I am Canadian.
To most people, that means a beer commercial.
To Canadians, it means what that beer commercial signifies – and outside of Canada – no one knows what that means because while Canada has always punched above our weight class because we were riding along in America’s wake and the wide swath that they have cut across the world – Canada has never asserted itself on the world stage.
Yes, we were the midwife nation of NATO, yes our forces are in demand for UN Peacekeeping missions, and yes, we play younger sibling nation to America – and I will save that complex story for another time – because Canada does love America – because America is very much what Canada would like to be – but we can’t compete with America with 10 times our population.
Because Canada is not competitive by our nature – we’re small town no matter how big our cities get – because while America is a melting pot (which all the nuances of being lowest common denominator to distilled into essential elements to cream rising to the top) – CANADA is a multi-cultural society and our national debate is not White and Black People – but English Speaking versus French Speaking – which isn’t about any particular people – but is a region to region struggle that everyone is swept up with.
Canada is geographically larger than America, but most of Canada is not easily livable land – Vancouver – known locally as Raincouver – is Canada’s warmest city and it is one of the mostly culturally diverse cities in Canada – Vancouver being the Gateway to the Pacfic Rim that includes Australia (our other sibling who moved farther away from Parental UK and who forged their own adult nationhood image on the world stage), while Canada has been the tugboat to America’s Ocean Liner or Battleship, depending on how you view America.
I prefer the Ocean Liner, because – as I formed my lunch companions at work one day at RCMP when I was lunching with 9 uniformed and armed *corporals to inspector* : “uniforms are more of a fetish than a lifestyle thing for me.”
I have always enjoyed Jewish people best because they combined the certainty of their religion with a Canadian keep it to yourself and don’t even believe it overly much, because hey, we can’t really know so agnostic is the most enlightened religious view like being bisexual is less judgmental than mono-sexuals (be they at the straight end or the gay end – most of the spectrum if not the people are in the bell curve distribution and not at either end – so why is there such a public push to pretend that everyone with few exceptions is all at the straight end that’s aberrant to the bell curve distribution?), certainly, don’t go pushing and recruiting other people.
Canadian – our public education system which is not hampered or interfered with by religious groups – means that all Canadian children are given a secular education about the history of people – how we’ve lived in the past, understanding how we came to live as we do now, to learn arts and science at age appropriate levels – but our education system is designed to keep people learning – not in silos of information – history there, science here and art over there in the poor part of the school
but how history is driven by science and pushed by arts
So part of why I seem so smart is because the Canadian public education system is better than American private schools for school aged children (and the other part is because I am as smart as I am a pain in certain types of people’s asses)
and Canadian private schools for children, tend to be religious schools and there’s a misconception that you get a better education there – but you can’t.
Religion teaches religion and they dominate their subjects with religion, inserting or asserting it where it does not belong – and as a consequence, the students may learn more details about history but they are not true details; they have been tainted by the religious framework the education exists within.
we know from science that the observer taints the observed.
so when you start with a tainted framework (religion is an answer, not a question) – then nothing that flows from that framework can be trusted to be true.
Science is a question, a multi-generational and multi-cultural means to arrive at answers, providing for best answers based on understanding right now (a scientific theory), but which is robust and modular enough to allow new data to be incorporated or cause a shift to a new theory.
Philosophy is a question, a means to arrive at answers, individually, culturally and within schools of thought.
Art is a question, a means to share partial answers arrived at by the art creator in the context of the conventions of the artistic form framed within the whole of art – history, expression modes – we create art to allow anyone who can see to participate in the art and be inspired or gain insight – because for most of human history, the majority of people couldn’t read – and now with literacy rates the highest they have ever globally been (Iceland has close to an 100% literacy rate for example).
Religion is an answer that no one who had not already been exposed to the idea of religion would arrive at – no matter how long they navel gazed.
