5.26.2005

was canada too good to be true?

That's the headline on this American perspective on Canada and Canadian self-image, a la sponsorship scandal. This line jumped out at me as wmtc material:
The discussion over what exactly is Canada's identity - and whether its favored definition is perhaps a piece of Liberal propaganda - is beginning to emerge in the political debate between the struggling Liberals and the challenging Conservatives.
Full story here. I must leave you now, talk amongst yourselves. The next time I post, I'll have a report about the house!

5 comments:

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

"and whether its favored definition is perhaps a piece of Liberal propaganda"

Of course it is. However, it's not worth getting too worried about. It isn't a unique Canadian failing.

National fairy-tales about what makes a country special have been spun by every government in every country since the beginning of time. Generally, these fables are known as patriotism. The Conservative party might be pointing out the hypocrisy now, but once in power they'll continue the story with their own additions.

That being said, I do take a little offence to this statement:

"Of course, quite a few nations have an embellished sense of righteousness, not least among them, many would say, Canada's southern neighbor. But perhaps no other country puts such a high premium on its own virtue than does Canada."

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. This coming from an American?

L-girl said...

"Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. This coming from an American?"

I found that bit offensive too. You're right, of course, national fairy tales are part of what makes a nation, and certainly not peculiar to Canadians. And all political parties will exploit them to their advantage.

G said...

Yeah, no surprises there. We are a country, and like other countries, of course our leaders will trump us up beyond what facts show.

Yet, what I find makes Canada a special place is the mindset of its people.

There is a reason its cities are among the most multicultural. There is a reason it is one of the safest countries. There is a reason gays and lesbians are accepted as equals. And there is a reason, beyond Kyoto et al, that Canadians as a people are respected worldwide.

The leadership in power at the time means little. What matters in terms of leadership is they continue to follow the will of the people of the country. It is the people here who make the difference. We have seen in our time the difference peace and tolerance can make within our own country, and abroad, and we strive to maintain those very ideals.

Yes, governments will have flaws. Yes, industry will produce waste beyond what is reported in the facts. And yes, trade disagreements will occur. The country isn't named Utopia after all; it's Canada. Yet by the way these guys write some of these reports, you wonder if they were shocked to learn that. Here, it's really no surprise.

We are proud of the people of the country always; we are only on occasion, and in specific instances, proud of its leadership.

Lone Primate said...

I'm surprised that this even came up as an issue. That a country would want to put the best possible spin on its social realities, and promote itself as virtuous... this is news? North Korea does that, for heaven's sake. That's just human nature. They might as well have pointed out Canadians breathe oxygen.

But then, I suppose the issue is that Canada falls short of its ideals. Putting aside for a moment the fact that pretty much everyone does, it's not invalid to point that out. The Soviet Union had a pretty high-sounding constitution, but in practice, it tenets were a cyncial joke to most of us in the West. So it might be useful to nudge Canada and say, "Hey, your shoelace is untied and you're going to trip..." Maybe that's what this is about.

Call me brainwashed... I do believe Canada is one of the more upstanding countries in the world today, among others. I think this is partly due to the role we consciously assumed after WWII, although some of it is simply due to reality. It's hard to be a badass when you're a 98 lb. weakling. Had we something like the military oomph of the United States, even in proportion, we might be rather more pushy (just look at the UK for an example) and less cuddly and cute.

RobfromAlberta said...

One of the similarities between the Liberals in Canada and the Republicans in the US is that they both claim to represent the "values" of their respective countries. Republicans regularly describe progressives as anti-American. Liberals do the same to conservatives here in Canada. Of course, those who support the Liberals agree with this assessment meaning that most westerners are not "true" Canadians. No wonder unity is such a problem.