7.17.2006

confusion

In comments here, a reader criticizes me for... well, I'm not sure for what. I need some help interpreting this one.
I should mention that you (L-Girl) are sounding more like a Canadian apologist than the radical progressive you claim to be. In fact, you sound an awful lot like the American "right wing, wing-nuts" you rail against regularly - only the Canadian version of them.

Nothing personal, but I say this (coming from the Left) because Canada doesn't need anymore of these types of people. We've become complacent, and self-congratulatory attitudes such as yours only complicates the matter. Yes I realize that its "better than the US" (even though in some respects it isn't), but you live in Canada now and unless you want to live life playing the comparison game, you're not serving anyone. In fact, its a slap in the face to people like me who see real injustices here faced by real, living people.
I'm looking at this observation seriously, not intending to hold it up for ridicule. I replied here, a little annoyed at a wide-ranging negative critique of my outlook, but mostly baffled. The more I read GaryStJ's comment, the less I understand it.

I can appreciate the idea that progressive Canadians want Canada to improve, not just be better than the US, but be the best it can be, period. That's as it should be. From my perspective, though, it's impossible not to compare the Canada with the US - the place I lived my entire life, save for the last 10.5 months. I know someone who's originally from Montreal, and has lived in Toronto for 10 years, and she still constantly compares the two cities. It seems reasonable that I would still be comparing the country of my origin and citizenship with my chosen country.

But maybe I'm not really understanding GaryStJ's complaint. What is a Canadian apologist? In what way do I "sound an awful lot like the American 'right wing, wing-nuts' you rail against regularly - only the Canadian version of them"?

Please opine. (And of course, be honest.)

UPDATE:

GaryStJ explained further in another comment:
I think the point I was driving at is that you seem to be well on your way down the slope to Canada fanboyism. And when I say it serves no one, I'm inlcuding yourself into that equation for what I think are obvious reasons.

Now, the case may well be that you are, in fact, a proponent of everything that is fundamentally "Canadian". You might, save for a few current events here and there, feel confident in the overall direction this country has taken in the past few decades.

There certainly is nothing wrong with this point of view, nor is there anything wrong with having these same feelings towards the US. But it does beg a question, namely, how does one who is so fundamentally opposed to the United States find themselves so fundamentally a proponent of Canada - so much so that one emigrates from the former to the latter - when any honest analysis of the macro-level direction of both countries reveals an almost indistinguishable destination.

More specfically, I'm left with a number of other questions. For instance, I wonder why you pass on a Republican invasion of the Middle East in favour of a Liberal invasion of the Middle East. I wonder why Canadian flag-waving jingoism is tastful while American flag-waving jingoism is ignorant. I wonder why you abhor a news agency which is interfered by government in practice (Fox) to one which is interfered by government in defintion (CBC). I wonder why you can justify a history of slavery, genocide and imperialism while not being able to justify a history of slavery, genocide and imperialism. I also wonder why you admire an immigration system which favours wealthy, educated immigrants over one which favours wealthy, educated immigrants. I think these are questions which deserve answers, and ones which I assume you've mulled over during the months you contemplated your choice to migrate.

I believe that one can emigrate legitimately from one to the other without answering these questions, but I think to do so without admitting that the choice was based on anything but aesthetics is intellectually dishonest.

I guess I should also say that I'm not holding anything against you or trying to sound cheeky. Its just that someone denoucning a place one day then holding its partner in crime on a pedestal the next puts me at a loss. Maybe you could clarify your position...
So that's a mouthful and a half. It's ignorant of what I've written for the past two years, ignorant of much history, and presumptuous of what I do believe. "I think to do so without admitting that the choice was based on anything but aesthetics is intellectually dishonest," is rude, judgemental and presumptuous: as if my own choices, for my own reasons, are not good enough, as if I am under some kind of obligation to explicate my choices to a Board of Intellectual Directors who will then pass judgement on my reasons for emigrating and declare me Honest or No. I mean, who the hell is GaryStJ to declare me intellectually dishonest?

However, since Gary bothered to write out all those questions, and since he's not a wingnut, I will rise to the challenge and do the best I can to answer at least most of them.

I think the point I was driving at is that you seem to be well on your way down the slope to Canada fanboyism. And when I say it serves no one, I'm inlcuding yourself into that equation for what I think are obvious reasons.

I am quite a fan of Canada. I admit that freely and proudly. I am also a fan of Bob Dylan, Charles Dickens and the city of Paris, France. All have made me very happy.

At the same time, Bob Dylan has recorded some terrible music, Dickens can sometimes be very dull, and I once contracted food poisoning in Paris. I still love them all. The analogy to my new country should be obvious.

Now, the case may well be that you are, in fact, a proponent of everything that is fundamentally "Canadian". You might, save for a few current events here and there, feel confident in the overall direction this country has taken in the past few decades.

So far, and if we're limiting the discussion to the last few decades, I can say, yes, I feel okay. Not perfect, because I'd rather see the country move even further left (for example, providing day care, a prescription drug plan and even dental benefits under the provincial health insurance). But as I haven't a clue if or how those things are possible, I'm content for now to simply observe, ask questions, and learn. If you've actually been reading this blog, you know I do that frequently. That's why wmtc readers rise to my defense: because you don't know what you're talking about.

There certainly is nothing wrong with this point of view, nor is there anything wrong with having these same feelings towards the US. But it does beg a question, namely, how does one who is so fundamentally opposed to the United States find themselves so fundamentally a proponent of Canada - so much so that one emigrates from the former to the latter - when any honest analysis of the macro-level direction of both countries reveals an almost indistinguishable destination.

