark never hungered for glory or credit for his role in getting the six American diplomats out of Iran. He did his job as a leader, and given that Canada has also declassified what happened he should be acknowledged for his courage. In a strange twist of fate the Iranian hostage crisis cost Carter his Presidency and indirectly led to the downfall of the Clark government. That in itself is a very interesting story.

Our role in the escape was a proud Canadian moment.  If you’re looking for something to do with yourself on a Saturday night, because hockey players and owners can’t figure out a way to divvy up $3.3 billion in revenue, you may want to take in the movie Argo.  For those of us old enough to remember, it’s a good reminder.  For those too young to really know, you’ll learn something while being entertained



Until next time,



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marvis olson @Twitter ID Website Reply

Boris——Thank you so much for writing this article——–when we closed our embassy in Iran last month I listened to an interview with Ken on the Cbc’s “The Current”—–& then again after the movie premiered in Hollywood a few weeks ago——you put all the peices together so well—–a big effort on your part —thinking is harder work than hard work—wonderful piece:)

Hali Strandlund @hali_strandlund Website Reply

Thanks for reminding me of this event and of some true blue Canadian heroism. In typical Canadian fashion we do not often give credit where credit is due in a patriotic sense.

I always enjoy going to the theater and now have some for my ‘to do’ list this weekend.

Much appreciated!

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