Religion says supernatural agency – and everything that humans do has a natural cause because humans cause what’s happened to humans – all our physical, technological and civilization advances – but our own work and efforts.
so why give credit to a no-show deity who can create a universe and everything in it – but not a simple marketing campaign resulting in one true religion for the one true god –
because there’s been 10s of THOUSANDS of religions with even more gods, godesses and divine demi beings in human history – and in America – anyone with a bible and a strong personality can become an important Televangelist with a direct line to the President if they can get enough people to bloc vote as directed.
at least in Europe, religion is more organized and like Microsoft, stamped out competition through the centuries (aka Crusades, Knights Templar)
and like any dictator – when the Church got rid of the external competition – they purges the internal supporters who’s graps exceeded the Church’s.
The Knights Templar were the first multi-national banking corporation with more gold reserves than the Catholic Church – and God-Pretenders – do not like direct competition, just like their jealous small god who demands that no other gods are worshipped.
whew – so that’s what I learned from grade 1 to grade 7. Then I went to high school and learned more details to fill out that framework and then I went to university and studied film and art history and I wrote for the student paper and I was a DJ on the student radio station and I always felt drawn to the gay and lesbian groups and people but not interestingly the feminist womens studies people or resource room.
In fact, I recall a huge outcry on the campus about a guy who wandered into the Women’s Studies resource room and finding it quiet and empty, laid down on a couch and fell asleep because everywhere else was so loud or filled with napping students.
The mountain that this mole threw up into sharp relief was astounding – I could NOT beleive that *in Canada* in 1990, there was such fury over a guy, half asleep and bleary from study, wandering into the first unoccupied room he could find and laid down and had a nap.
I mean, remember in the Michael Moore documentary that compared Canada to America by opening front doors of homes in Toronto – Canada’s big city?
Putting aside the facts of the making of the documentary – the idea is what’s important – in many places in Canada – not big cities – people really don’t lock their doors – because most places in Canada are not hospitable and the ancient idea of public shelter along trade routes – hostels, safehouses, sanctuaries – these are not separate places to most Canadians – this is how we view our homes.
So when things like plane crashes in Peggy’s Cove happens – the towns people got out in their fishing boats and searched in vain for survivors with the Coast Guard and official Search and Rescue – so when it was downgraded to Search Only – the towns people then opened up their homes to the officials and families of the people who perished in the crash.
Because that’s how Canada rolls. So when 9/11 happened – Newfoundland’s Gander Airport was were most American planes were diverted – and Vancouver International Airport was the western hub of shutting down America’s airline industry because of an international terrorist event.
So, it should be obvious why the persistent lie that the 9/11 Perps came through Canada, because the perps were never in Canada, is hurtful but we understand just how hurt America was and that when hurts are that big the safest people to lash out against are the ones that you can most trust will still be there for you when the hurting part of the hurt is over – but all the people that they displaced were welcomed into Canada, into our very homes and hearts.
Canada stands to service America and we’re happy to do it because it’s that PARTNERSHIP with America that allows us to play on the world’s stage, far above our weight class, we are the least dominate of the G20 countries.
But as other nations fell in the American Sub-Prime Mortgage Debacle that somehow the Car Companies took the fall for – Canada did not – because Canada has always had transparency and accountablity as a government regulatory framework.
So when Canadian politicians try to act like American politicians – and especially their assertion that Canada’s government needs to be smaller and streamlined – what they are really saying is:
I can’t bend the system to my will because it is a transparent and accountable framework already – designed to prevent any person or political party from gumming up the works with their secret or private agendas.
Because the government of Canada is NOT the government of the day. The Government of Canada is the Public Service – rank and file Canadians from all regions, all cultures present in Canada – it is a government of and by the people.
And, as a person who has spent the last 13 years working in 7 Federal Departments – I have learned what has stopped Canada from putting on the weight to back up the kind of peacekeeping, homespun common sense, behind the scenes facilitator – to punch on our own – to stop being America’s Beaver Sidekick and be The Beavenator on the world stage.
Because seriously, if there’s one thing that the world world and everyone in it needs – is to curl up with a nice fat and warm beaver.
But it’s that’s too Canadian Coy, let me Americanize what I am saying.
Everyone needs to bed a wet beaver.
probably still too Canadian.