Canada, the Unknown Country


sanctus
#1
No one knows my country, neither the stranger nor its own sons.
--Bruce Hutchison, 1942.
For academics, journalists and fiction writers alike, Canada is a subject of constant fascination and study. Bruce Hutchison, a prominent newspaper editor and author, once described Canada as "The Unknown Country." To a large extent, Canada, with its complex weave of languages, cultures and regions, is a geopolitical conundrum.
Mythologies and stereotypes abound concerning the Canadian landscape and people. To outsiders, Canada is a land of snow, hockey, Mounties, wildlife, untamed spaces, maple trees, peacekeepers, Tim Horton doughnut shops, universal health care, Quebec separatism, and congenial, reserved people (except, perhaps, for that redheaded rebel, Anne of Green Gables). Canadians themselves seem perplexed about their cultural identity. The quest for some elusive definition of Canadianness is a national pastime for many Canadians. They may not know who they are, but they do know who they are not. They will readily tell you that they are not American, British or French. Canadians do not think, talk or act like their American, British or French cousins, but will admit, often begrudgingly, that they have been very much influenced by them. And at a quick glance, it is sometimes difficult to discern these subtle differences.

In reality, Canada is an improbable country -- a land of immense geography, extreme climate, vast resources, and a small but ethnically diverse population, overshadowed by the most powerful nation on earth. No list of clichés can presume to define this collage of multilayered identities. The country is too varied, too vast, too hybrid. And yet, Canada is one of the great national success stories of modern history, a country where people from all over the world have found opportunity for individuality and community. For seven consecutive years (1994-2000), the United Nations' Human Development Report ranked Canada as having the best quality of life on the globe. Canada's subsequent Human Development Index rankings have been: 2001 and 2002 (third place), 2003 (eighth), 2004 (fourth), and 2005 (fifth).
 
MikeyDB
#2
It is also an example of a failed democracy. When the wealthiest one percent of Canadians control 90 some-odd percent of the national wealth, that's hardly demonstrative of a democracy representing the will of the majority. It's also an example of ineptitude and gross malfeaseance in government. An ineptitude born of a severly limited sense of what nationalism "is" and horrendous waste and mismangement. The frenzy for wealth and the wholesale embrace of American style consumerism has left this nation without the ability to defend itself. The continuing saga of government supported by a corrupt corporate mentality requires constant re-visitation of issues that cycle through Canadian society as the wheel of party politics and complacency grind away at the quality of life of the vast majority of Canadians living subsistence existences. While multi-culturalism provides an opportunity to learn and perhaps integrate advantages and perspectives of a wide spectrum of cultural input, our self-interests permit the outrage of imbalance to permeate government culture and business. We have witnessed a steady deterioration in the quality of law enforcement and legislation rendered impotent by a circus of lawyers and accountants entrenched as the bureaucracy of Canadian politics that has a life and a longevity of its own beyond the pale of elections by the people to both control and oversee.

If you're fortunate enough not to be member of a racial minority, fortunate enough not to be ill, disabled or elderly, fortunate enough to prosper above the income "mean" than yes, Canada is a wonderful nation.

It's too bad that Canadians define themselves and measure themselves against America and Americans. Aside from the numerical differences that influence consumption patterns and subsequently production and financial dynamics, there is a "We are the Champions of the World" attitude that Americans embrace while Canadians accept the "dumb northern cousin" characterization of a significant number of our closest neighbors.

Statistics massaged by a United Nations bouncing on strings controlled by America purportedly supporting the contention that Canada ranks as one of the best places in the world to live is exactly what one could reasonably expect from the embedded self-interest of America. You wouldn't want Canadians to believe they're not participating in as wonderful a civic experience as Americans or you'd run the risk of Canadians looking at the Canadian experience in the shadow of the American experience...as opposed to comparison or reference made to nations of similar GDP and population density.

Canada is an absolutely ridiculous notion. Thirty million people hugging the southern border because it's too damn cold and too damn expensive to live any further north. Thirty million people spread across a gargantuan landscape that translates directly into fervant regionalism and belief in cultural "uniqueness" that continues to drive wedges between the provinces and the people. The longest undefended (and realistically indefensable border in the world, without either the manpower or the materiel to secure this nation against anything greater than a rabid pack of boy scouts.

Canada was once great as America was once great, those days are over. Those days of opportunity and stability gone with the postmodern ethos of "everything is for sale"....

Including our sense of nationalism and pride, sacrificed on the altar of "trade relations" and conspicuous consumption....
 
Zzarchov
#3
Actually thats good in Canada, traditionally 2% of the population have ALWAYS controlled the majority of the wealth.

Its just the way it is, Humanity is a species which cannot exist without competing with itself. As a general rule most people would rather earn less with a chance to work hard and get more (or have their children do even better) than earn a more and have no chance to grow for them or their children.
 
DurkaDurka
#4
I'm certainly not one of the elite 1% of this country, but I do work hard and make my self a decent living. I am quite happy with my quality of life and it certainly hasn't degraded due corporate exploitation, government incompetence or any of the other points MikeyDB rants about.
 
Sparrow
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by MikeyDBView Post

It is also an example of a failed democracy. When the wealthiest one percent of Canadians control 90 some-odd percent of the national wealth, that's hardly demonstrative of a democracy representing the will of the majority. It's also an example of ineptitude and gross malfeaseance in government. An ineptitude born of a severly limited sense of what nationalism "is" and horrendous waste and mismangement. The frenzy for wealth and the wholesale embrace of American style consumerism has left this nation without the ability to defend itself. The continuing saga of government supported by a corrupt corporate mentality requires constant re-visitation of issues that cycle through Canadian society as the wheel of party politics and complacency grind away at the quality of life of the vast majority of Canadians living subsistence existences. While multi-culturalism provides an opportunity to learn and perhaps integrate advantages and perspectives of a wide spectrum of cultural input, our self-interests permit the outrage of imbalance to permeate government culture and business. We have witnessed a steady deterioration in the quality of law enforcement and legislation rendered impotent by a circus of lawyers and accountants entrenched as the bureaucracy of Canadian politics that has a life and a longevity of its own beyond the pale of elections by the people to both control and oversee.
If you're fortunate enough not to be member of a racial minority, fortunate enough...

Quote has been trimmed, See full post: View Post
Instead of looking at the negatives in Canada do something innovative and look at the positives! This is not a perfect country but in comparaison to others it is pretty good. I am really tired of hearing people complaining about our country. You say 1% wealthest Canadians control some 90% of the national wealth, well check some of the other countries compared to their populations. Go out and become one of the wealthest and work for change from there, I bet you would do exactly the same thing they are doing.

If you have such a negative outlook of Canada leave and try finding another country that is perfect in your eyes. Perfect countries do not exist, what we have to do is improve this one, be constructive and come up with ideas to work for improvements. You have the best tool in the world, THE INTERNET, use it to be constructive.``
 

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