Sorry, I don't even understand what this means.

More specfically, I'm left with a number of other questions.

These I'll take one at a time.

For instance, I wonder why you pass on a Republican invasion of the Middle East in favour of a Liberal invasion of the Middle East.

What Liberal invasion of the Middle East would that be? I frequently write of my opposition to the mission in Afghanistan. So if that's what you're referring to, you haven't read this blog very much, and therefore should not be judging me. If there's an invasion I'm not aware of, do fill me in. You'd be hard-pressed to find an invasion I support, or have ever supported.

I wonder why Canadian flag-waving jingoism is tastful while American flag-waving jingoism is ignorant.

I haven't seen any Canadian jingoism. Pride in country is not the same as "my country is always right".

The dictionary I have on hand here at work defines jingoism as "extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy; chauvinistic patriotism". I haven't seen this in Canada.

I wonder why you abhor a news agency which is interfered by government in practice (Fox) to one which is interfered by government in defintion (CBC).

Ah, where to start on this one. GaryStJ, have you watched much television news?

Fox broadcasts lies, uncorroborated rumour, government propaganda without disclosure, hate-mongering and bigotry, under the guise of "news". They care nothing about honesty, integrity or the quaint little rules of journalism that distinguish opinion from reporting. They adhere only to their right-wing agenda, they exist only in the service of that agenda, and to turn a neat profit while doing so.

CBC, to my knowledge, is publicly funded, something I approve of wholeheartedly. I think (my opinion here) it does a very good job of presenting most points of view, of providing context, and staying judgement-free, to the extent that such a thing is possible (with the understanding that it's not entirely possible to eliminate bias altogether).

Inasmuch as CBC has a bias, it seems to be a bias I approve of. That's called personal preference.

I wonder why you can justify a history of slavery, genocide and imperialism while not being able to justify a history of slavery, genocide and imperialism.

One, I don't justify any country's history. Almost every country on earth and all the ancient countries that came before us have a history of all three, either giving or receiving.

Two, Canada's history in this regard, relative to the United States, is (to quote a Canadian-American [Vietnam draft resister] who wrote me when I first started this blog) "less worse". I haven't studied Canadian history as extensively as I have US history, but I've studied both to some extent. When it comes to slavery, genocide and imperialism, these two countries are not on the same planet. Surely you must know that?

Three, the countries have dealt with their past transgressions in vastly different ways. To give one example, while First Nations people in Canada have serious issues that need to be taken seriously and addressed, and are legitimately angry that they have been repeatedly rebuffed, Native Americans in the US are absolutely invisible, except as providers of gambling. I have been stunned at the level of awareness of native issues in Canada, and of the constant reminders that Canada was founded by three nations.

Four, I can't emigrate to a country based on history. I can only emigrate based on what is.

I also wonder why you admire an immigration system which favours wealthy, educated immigrants over one which favours wealthy, educated immigrants.

Here, you are just plain misinformed.

Immigration policy in the US favours illegal immigrants to do the dirty work, and a large, poorly defined group of people from countries deemed acceptable, most of who are working-class or what is sometimes called lower middle class. Go to Queens, New York, to see for yourself. It's also extremely difficult to emigrate to the US.

Canada favours people who are employable, students, and people who need refuge from persecution. Canada wants immigrants who will contribute to Canadian society (what's wrong with that?) and also offers shelter from a large number of storms. It's fairly straightforward to emigrate to Canada. Although you cannot be completely impoverished (unless you are a refugee), you certainly do not have to be wealthy. Aren't I proof of that?

I would advise against arguing with me about immigration. I know a thing or two about it.

I think these are questions which deserve answers

I disagree, but I answered anyway.

and ones which I assume you've mulled over during the months you contemplated your choice to migrate.

You assume incorrectly. My reasons for leaving the United States for Canada are well documented in this blog. I certainly did not contemplate the ridiculous questions you listed above! Can you imagine a prospective immigrant saying to herself, hmm, Canada once had slavery, and the CBC is publicly funded, I'd better not move there...?

For more answers to GaryStJ's questions, see comments here and in the older post.

54 comments:

GarySTJ said...

We seem to have cross-posted. I replied with a reponse to what you posted before, but I don't think it address the questions you raise here.

Also, forgive me if I sounded as if I was attacking you, I meant no offence.

My comparison of you and "right wing, American wingnuts" was simply to suggest that both you and them appear to be (largely) oblivious to the faults of your respective country. And like I said before, I have no problem with these positions, but it begs a justification in your case considering that you emigrated from one place to the other.

Put plainly, I wonder how you can favour the behaviour of Canada to that of the United States and still claim to have researched the topic.

Cheers.

Lone Primate said...

Put plainly, I wonder how you can favour the behaviour of Canada to that of the United States and still claim to have researched the topic.

I can't imagine how anyone could seriously pose such a question to someone who spent over a year going through the vast machinations of moving from one country to another. Frankly, it's insulting to suggest anyone would go through all that without having an informed opinion of the distinctions between the two places and making a personal and, in this case, onerous choice based on that. You're coming little short here of suggesting either that the decision was frivilous and foolish in the face of research done, or else that Laura and Allan lie about ever having informed themselves about the political realities of Canada in the first place. I'd be surprised if there weren't a number of things they've learned that the average Canada doesn't, and never had need to.

GarySTJ said...

