Sunday, October 30, 2016

The New Canada and the Return of the Cool Moose

As I'm sure you know, I'm really enjoying living in Justin Trudeau's Canada, and of course the land of the noble moose. 

And I'm constantly battling with Cons and other grumpy old Trudeau haters who would try to tear it down, or make it something ugly, or all about pipelines and trade deals.

Or poison us with their pessimism, and try to make Canada again a place where hope goes to die. 

So I'm happy to explain the progress of this country in three magazine covers and two moose. 

In that one published in 2003, The Economist portrayed us a cool country, for reasons I can't remember, but I do remember pleased me a lot.

So I also remember how sad I was to see Canada fall from that pedestal.

And the moose looking so uncool after eight years of Stephen Harper...

Which is why I'm so happy to report that we're back, at least in the eyes of The Economist.

And are now being praised as a good example to others in a world full of bigots and xenophobes. 

In this depressing company of wall-builders, door-slammers and drawbridge-raisers, Canada stands out as a heartening exception. It happily admits more than 300,000 immigrants a year, nearly 1% of its population—a higher proportion than any other big, rich country—and has done so for two decades. Its charismatic prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who has been in office a year, has welcomed some 33,000 Syrian refugees, far more than America has. 

Irredeemably dull by reputation, less brash and bellicose than America, Canada has long seemed to outsiders to be a citadel of decency, tolerance and good sense...Today, in its lonely defence of liberal values, Canada seems downright heroic. In an age of seductive extremes, it remains reassuringly level-headed.

And while The Economist is not my kind of magazine, and I wince at the sight of the Statue of Liberty holding a hockey stick, I am heartened by what it has to say, and I hope other Canadians are too.

Because it's incredibly important that we understand what sets us apart from other countries in a world that is being torn apart by bigotry. 

And be proud of what makes us different...

So we can hold on to these values with both hands. 

A year after Canada opened its doors to 31,000 Syrian refugees, a new national survey finds Canadians have not been caught up in the xenophobia witnessed elsewhere, but have grown to be more immigrant friendly.

The latest poll found fewer Canadians now express concern about immigrants not adopting “Canadian values,” the lowest ever recorded in the last two decades. Nine out of 10 said someone born elsewhere is just as likely to be a good citizen as someone born here.

For there is nothing more important at a time when people like Kellie Leitch are threatening to destroy those values and stir up bigotry here...

And those who would suck the hope out of our bones, and claim that we are still living in Harperland, or fail to leaven the bad with the good, are just playing into their hands.

We do have a long way to go before we become the great country we want to be, but without hope there will be no real change, just despair.

But this does give me hope, and it is my Canada.

Hang on to it with both hands.

And never let it go....


Marmalade said...

The first step is to turn off your television if you wish any peace of mind!

jrkrideau said...

This is a food diatribe. Syrians in Canada with weird quantifications such as engineer or medical doctor or plasma physicist, etc. should ignore it. Well, unless you need a hobby.


Irredeemably dull by reputation,

Convince them and we own the world! No wait, don't mention it.

It happily admits more than 300,000 immigrants

And thank god we do!

31,000 Syrian refugees

Ah yes.

Long, long ago, and in the same country, when I as young there were no sushi restaurants, there were no shwarma places, polenta was unknown, and chopped liver was an undercover item. Pirogi, east of Winnipeg? Where could one get a decent Vietnamese spring roll?

My mother (a good, God-fearing, Irish-German-American) was 'noticed' because she bought canned kidney beans[1].

We have an obligation to Canadians to accept Syrian refugees not only on humanitarian grounds but on culinary grounds. Syria has a famous cuisine and we NEED good Syrian cooks.

On a relatively more serous take—although I really am serous about the cuisine issue—I have had “foreign” workmates, housemates drinking mates and student mates (word?) and they were no more annoying than my Canadian associates and often a lot of fun.

1. The local grocery store owner said he would like to come to diner as she seemed to cook such interesting things. I think she had also bought canned beansprouts.

Anonymous said...

Cute kids til they grow up and start raping white women.

Anonymous said...

It is extremely heartening to know that the vast majority of us do not share the views of our bigoted Con leader wannabe Kelly Leitch. Canada is no place for a divisive Harper cling-on such as her.
Another heartening news story was Canada being named the top travel destination in the world for 2017 by the highly respected travel guide Lonely Planet,
While Harper was destroying our reputation around the world, our tourism numbers were tanking big time. What a difference a year makes with JT at the helm. Expect a huge influx of foreign visitors this year and a huge financial influx for all the tourism operators who suffered under 10 years of the Harper dictatorship.
Great post Simon, Canada is indeed back.

luceforma said...

John Ralston Saul, in his book The Fair Country, ascribes the Canadian values of inclusivity and tolerance to our First Peoples' circle - we somehow always find place in our midst for newcomers and curiosity in our hearts to learn new ways.

thank Manitou!, it's not perfect.
perfection is a dangerously misleading place. the capacity to welcome and tolerate novelty is not only what keeps our values from inbreeding (no, thank you, msleitch) but what keeps us on the path of becoming. always changing, adjusting, learning and talking... (unless you are a member of a moronic few young workers - then you just fart and go).

JT, for his shortcomings (Saudi Arabia (arms) and China (human rights).. DION?) represents this 'becoming'. that's why i love him. you are right, Kathleen, chucking out the tube was the best thing i did, twelve years ago - it cleared the mind to hear my heart. no peace, though ;)

Simon said...

hi Kathleen...I'm at the point where I can barely stand to watch anything to do with the American election. The very sound of Trump's voice drives me crazy, and I can't wait until this nightmare is over...

Simon said...

hi jrk...I completely agree with you. Immigrants have enriched this country, after all I am one too. And in addition to everything else they are also responsible for introducing some of the most delicious food in the world. Simon without a shawarma, or Chinese, or Indian food would be a sad Simon indeed...

Simon said...

hi anon...I normally wouldn't print a comment like that, but I think its sometimes necessary to show what kind of people you Cons are. How could you say that about those kids, when in another ten years they will be as Canadian as anybody else. And hopefully better than many. Honestly, try to be a better person, and you will be a happier one too...

Simon said...

hi JD...yes it is encouraging to see that even after the hateful years of the Con regime, most Canadians are still holding on to our precious values, of tolerance and diversity, and rejecting the foul views of people like Kellie Leitch. I was going to add that Lonely Planet story but was forced to drop it for space purposes. But it also says something about the way we are regarded, and I for one am proud of our New Canada....

Simon said...

hi Luce...I see this country as one that has our amazing First Nations as its foundations, and a building made up of bricks from all the countries in the world. Immigrants have enriched this country, and in a world full of hate we should treasure that diversity, and the tolerance that binds us together...