12.12.2005

what i'm watching: yet another cartoon post

What would I do without Fox cartoons? They give me so much material.

Did anyone catch Lisa Simpson putting a Maple Leaf on her backpack last night? In one of those improbable "the Simpson family travels somewhere to show off their ignorance" episodes, the Simpsons are off to Italy. Lisa says something about "a lot of Europeans feel the United States has made some bad choices in the last, um, five years... so for the next ten days, I'm Canadian!" (Paraphrased, of course.)

Earlier in the episode, Miss Krabappel is going to show a film - class cheers! Credits roll: "With The National Film Board of Canada" - class groans! What's it on? Multiculturalism, of course!

OK, enough cartoons. I feel a serious thought coming on.

22 comments:

Lone Primate said...

Earlier in the episode, Miss Krabappel is going to show a film - class cheers! Credits roll: "With The Film Board of Canada" - class groans! What's it on? Multiculturalism, of course!

It was hilarious. I can still remember that same reaction, and right here in Canada, in grade 9 history class when they showed us an NFB film called "The Drylanders". It was a drama about settlement in the west; there wasn't all that much drama as I recall (it was no DALLAS, in other words). I might like it better now than I did all those years ago. But yeah, I know where the kids in Springfield Elementary were coming from.

Oddly enough, years later when I recounted the story to a correspondent in Seattle, he wrote back upbraiding me about it. He only wished, he said, the US had an agency like the NFB. He particularly prized their animation, which I did too, but it's not in a Canadian's nature to be too boastful lest we're taken down a peg. But like anything else in Canada, the validation of some feature of our country by someone just outside gave me permission to take pride in the NFB...

I now leave it to Rob to shake his head and tsk at the state of the national psyche... as well he might on this occasion. :)

James said...

That should be the National Film Board of Canada, of course. ;)

L-girl said...

Oops! Thanks - and corrected!

L-girl said...

He only wished, he said, the US had an agency like the NFB.

Although right now we should be glad they don't!

Wrye said...

NFB Mediatheque
150 John Street
Toronto , ON M5V 3C3

Hours of Operation:

Monday and Tuesday
1 PM to 7 PM

Wednesday
10 AM to 7 PM

Thursday to Saturday
10 AM to 10 PM

more info

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Speaking of multi-culturalism, any thoughts at what's going on in Australia?

Take a look at some of these comments on an australian news website. It's kinds of depressing actually. To be honest, my impression of Australia has that it's always been somewhat more racist then either Canada and the U.S. (I still think that even Bush's America is still one of the least racist countries around).

L-girl said...

I have heard that Australia can be a very racist society. I haven't been aware of these incidents, I'll check it out.

As for the US, I don't think the current White House is any more racist than usual, but I do think the US is very racist. There's no doubt it's gotten much better, but it's got a long, long way to go.

That reminds me of something I forgot to mention. During the recent non-confidence vote, Allan and I had our first look at a full parliament. I was taken aback by how white and how male it is. I expected - or at least was hoping for - better.

I'm outta here for now. Catch up with y'all later!

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Yes, it's still pretty much an old white-boys club. The PM always makes sure that he's surronded by women and minorities in close-up shots, but the rest of the parliament hasn't changed much.

Then again, it also has to do with the fact that outside of the Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton, Canada is mostly white. The Maritimes are especially so, not because they don't want non-whites, but because they can't attract them. Immigrants are drawn to places like Toronto and Vancouver because (a) people outside of Canada have heard of them (b) they have already have large immigrant populations which makes it easier to transition and (c) because places like Halifax don't have large immigrant populations, you have to be braver to move to a place where you'll be surrounded by white people.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

In fact, in Atlantic Canada the fact that immigrants aren't moving there is considered a
major problem.

L-girl said...

The PM always makes sure that he's surronded by women and minorities in close-up shots, but the rest of the parliament hasn't changed much.

We noticed that more from Harper than anyone else. Look at me, I've got young people and minorities standing behind me! But I see Martin do it, too.

Then again, it also has to do with the fact that outside of the Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton, Canada is mostly white

But this doesn't explain the government being mostly white and male. You've just named every major population centre.

The government of any country should reflect the make-up of the country. If Canada's doesn't, there are likely barriers - or at least serious obstacles - preventing it.

Sheesh, I said I was leaving and I'm still here. Going now!