Lone

Lets just say that your assumptions are precisely my questions.

GarySTJ said...

And I should say that I'm not condemning anyone or anyting, I'm inquiring.

Scott M. said...

Put plainly, I wonder how you can favour the behaviour of Canada to that of the United States and still claim to have researched the topic.

Ah yes, but isn't the difference in the nuances of how things are handled?

For instance: the difference between Guantanamo Bay and how things are being done there versus how National Security Certificates are being handled here. Yes, on the face of it they are both major infractions on the charter/amendment rights of persons in the country, but there is no accusations of extreme torture that are coming out of the states. (BTW, I believe Laura has commented on her hatred of both systems).

And yes, both countries have participated in rendition... but here, it resulted in a major investigation and condemned by the government whereas in the states it is defended by the government.

Just to examples, but you can find similar examples in many current events. Is there not a place for nuance here?

As far as history is concerned, I'm sure Laura isn't saying she's in support of how we interred the Japanese... you just may be missing the posts where she's critical of Canada. I'm sure if she might have very critical comments of Trudeau's use of the War Measures Act during the October Crisis as well! You certainly can't expect everyone to know everything about the past -- especially in a country you haven't been in for even a year yet.

Perhaps your expectations are a tad too high?

James said...

Put plainly, I wonder how you can favour the behaviour of Canada to that of the United States and still claim to have researched the topic.

I'm curious as to which Canadian behaviours in particular you have in mind as not being favourable compared to the US.

Not that Canada hasn't made it's share of stupid moves, but the US does have a pretty impressive record itself...

M@ said...

You know, as a lifelong Canadian citizen who tries to remain intelligently informed, I still struggle to come to terms with this country, and one of the best ways to do it is to compare it to other, similar countries.

Understanding the differences between Canada and North Korea is hardly as useful as comparing it to Britain, Australia, or the USA. One of the reasons I read this blog is that it helps me to understand my country through the eyes of someone new to it. I'm learning a lot.

But as a mere reader, I am finding it harder and harder, Gary, to understand what you're getting at. When someone suggests an answer, you say things like "Lets just say that your assumptions are precisely my questions."

So you answer the question: what Canadian behaviour cannot be compared favourably to that of the USA? And what research shows this?

I don't see why anyone should attempt to answer your questions until you can provide at least one example of the kind of thing your questions are supposedly referring to.

L-girl said...

Just chiming in to say I agree with what Lone Primate, Scott M, James and M@ say, above.

On the other hand, GaryStJ, try to at least be aware that you cannot write things like

I wonder how you can favour the behaviour of Canada to that of the United States and still claim to have researched the topic

without the recipient believing you are attacking her.

Elsewhere you said I was "intellectually dishonest" (I put that in quotes because it's a meaningless expression) if I didn't admit I moved to Canada for aesthetic reasons!! Aesthetics! WTF does that mean??

That's a rhetorical question. Since you didn't know "reality cheque" was a joke, and thought I needed a lecture on how to cope with the spelling changes, perhaps you didn't get that, either.

I'm waiting for Redsock to appear and give you a big fuck you.

L-girl said...

And by the way, the emigration process, from inception of idea to actual move was closer to two years. I still feel that I am in process, but it was about two years from idea to landing.

Aesthetics. Geez.

redsock said...

garystj: ... how does one who is so fundamentally opposed to the United States find themselves so fundamentally a proponent of Canada - so much so that one emigrates from the former to the latter - when any honest analysis of the macro-level direction of both countries reveals an almost indistinguishable destination.

L: Sorry, I don't even understand what this means.


He wants to know why we moved from one country to another country when the two countries are "almost indistinguishable".

And since they are "almost indistinguishable", why do we like one and hate the other?

L-girl said...

And since they are "almost indistinguishable", why do we like one and hate the other?

Can you answer him?

L-girl said...

The more I think about it, the more I agree with James and M@.

GaryStJ, having posed questions which you claimed "deserved" answers, please answer this question:

What Canadian behaviour cannot be compared favourably to that of the USA? And what research shows this?

If you don't show up, we can assume you're full of shit.

If you do show up, please answer the question straightforwardly, without the rhetorical obfuscation used in your response to Lone Primate.

Masnick96 said...

I don't know why but GaryStJ really pissed me off this afternoon.

He states that he dosen't intend to offend or condemn, but only to inquire - however all he seems to do is offend and condemn Canadian and Non-Canadian alike...

Here's an idea Gary, I'll trade places with you. You can come and live in conservative, gun-toting, anti-gay Colorado, watching FOX News 24/7 and enjoy having your rights stripped away almost every second (oh, and by the way...enjoy how the government is non-responsive, inhumane, and instilling fear in you every moment of the day.) In the meantime, I'll move up North to enjoy my dream of living in Canada. Maybe then you'll have a better idea of what life is like in the good ole US of A, and notice it is a touch different from your homeland.

One of my good friends in Toronto always bemoans Canada and talks of moving to New Zealand, jokingly, but he does it to emphasize a point. When I end up pointing out all the things about Canada I envy he usually changes his tune, and to that I can only say that the grass is always greener somewhere. For me it happens to be Canada.

James said...

There is an interesting difference between Fox and CBC...

Fox is privately funded, but is apparently in a close relationship, not with the US government, but with the Bush administration and the Republican Party.

CBC is publicly funded, and it's relationship is with the Canadian government as a whole, not any particular party.

