For quite some time now, I've been searching for my country. This is getting serious, I'm about at the point I think I should report to authorities it is missing. I put the blame squarely on myself, while I was distracted Canada must have wandered off and recently I've been in a panicked search for it.
Of course that may seem like babble, but I have a particular affinity for babbling, eventually I get to the point.
I'm sure we all have our own ideas of what Canada is. Sure there are differences, but it's the similarities in our hearts and minds that define us as something different that people who live in other nations. If it weren't for these kinds of definitions there would be no need for countries or borders, if we all felt the need to run our affairs exactly the same as others do.
My Canada, the one I am searching for, had much sharper definitions from its neighbour to the south, and I liked that. My Canada was a country founded on cooperation of a small population spread over a massive geographic location, unlike the "every man for himself" attitude which turns my stomach in so many ways. My Canada was different because it cared about the disadvantaged, the disabled, to those whose voices would otherwise never be heard. My Canada welcomed immigrants and refugees and didn't expect them to become us, rather learn more about their cultures to enrich ourselves, a welcoming attitude that made them more determined to be good Canadians and adapt to our way of life without having to discard their own. My Canada had a stellar reputation globally, it was a honest broker, it wasn't a war monger or blind follower of the "great powers" in their military misadventures, it was often leading the charge for social and environmental change, friend to most, defender of the opressed, and it was a badge of honour to carry the Canadian Maple Leaf proudly displayed on one's attire.
In short, I'd say we were "lovable Americans" (sic). Hear me out, if you've travelled outside the country you will often hear what people think of Americans, and it ain't pretty. Years ago, many Americans would go so far as to sew Canadian flags on their gear to escape the shame a bad country can bring to good people. Conversely if people knew you were Canadian, while they knew little about the country itself, they were always welcoming and held a special affinity for Canadians.
That Canada has become mysteriously absent. I'm sure I am not the only one alarmed by this trend, and not the only one dedicated to rebuilding and repairing the mess we're faced with now. I'm not going to pick this apart in any great detail at the moment as I intend, over the next while to look at some of the politics and geopolitics on an issue by issue basis. We need to talk about these things, or we risk becoming a homogenous "American" society.
What would lead me to think that way? Just look where we are today. Canada has absolutely no national interest, other than being a source of commodities and toadying up to the US/UK agenda. Not only has an economy that should have been poised to lead developed nations started on a steady downward slope, by electing a Harper majority, Canadians have guaranteed themselves 4 years of people who don't have a clue how to handle the economy of a country. They might be great at a business, but running a country comes with considerations no business has to take into account and these guys don't get it at all. Add to that our absolutely abysmal record on the environment which has had the effect of turning a once respected nation into an international pariah, and our blind following of other countries into military adventures that are not well thought out, where we don't know what our goal is or how to end these things and the spiral went from gradual to cliff-like in a few short years.
If you want your Canada to be exactly like the train wreck south of us, you're probably over-the-moon happy right now. If you want your Canada to do a U-turn and try to redeem ourselves in the eyes of the world then join me in sharing this blog with your friends. Join me in speaking up about a better, kinder, Canada. There is a lot of work ahead, we're either up for it, or giving up.
I want my Canada back.
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Mark McCaw ~ twitter's @bigpicguy
Author of "Insights Inside a Mind" ~ blogging the big picture