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

But this doesn't explain the government being mostly white and male. You've just named every major population centre.

I meant in that it skews ridings (and thus the makeup of government). Multi-ethnic Toronto has 22 ridings and 5 million people, of whithwhereas Atlantic Canada has 32 seats for 3 million (99% white) people. Thus, every MP from Atlantic Canada will be white, and let's be generous and say a 50% of Toronto's MPs are non-white. That still means of the 54 seats, there will be 12 minorities and 42 white people representing about 2 million minorites and 5 million white people. As you throw in more of the country, the values get even more skewed. Thus, minorities are severly underrepresented, but then you get into the big debate about how do you weigh a dense population centre versus a less-populated but much larger geographic area.

Because of Canada's low population density, this is a much harder issue to solve then the U.S., where the population is a little more evenly distributed.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I mean, if the U.S. were balanced the same way as Canada, 80 million people would live in NYC, 40 million would live in LA, Chicago would have 20 million, there's be about 10 million each in Philidelphia, Pheonix, and Houston, and the remaining 130 million would be spread out among the remaining population centres.

Mitch said...

I saw the Simpson's episode last night, and thought it was REALLY funny... While I was in Australia, I struck up a conversation with two guys with flags on their backpacks. By their accents and their demeanor, it was clear they weren't from Canada - the clincher is when one of them said to me that he was from Canada's Capital, in Toronto.

As for Australia, it is a very intolerant society. They do have some degree of multi-culturalism, but they have been facing alot of issues abroad, from the two Bali bombings, to a very serious domestic terrorist threat, and I'm sure that is fanning the flames. In the big cities, it wasn't too bad, but when I was travelling through the smaller towns etc, my ex-gf (chinese) would get all sorts of 'looks' as if to say, who are you, and why are you here.

Lone Primate said...

Allan and I had our first look at a full parliament. I was taken aback by how white and how male it is.

Really? This astounds me. When I look at the House of Commons, I've been struck by just how diverse the look has become. Given that Canada only opened up immigration without regard to racial categories in the 1960s, around the time I was born, I think the country's made marked progress at integrating newcomers into the political process. When you stop to consider that there virtually WERE no non-white Canadians prior to the 1970s, the fact that there are dozens of MPs who are ethnic minorities today should be seen as a feather in our cap. Currently, there are 37 MPs who were born outside Canada (out of a total of 308 MPs, if I'm not mistaken). That's every 8th MP. I think countries with that level of foreign-born representation must be few and far between. Not all of them are visible minorities, but on the other hand, there are Canadian-born visible minorities in the Commons as well. That number is only going increase over time, of course, as the relative number of European-ethnic Canadians drops. And folks have a point -- most immigrants move to the larger cities, which are underrepresented in Parliament, while rural areas with more homogeneous ethnic characters are overrepresented; that fact would tend to hobble the process of representing non-traditional groups to some extent.

There are, by my count, currently 65 women MPs. At 21% of the total, that's well shy of half. I was actually musing on that to my friend Paul a couple of weeks ago. It's been a long, long time since women got the vote and could be elected to the Commons. Why aren't they half the number by now? It's clear they're electable in Canada; there's hardly anyone left today who would refuse to vote for someone simply because she wasn't a man. Paul suggested it has something to do with the different priorities of men and women. Like it or not, most of the biological and care-giving responsibilities of bringing up the next generation fall to women, and that may be a part of the explanation -- after all, people willing to disrupt their lives to run for office are already a scarce commodity to start with. Coupled with that is the traditional sense that we still grow up with that politics is a men's game... we've grown up used to the idea that prime ministers and presidents, with few exceptions, are men... still. Does that subconsciously dissuade female hopefuls? Does it influence the selection of candidates? There may be something to that. Still, if half the MPs aren't women, more than a fifth are. We might inquire into what was right about the process on those occasions and encourage those circumstances in the future.

Lone Primate said...

Multi-ethnic Toronto has 22 ridings and 5 million people, of whithwhereas Atlantic Canada has 32 seats for 3 million (99% white) people.

No, the City of Toronto, with a population of 2.48 million, has 22 ridings; not the whole GTA, which is what has about 5.5 million people. The riding boundaries don't exactly dovetail to Ontario's municipal boundaries, but the GTA has something like 40-45 ridings, depending on how you slice it. The cities are underrepresented, true -- but not that badly!