That makes a huge difference. Sure, the CBC is affected by party politics (the current government can starve or bribe it if it chooses), but it's actually proven very resillient and objective, especially compared to the media in the US, which is either in Bush's pocket (Fox), or deathly afraid of being labelled "liberal" (everybody else).

Lone Primate said...

"Jingoism". I can't get over that.

Here's the height of Canadian "jingoism", as far as I can see...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVZnhaKcjME

gito said...

Geez L, I am not educated on Gary's level (based on the fancy word content) but I want to say I am with you, and that I can see why you moved to Canada. You are waving the flag of freedom from the other side and we can't wait to get there too!!!

teflonjedi said...

"Jingoism". I can't get over that.

Here's the height of Canadian "jingoism", as far as I can see...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVZnhaKcjME


LP, I have to agree with you, with only one other exception:

http://cbc.ca/clips/ram-lo/hnic_theme.ram

We tend to get a little fanatical about our hockey, from time to time. (The 70's version is often-times my cellphone ringtone.) If that's the worst we can do, then I think, all in all, we don't do too badly.

I am quite a fan of Canada. I admit that freely and proudly. I am also a fan of Bob Dylan, Charles Dickens and the city of Paris, France. All have made me very happy.

L, I knew there was another reason I come 'round here. Not so sure about the Dylan part, but the Paris and Dickens parts...excellent! :)

I don't post here as often as I'd like, being three time zones away, and struggling with a lot on my plate at work. But, I do read, and I am appreciative of your newly-insider's view on my mother country, including your notes of things that can be improved. Things can always be improved...society is not a static thing. I also get to read how things really are back home, in part because US news reporting is not "the news of the world", and in part because the little changes will never get reported. (Victoria Day is "Two-four"??? Still puzzling that one out.)

I don't think you've got your blinders on.

I know I don't. I've been down here for 10+ years now, and one of the things I can say in comparison between the two countries is that the Canadian government(s) often actively works on change...and the US government works to preserve the status quo. Geez, before I left, and in my lifetime, the constitution came home, we came up with our flag, we had two failed constitutional efforts (Meech Lake and Charlottetown) and a separatist federal party in parliament...and after I left, more native land settlements happened, and a new federal territory sprung into existence (I'm with the camp that wanted to rename the NWT "Bob"), and the definition of marriage was extended, and the twonie started being minted. Some of these things, I just cannot imagine happening down here in the US.

Anyways, I've rambled on...just my two cents.

L-girl said...

I'll have to watch those videos tomorrow.

T-jedi, I appreciate your perspective a lot. I'm glad you're reading and commenting.

one of the things I can say in comparison between the two countries is that the Canadian government(s) often actively works on change...and the US government works to preserve the status quo.

Two things I'd like to note about that.

I've been astonished at how much real change has come out of "the system" - the established political system - in Canada.

Tommie Douglas is a great example -having been actually part of the government, not an outsider who pressured the system to change. Canadian history seems to have many examples of that. It's very different for me.

Also, and unfortunately from my POV, the US govt has been in the business of change, but regressively. People's movements changed US society hugely from the late 1950s until the late 1970s. And since the early 1980s, the govt has been intent on changing it back. The expression we often use is "turning back the clock".

I agree w/ Teflonjedi about the status quo, but sometimes it's even worse.

L-girl said...

L, I knew there was another reason I come 'round here. Not so sure about the Dylan part, but the Paris and Dickens parts...excellent! :)

Two out of three ain't bad. :)

Although I don't understand why everyone doesn't worship Bob Dylan, the greatest English-language poet of our time...

teflonjedi said...

Two out of three ain't bad. :)

Ah, the song of my first broken heart. Back in grade 4. We lived that year in lovely, isolated Masset, BC....yet not isolated enough for us to not get Bat Out of Hell.

I guess my personal favourite music poet is still Tom Cochrane. I know it's a personal preference, but Napoleon Sheds His Skin has stuck with me a long, long time. To each his own.

And, now, back to the more serious stuff...

And since the early 1980s, the govt has been intent on changing it back. The expression we often use is "turning back the clock".

Perhaps so...I've only been down here since 1995, so I'm not sure much changed since then...except for all the post-911 crap that I'm not happy about.

Sometimes I wonder though...did the earlier changes really propogate as far as we think/hope? Or, did they change mostly in Gore country, and not so much in Bush country, and Bush country is pulling things back, overall, to be at their current steady-state level. I dunno.

M@ said...

I must admit to being surprised at this:

I don't know why but GaryStJ really pissed me off this afternoon.

I think I know why, Mason/Nick: you live, you breathe, you have a functioning brain. Mystery freakin' solved, man.

And then this from LP:

Here's the height of Canadian "jingoism", as far as I can see...

Yeah, those cannons and fireworks and jet planes and sparkling maple leaves reminded me why... uh... oh, right. Well, I laughed (not for the first time) when the mountain goat bleated. That's gold, that is.

But then T-Jedi gets all up in our grills with:

one of the things I can say in comparison between the two countries is that the Canadian government(s) often actively works on change...and the US government works to preserve the status quo.

And that says it all. T-J wins the freakin' thread. Thanks a lot, man. Some of us really have to struggle to even make a point, and there you go summing everything up as easy as all that and a bag o' chips. Thanks. Geez.

Oh, and Gary? Are you a total idiot? Nothing personal, just looking for information, you understand. Not, uh, you know... just askin'.


P.S. I understand that this is the first time this decade that anyone has said "all that and a bag o' chips", and I apologise unreservedly.

mister anchovy said...

your reply is generous.

