Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Rant

I've taken much of my time lately just writing poetry and putting random school works up here, but now is the time to ponder again in prose.

I've been reading an autobiography recently by Peter C. Newman, a Czech-born Canadian journalist behemoth who reported for Maclean's and the Toronto Star during the last half of the 20th Century.

One of the points that he brings up in his reflection is Canada's lack of nationalism.  It irks me as well that a country so privileged with the status as a G8 nation doesn't have pride in itself or it's accomplishments.   Moreover, our lack of nationalism leads to the decline of things that we can invest our collective spirit in and call a Canadian icon.

Our government is dragged around by a foreign policy leash tugged on by the United States. Our greatest hero did not change the world but instead played our most beloved sport. The international community looks on us not with the fondness it used to, and they think that we live in an ice covered paradise and live in igloos, driving dogsleds to work and playing hockey everyday afterwards.

We have no identity. No one knows who we are, except for maybe our flag. This has been excellently illustrated by Rick Mercer's special "Talking to Americans" report. Not even our neighbours to the south can name the capital of our country, while our own children could name a dozen states south of the border.

We have had few leaders that inspire us like the modern political superstar Barack Obama. We have few TV shows that are made and acted in by Canadian prodigies. All of our well-educated youth go south of the border to make their bucks, and as a result our country is worse off.

Those students see little reason to stay. America is the land of opportunity. It's where the money is, the power is, and where real life is.

I want Canada to be a great nation. I want us to have international respect, and I want us to do and build a great global community. For a country that regularly tops the Human Development Index, we have so much that we can offer our neighbours, and the rest of the world.

We should draft education legislation that encourages Canadian students to stay in Canada to live and work before trucking south. We should modify our defense budget and legislation so that we can have armed forces we can be proud of. We should separate our foreign policy from that of the United States and actively pursue it so we can find our own place in the world. We should make ourselves aware of what we have accomplished, and set a fire in the heart of every Canadian to do great things.

I don't like feeling disappointment in my country. It's political leaders, it's reputation abroad, any of it.

And I'll bet that you don't either.

So go out there and demand it.


~Julia said...

I agree that we don't have enough nationalism in this country - I mean our Canada Day is nothing compared to Independence Day in the US. Wasn't the 'greatest Canadian' as voted on by CBC Tommy Douglas - creator of HealthCare?

I think the dynamics and lure of the States is changing though (at least I like to think it is). With the economy falling, I think that fewer people will move there and perhaps some will even come up.

I watched Talking with Americans and I'd like to say that I couldn't believe it...but i could. -- Sad.

Interesting point that my History teacher brought up last year - a good way, he argued, to increase nationalism would be to have a mandatory requirement for everyone to participate in military training. No duty in Afghanistan necessarily, but the fitness (and we know that's needed) and leadership he thought would make us better citizens; we'd feel respect for the military and proud of our country. How's that for an idea?

J-Ray said...

Interesting idea, but I don't think it would work, simply because of the sheer backlash that it would face. Although, you never know. They do say that the army is a great way to meet girls ;).