But this doesn't explain the government being mostly white and male.

Well, Canada's still mostly white. There are lot of visible minorities in the largest cities, but that's not the norm for the country, at least not yet. According to Statscan, in 2001, the population of Canada included 13.2% visible minorities. Median projections for 2017 suggest the figure will be 20.6% by then.

As for women... that one's more of a poser. But the same question plagues the US Congress and especially the Senate. I imagine it's the case elsewhere, too. Be interesting to look around and find out. Is any legislature running 50-50?

Lorna said...

There are quite a few Canadian writers on the Simpsons team, Tim Long (Exeter, ON), Joel and Rob Cohen (Calgary, AB) and Jeff Poliquin (Saskatchewan). More fodder for our 'Do you know who's Canadian' lists.

Lorna (formerly lmcatl)

Wrye said...

Women are everywhere, of course, but ethnicity is another question entirely:

You've just named every major population centre.

My dear countrywoman, not so, in a few different ways. But let's look at the stats:

table here

As you can see, Visible Minorities are currently 13.4% of Canadians. If these were evenly distributed among the provinces, you'd expect to have 41 or 42 non-white MPs of the 308. But they're not, and seats don't exactly correspond to population either, so let's break it down:


Less Than 1% visible minority:

Newfoundland and Labrador - 7 seats
Prince Edward Island - 4 seats
Nunavut - 1 seat

Less than 5% Visible Minority:

Nova Scotia - 11 seats
New Brunswick - 10 seats
Yukon - 1 seat
Northwest Territories - 1 seat
Saskatchewan - 14 seats

So, that's 49 seats, of which statistically we might expect 1 visible minority MP, 2 at the most.

between 7 and 8% visible minority:
Manitoba - 14 seats
Quebec - 75 seats

So another 89 seats, of which we might see 6 non-caucasians.

11% VM:
Alberta - 28 seats

Now here, we might expect to see three visible minority members. I think we can agree that they'd have to be Conservatives running in Calgary or Edmonton to have any shot at all. Still, that scenario seems unlikely to me. Am I wrong, Rob?

So far, that's 166 seats of 308, of which me might see at most 11 non-caucasians.

19.1% Non-Caucasian:
Ontario - 106 seats

Now you can see why Ontario is key to any Canadian Election. So, let's say 20 non-caucasians, all from Toronto and Ottawa.

21.6% Non-Caucasian:
British Columbia - 36 seats

So, 7 or 8 MPs, all from Richmond, Surrey, and Vancouver

And that's all. So, of 308 MPs, we would expect to see, at absolute most, 39 Non-Caucasians, including seven relatively unlikely ones from Alberta and Quebec and a sweep of Metro Toronto.

I suspect the actual numbers aren't that far off at all, but I can't find that particular stat :)

(This pagealso might be of interest, from an organization that follows such things).


In Canada, of course, our major division is linguistic. But that doesn't show up in a photo.

Wrye said...

When you stop to consider that there virtually WERE no non-white Canadians prior to the 1970s

Except Natives, of course, but as a country we pretty much had our head up our ass about that prior to that time, I would say.

Lone Primate said...

Except Natives, of course, but as a country we pretty much had our head up our ass about that prior to that time, I would say.

Given that they couldn't even VOTE till 1960, I'd say so. :)

James said...

Here's a not-really-Canadian-politics question about the stats wrye used... In the chart, why are "Southeast Asian", "Japanese", "Korean", and "Chinese" all separate categories, but "Black" is just one? There's at least as much distinction between Bantu and Khoisans as there is between Japanese and Chinese. Never mind the later Caribbean populations!

It rather shows up the artificiality of a lot of racial categorization.

Lone Primate said...

True, but I think it's more a realistic representation of the numbers involved. If large numbers of Bantu and Khoisans were showing up in Canada, I imagine the categories would evolve to show it. They're artificial but they serve the purpose as the situation requires.

RobfromAlberta said...

Now here, we might expect to see three visible minority members. I think we can agree that they'd have to be Conservatives running in Calgary or Edmonton to have any shot at all. Still, that scenario seems unlikely to me. Am I wrong, Rob?

There are currently two, non-white Conservative MPs from Alberta, Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton-Strathcona) and Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East), both of East Indian descent, so your analysis was fairly accurate.

There are also, currently, three female Alberta MPs, one Liberal and two Conservative. They also represent urban ridings.