James said...

T-Jedi gets all up in our grills

What does this mean, exactly? I mean, where does the expression come from? Is "grill" supposed to be a metaphor for "face"? Or does it have something to do with harassing a barbecue?

L-girl said...

Two out of three ain't bad. :)

Ah, the song of my first broken heart. Back in grade 4.


There goes our age difference. I remember "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" because I was, well, barely 17 and barely dressed. :)

I guess my personal favourite music poet is still Tom Cochrane.

That's cool. Everyone needs one, I think. And now, as you said, onto the serious stuff.

Sometimes I wonder though...did the earlier changes really propogate as far as we think/hope? Or, did they change mostly in Gore country, and not so much in Bush country, and Bush country is pulling things back, overall, to be at their current steady-state level.

That's a good question. I think much change took hold everywhere - integrated workplaces and schools, opportunities for women, legalized abortion. Jim Crow is gone. There were great strides towards environmental justice, labor justice. Those changes were everywhere.

Certain places definitely changed more than others, and those places were more liberal in the first place.

But there's also no doubt that progress has been rolled back - abortion laws, environmental laws (dating back to Reagan), labour laws (ditto), etc.

I also want to point out that these changes occured because people's movements demanded change, and eventually govt responded. It was absolutely change from outside the system - so that's a big difference right there.

I think I know why, Mason/Nick: you live, you breathe, you have a functioning brain. Mystery freakin' solved, man.

:-)

Oh, and Gary? Are you a total idiot? Nothing personal, just looking for information, you understand. Not, uh, you know... just askin'.

:-D

your reply is generous.

Thank you, Sir Anchovy.

M@ said...

T-Jedi gets all up in our grills

What does this mean, exactly? I mean, where does the expression come from? Is "grill" supposed to be a metaphor for "face"? Or does it have something to do with harassing a barbecue?


Ouch. Outed. I have no idea. The kids say it apparently. But I think the grill may have something to do with the mouth. Wouldn't stake my life on it.

You know, when Gary left, this thread became a lot of fun.

L-girl said...

Grill is slang for face. Think of the grill of a car.

L-girl said...

You know, when Gary left, this thread became a lot of fun.

I agree. :)

MSEH said...

Now that I'm reasonably caught up... I have to say, this has been a very interesting series of exchanges!

GaryStJ wrote: "...when any honest analysis of the macro-level direction of both countries reveals an almost indistinguishable destination."

Almost indistinguishable? Who is he kidding?!?

I hate to toss out a more "serious" note after the fun of the last few comments, but in the event that GaryStJ is reading I feel compelled to point out one major distinction and a part (though not all) of the reason for our wish to move to Canada.

To put it simply, in the US my family is not only NOT recognized as a family by any aspect of the government, state or federal, but it is the target of proactive efforts to prevent any governmental recognition. In Canada my family is considered a family, period.

One of the ironies of the great marriage debate is that the above paragraph holds true without Canada's action re: ss marriage. One of my Canadian colleagues pointed out that he, in fact, thinks that one of the reasons the marriage debate has not been as heated in Canada, is that, in Canada, how you were treated (i.e., as a family, or not) did not depend on parents being married.

Let me hasten to add two things -
1. If you think the marriage debate in Canada is heated, please come visit the US.
2. Don't bother to ask why I care about governmental recognition, isn't it all above love, blah, blah, blah. I'm tired of paying a "same-sex family tax" just because my family doesn't count.

Anyone, this may not make a lot of sense bc I'm trying to shorthand it... and clearly not doing a very good job.

Keep up the good work L-girl!

redsock said...

grill

L-girl said...

Grill, part 3. The meaning is now more generalized than that Wikipedia article implies.

L-girl said...

Thanks, MSEH! You offer a great perspective.

I'm tired of paying a "same-sex family tax" just because my family doesn't count.

I used to pay a similar tax, because my family isn't recognized in the US either. The difference is, that was my choice: Allan and I could have gotten legally married if we chose to. Huge difference.

In Canada, however, we are recognized as common-law partners. I like it.

GarySTJ said...

Thanks for the responses guys, but I seem to have struck a nerve.

First I'd like to address the suggestion that I've been rude, something which I can flatly deny. Perhaps I'm accustomed to an academic writing style which is blunt and not meant to be taken personally. I've tried to compensate for this by ending each post with the disclaimer that I wasn't trying to be rude. Again, my apologies if this is how I've sounded.

Second, I'd like to say, to everyone, that unsubstantiated platitudes do not a sound argument make. I'm referring specifically to the comment that "Canada works for change while the US preserves the status quo". In order for this to be an accurate assertion, every piece of legislation in Canada would need to be in the active process of being changed, while every respective piece of legislation in the US in the active process of being preserved - a ridiculous prospect, and utterly indefencible at that!

But as for your (L-Girl) question,

What Canadian behaviour cannot be compared favourably to that of the USA? And what research shows this?

...I'm finding it a bit loaded. Its loaded, first, with the assumption that I think US actions are favourable to Canadian ones. Secondly, it indicates a "see-saw" outlook which would suggest that if something is good in one place, then it must naturally be bad in another. This is something I don't agree with as I've argued that the two country's actions are comparable, not better or worse than one another's.

But if I must answer (and straightforwardly), here's one. Canadians are greater per-capita polluters than Americans. Thats a well known fact, and something that I'm sure most environmentalists would not only agree with, but lament. Is this something that would prompt me to begin the long and expensive process of emigrating to the United States? No. What kind of macrocosmic assumptions can one make from such a fact? I'm not sure.

Unfortunately, however, L-girl (and I mean no offence), the burden of proof is on you. You have emigrated from one country to another (no small feat!) for the stated and recorded purpose of participating in a "healthier democracy". I think many would agree that the health of a democracy is reflective of that country's (near-distant) past and present actions, so certainly in making such a claim you must (naturally) have researched (at least some of) the various actions of this country and logically designated each one as either good or bad. Considering that you have obviously made the leap from there to here, one can assume that the "good" side won out.

This is where I have difficulty.

Considering the views which you openly espouse on this blog (many with which I agree), I find it difficult to accept, or perhaps understand, how you can favour the fundamental aspects of one country while not favouring the similar and/or indentical fundamental aspects of another. For instance, how can a broadly viewed US invasion of the Middle East be a motivating factor towards emigration, while a broadly viewed Canadian invasion of the Middle East be little more than a passing annoyance? Logically these conflicts of fact would suggest a strong bias, hence the accusation of "fanboyism".

These questions would not normally have to be answered before emigrating from one side of a border to another - you don't need a reason to do anything. But I think your case does beg the question considering the move was motivated by strong political convictions. So strong were these convictions that you sent them for publication in the Globe and Mail to be seen by all, including me. Such public claims, I think, deserve clarification, especially when they so grossly fly in the face of fact.

I can't do the research for you, thats not my job. I can only point you in a direction and judge, by your response, whether or not you are a willing participant in objectivism.

In the meanwhile, I will boil my question down again. What kind of consideration went into your designation of Canada as a fundamentally "good" country while labelling the United States fundamentally a "bad" one?

I'm not sure how to be clearer. Allan seems to have nailed my question on the head, but has yet to answer.

And as an aside. If you don't yet understand why an American would be lauded in moving to Canada for reasons of one country "being better" than another, then you haven't yet realized the national (specifically, Central-Canadian) ethos.

Again, no offence intended whatsoever.

L-girl said...

You have emigrated from one country to another ... for the stated and recorded purpose of participating in a "healthier democracy".

Wmtc readers: are there free and fair elections in Canada?

There are not in the US.

redsock said...

I'm not sure how to be clearer. Allan seems to have nailed my question on the head, but has yet to answer.

Gary, you ignorant slut.

All I did was rewrite your silly question.

As should be plainly obvious, I believe it is a question that barely deserves derisive laughter, let alone a serious answer.

Yet, the 30+ comments in several posts have answered it quite well.

L-girl said...

From MSEH:

Almost indistinguishable? Who is he kidding?!?

I hate to toss out a more "serious" note after the fun of the last few comments, but in the event that GaryStJ is reading I feel compelled to point out one major distinction and a part (though not all) of the reason for our wish to move to Canada.

To put it simply, in the US my family is not only NOT recognized as a family by any aspect of the government, state or federal, but it is the target of proactive efforts to prevent any governmental recognition. In Canada my family is considered a family, period.


MSEH, please stop posting "unsubstantiated platitudes". :/

M@ said...

Wmtc readers: are there free and fair elections in Canada?

What, just because the election results reflect the will of the people; the ballots exist and can be counted and re-counted, providing a persistent paper trail; no one (that I know of anyhow) is blocked from voting, and certainly not millions; and the elections are run by an independent (if government-funded) body, rather than partisan executives of major electronics firms?

Fanboy.

Lone Primate said...

First I'd like to address the suggestion that I've been rude, something which I can flatly deny.

And we can tell you just as flatly that no matter how you couch it, suggesting someone lied about their research, or else was too thick to understand its implications, is rude. Saying "no offense" at the end is disingenuous.

Second, I'd like to say, to everyone, that unsubstantiated platitudes do not a sound argument make.

What, you mean like just bouncing out words like "jingoism" and "imperialism" without a single instance of evidence and letting them stand as though they alone convict two different countries with two different histories of absolute moral equivalence? Something like that?

...I'm finding it a bit loaded. Its loaded, first, with the assumption that I think US actions are favourable to Canadian ones.

No, it doesn't; it proceeds from your assertion of equivalency, and simply asks for an example of when Canada's conduct did not exceed it. It makes no assumptions whatsoever of your suggesting American superiority on any issue. You're putting words in someone else's mouth here.

Is this something that would prompt me to begin the long and expensive process of emigrating to the United States? No.

But it might others, whose value systems place different emphasis on the matter. I think it's safe to assume that Laura and Allan had issues — beyond our supposed despoiling of the world — where the Canadian policy was more appealing... to the point that the expense and bother of emigrating were preferable to remaining.

For instance, how can a broadly viewed US invasion of the Middle East be a motivating factor towards emigration, while a broadly viewed Canadian invasion of the Middle East be little more than a passing annoyance?

How many countries has the US invaded, and how many has Canada invaded? How many countries further is the US threatening to invade, and how many further is Canada? You seem eager to set up empty jars, but reluctant to see how many beans they'll really hold. Most anyone over four years old can see that even though a gallon jar and a quart jar are both jars, they aren't going to hold the same amount, and can make a value judgement based on that fact. Why are you so amazed that Laura and Allan could manage that?

Such public claims, I think, deserve clarification, especially when they so grossly fly in the face of fact.

I think you owe us clarification first. As I've pointed out, repeatedly, you do nothing here but drop empty nouns as proof of moral equivalency, and refuse to acknowledge the very real differences in scope and depth in actual, real-world, human terms that lie at the root of those empty words. If you want to make headway, you'll have to start arguing from substance rather than spinning your wheels in abstractions.

In the meanwhile, I will boil my question down again. What kind of consideration went into your designation of Canada as a fundamentally "good" country while labelling the United States fundamentally a "bad" one?

On what evidence do you purport Canada and the United States to be morally equivalent, which is the basis for your complaint in the first place? Let's hear examples. Let's see some numbers. Before you come around demanding justification, let's see the charge sheet.

Well?

MSEH said...

Hate to get sucked in and one must really "pick and choose" which zaniness to address, but...

GaryStJ wrote: "First I'd like to address the suggestion that I've been rude, something which I can flatly deny. Perhaps I'm accustomed to an academic writing style which is blunt and not meant to be taken personally."

Huh? I'm an academic *and* an attorney and I think I'm capable of writing in one "style" for professional audiences and one for "fun." I'm sure GaryStJ is too, should he choose to make the distinction. Also, academic writing *can* be rude and offensive. His comment is either just a poor excuse for being too lazy to be more thoughtful or he wants to be rude but doesn't want to admit as much. BTW, providing a disclaimer for rudeness doesn't mean that one isn't rude. It's like when my 5 year old does something wrong intentionally thinking that quickly following with "I'm sorry" makes it okay.

In other news... he also writes: "I'm referring specifically to the comment that "Canada works for change while the US preserves the status quo". In order for this to be an accurate assertion, every piece of legislation in Canada would need to be in the active process of being changed, while every respective piece of legislation in the US in the active process of being preserved...."

Where's the logic in asserting that for one to work for change EVERY piece of legislation...??? And, conversely, since when does working to maintain the status quo mean preserving ALL legislation???

If you're an academic, I am worried. Do you really think without any nuance whatsoever?

Perhaps the answer to all of the confusion over his posts lies here: "...then you haven't yet realized the national (specifically, Central-Canadian) ethos." Ahhh, CENTRAL-Canadian.. :D

Okay, I'm outta here - for now! Cheerio!

GarySTJ said...

MSEH:

Maybe what I meant to say was that I'm more accustomed to people being far less sensitive to objective criticism.

If blunt questions lead to less than flattering revelations, then thats the way it is. L-Girl is a published author, so I guess I wrongly assumed she'd be able to handle light criticisms. I wonder if she flies off the handle whenever her editor points out an obvious, logical disconnect.

Central-Canada is the correct usage. To refer to Ontario as "eastern Canada" is an incorrect, outdated, relativistic colloquialism. In no way should this usage be indicative of my location, which I am happy to disclose.

To All:

You can't honestly expect me to respond to everything written here, can you?

L-girl said...

You can't honestly expect me to respond to everything written here, can you?

Ah, that's convenient. Cute. Likewise your cheap shot about editors' criticisms.

Please recall that before I flew off said handle, I responded each and every question you posed, directly. But you ignored that.

You have time to respond to a post about an expression of speech ("begs the question") but not the substance of my responses, or Allan's, or MSEH's, or M@'s, or Lone Primate's...

Lone Primate said...

Maybe what I meant to say was that I'm more accustomed to people being far less sensitive to objective criticism.

You haven't offered any yet. To do that, you'd have to substantiate your points with evidence that an objective observer would view as demonstrating, point by point, that Canada has no substantially different policies from the US, or else, in the case that it did, that the differences in policy led to no demonstrable moral advantage. We haven't seen you do this yet. You've alluded to it without demonstrating it.

You can't honestly expect me to respond to everything written here, can you?

Try responding to just some of it, then. Again, same challenge. You've stated here that Canada's been basically hand-in-glove with the US militarily, except for, as you say, Vietnam and Iraq. Allan presented a list of US actions since WWII. That's your basis for response. If what you say is true, you ought to be able to demonstrate it using that list. If not, you're nothing but a balloon juice salesman.

GarySTJ said...

Lone:

See other thread.

I would advise against arguing with me about immigration. I know a thing or two about it.

Oh really?

Do you know what the number one benefit a country receives through the adoption of a point-based immigration system is?

James said...

Don't bother to ask why I care about governmental recognition, isn't it all above love, blah, blah, blah. I'm tired of paying a "same-sex family tax" just because my family doesn't count.

When one-half of a same-sex couple lands in the hospital with terminal cancer, you quickly see how little benefit "it's all about love" actually provides in the real world.

Lone Primate said...

Lone:

See other thread.


Gary:

Balloon juice salesman. And you're without a balloon, so far as anyone here can see so far.

Lone Primate said...

Do you know what the number one benefit a country receives through the adoption of a point-based immigration system is?

Do you?

teflonjedi said...

But then T-Jedi gets all up in our grills with:

Sorry 'bout that, homies.

And that says it all. T-J wins the freakin' thread. Thanks a lot, man. Some of us really have to struggle to even make a point, and there you go summing everything up as easy as all that and a bag o' chips. Thanks. Geez.

Oops, sorry! :)

There goes our age difference. I remember "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" because I was, well, barely 17 and barely dressed. :)

Ahh, the good old days... ;)

And now, more seriously...

I can't do the research for you, thats not my job. I can only point you in a direction and judge, by your response, whether or not you are a willing participant in objectivism.

Dear god, who died and left you in charge?

It seems that I have a lot more reading to do, just to catch up here...

Tresy said...

First, I'm surprised that no one has cited Michael Adams' Fire and Ice for the proposition about the difference between US and Canadian attitudes. (I understand it was a best seller in Canada in 2004.) From my experience as a recent immigrant (to say nothing of my experience before that), his findings amply corroborate our reasons for moving here.

Second, an anecdote: my spouse and I attended a recent town meeting held by our local NDP MLA, Liberal MP and mayor. At one point the operator of a local food bank stood up to ask for their positions on their work. The Liberal made strong, reassuring statement of support for her vital work. The NDP MLA, however, politely but firmly argued that he and many in the questioner's own community have come to understand that there are at least two major problems with food banks: 1) they are a band-aid on the problem of capitalism's failure to distribute food justly and 2) they let government avoid its commitments to its citizens.

Afterwards my wife asked me what I thought of the colloquy. I said, "For one thing, you'd NEVER hear sentiments like that expressed by ANY US politician..."

"...Exactly what I thought too!" she immediately interjected.

And you know what? I'm not even sure we agree with the NDP guy, but it did highlight for me just how shriveled the political spectrum in the United States is by comparison with Canada. And that's why we prefer living here.

Lone Primate said...

And that's why we prefer living here.

It highlights the problem with what's been happening here. It's a good, solid reason for moving, as long as it seems to you like a good, solid reason for moving. For many (most) people in the United States it wouldn't, and they'd remain. For you, it was a real qualifier. These things are a matter of personal preference... they're about who a person is, and what matters to him or her. We can't get Gary to see that. He demands absolutes that would be true for everyone. If the world were like that, then either everyone in Canada would move to the United States based on the indisputable logic of the case, or else we'd have 300,000,000 people moving to Canada from the US. Evidence like yours, that comes out of who you are, is a square peg that he can't pound into his all-round-holes pegboard. Hence, he discounts it. I get a real creepy vibe after a while from a guy that blind to simple, individual motivation. It's like he's working up some kind of Year Zero plan for Canada or something.

Tresy said...

LP:

I know, you'd think part would be obvious to Gary. At the same time, it's no slight to Laura or me or other immigrants that we might have an initially rosier view of our adoptive country than the natives. Anyone who's observed immigrants to the US sees the same behaviour. Newlyweds are the same way. It's just normal human behaviour. You want something, you work to get it, you get it, you want to be happy about getting it. Time and experience will add the shading and contours.

The vibe I got off of Gary--who, note, claims to be of the Left--is the same obnoxious one that drove me away from the Left in the States, namely the sophomoric insistence on the irrelevance of seemingly superficial differences. After all, it was the Nader campaign's insistence that Gore=Bush that gave us Bush (and wound up driving us here). Yes, the Democrats are awful in many of the same ways that Republicans are awful, and from a "radical" perspective they are indistinguishable, but anyone who concludes from that "almost the same" in fact equals "the same," is an idiot. Small differences matter. Alot. The last 6 years have proved that. I think most Canadians get that too.

L-girl said...

Tresy, I very much agree, especially with the idea of newlyweds, shading and nuance.

As you know, I disagree that Nader brought us Bush, I think Gore plus the Repub's dirty tricks plus the Supreme Court did that. In NYS I safely voted for Nader and was proud to do so.

Nevertheless, it's hard for me to see how these could be considered superficial: same-sex relationship rights, abortion rights, use of the death penalty.

Tresy said...

Hi Laura:

Didn't mean to open the whole Nader 2000 can of worms. (I voted for Nader in 96.) Can we safely agree that, whether or not Nader "gave" us Bush, that the Naderites' central conceit (Dems=GOP) has been completely demolished, without having to defend oneself from the charge of being a Dem apologist? (Or fanboy? ;-) ) I continue to share many of the US Left's criticisms of the parties, the press, and capitalism, but too often I think "radical" is understood by its adherents to mean "oblivious to counterevidence and overgeneralization". And that is what led me to compare Gary's equation of Canada and the US with the Naderite equivocation of Dems and GOP. It's shallowness masquerading as sophistication.

L-girl said...

Absolutely no problem re cans of any worms. I just feel obligated to throw that in there. I also didn't mean to start an argument, merely to present that viewpoint.

I voted for Nader in 96 and 2000, then Kerry in 2004, just for symbolism's sake. :/

I definitely agree with you re over-generalization. But this Gary character said killing one person or killing one million is fundamentally the same, therefore Canada is fundamentally the same as the US. You can't argue wtih (il)logic like that!

I never had any illusions about Canada as utopia. It's just more right for me than the US. Gary was insisting I "admit" that this is based on ignorance and myth - and I just can't do that. It still seems more right to me. :)

He also seems to feel that any pride in one's country is nationalistic, jingoistic, right-wing, etc. (Not to mention all the insults and obscenities he threw in for good measure.) I just don't agree.

Tresy said...

...And to just address your comment about "superficial" abortion rights, etc.: that's sort of my point. Gary and the "radicals" will point to all the similarities (especially when viewed from a great height) between two systems as belying their underlying common structure, while pooh-poohing the differences as basically a trick of the light. But when put to the test, as in the case of the last 6 years, we find that these "superficial" differences do matter.

L-girl said...

And to just address your comment about "superficial" abortion rights, etc.: that's sort of my point.

Yes, I get that, and I agree completely. "Viewed from a great height" is well said. That guy had the chutzpah to say that those differences aren't valid because those rights exist in some US states and localities!! Fat lot of good that does for women in Mississippi (for example). Viewed from a great height indeed.