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Monday, April 03, 2006

 

O Canada.

I have a great affection for Canada, especially BC. The place feels like a nicer version of the UK with well kept public spaces, a real sense of civic pride and a service ethos that makes you realise how dreadful the average High Street shopping experience on this side of the Atlantic is. If the option ever presented itself I'm not sure that the many delights of Holywood would trump Vancouver.

Anyhow, I came across this in the Vancouver Sun. If Afganistan is the forgotten front in the "war on terror" then the Canadians are the overlooked combatants. Did any UK readers know that Canadians were in action in Afganistan and that
"Canada's most significant battle in 32 years"
had just taken place? No small boast for the nation that took Vimy Ridge.

There was a time when the British media would have highlighted this sort of news from a Commonwealth country. That, sadly, no longer seems the case. In terms of overseas interest the visit of the US Secretary of State, the fragrant Ms Rice, monopolised the column inches. I'm all for the Special Relationship, but let's not forget who our real friends are. Spare a thought then for Pte. Costall and his comrades in 1st Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

Comments:
It's a bit unfair to blame the UK media for not covering this, the Canadian media itself has been quite reticent. Canada today is not the Canada of old so fondly remembered by Ulster people. No longer do a hundred thousand Orangemen walk through Toronto on the Twelfth, the Queen is no longer revered and the stout, hardy men of the RCMP and Juno beach are no longer the role models for Canadian youth.

Instead Canada has, since the time of Troudeau and due to the dominance of East coast Quebec liberals in the establishment, been reinventing itself as the multi-culti, self hating, touchy feely capital of political correctness in the Western Hemishere. Today Canada looks at any international issue and asks itself "Is Bush for it?" if the answer is yes then the Canucks say "We're agin it". Something similar is happening vis a vis NZ and Australia.

It's funny how the two formerly staunchly loyal dominions are turning out to be the wettest and squishiest while fenian loving Australia and the US are the big tough guys now on the world stage!
 
Is the new, PC Canada a device to keep Qubec within the federation or does it actually reflect what Canadians themselves now feel? Are there any tensions between the Provinces over this?
 
I'm not Canadian myself but I receive most of my information on that country from the excellent Mark Steyn who is himself Canadian, though based in the US. He writes weekly columns in the Western Standard and in Macleans. I advise you to check out his website www.steynonline.com, he is a bit too strong for many people's tastes (ie the sort of people who think the BBC, RTE, the Guardian, the Irish Times etc provide a fair, balanced and moderate source of information on world affairs) but he is an excellent analyst and a very funny writer.

As I understand it the "rebranding" of Canada has been going on since the 60's when they did away with the old Red Ensign flag and replaced it with the Maple Leaf design which Steyn refers to as a "logo" not a national flag.

It seems that the liberals from the East and Quebec have formed common cause and basically have taken over the media, civil service, education and judiciary and are now the new establishment (a bit like the UK really). They resent the US deeply and thus adopt a kneejerk antipathy to anything they do.

However Stephen Harper the leader of the conservatives is now prime minister after securing a minority win in the recent election. After years of Liberal Party corruption and cronyism the Tories were still unable to gain an overall majority such is the present ingrained nature of liberal thought in Canada, he is regarded very much as an outsider coming from the western provinces and deeply mistrusted by the Eastern elites. It should be pointed out that economically the west is the powerhouse of Canada whilst the East is mired in public service induced torpor. Some feel that if Quebec ever gained independence (something that Steyn derides, he feels that if Quebec was really serious about independence they would have achieved it forty years ago) then states like Alberta would simply apply to join the US as they would feel much more at home there than in modern Canada.

Mark Steyn describes Harper as a Tory in the mould of John Howard of Australia; comfortable with himself and not ashamed of his ideologies something which Steyn despairs of in the "new" touchy feely British Tory leadership.

Like I said check out Steyn's website it is very illuminating about our Canuck cousins.
 
"Some feel that if Quebec ever gained independence then states like Alberta would simply apply to join the US as they would feel much more at home there than in modern Canada."

Surely Quebec's seccession would leave provinces like Alberta with more influence in Canada :/


"Is the new, PC Canada a device to keep Qubec within the federation"

Quebec and Ontario are quite liberal - they also contain the bulk of the population and that's not considering the atlantic provinces.
 
By the way I'd be tempted to just kick Quebec out for the continuous ballocks and MOPEy self-important bullshit eminating from there, the only problem is a geographical one - Canada would effectively be cut in two.

Oh and Miko I have to say I found the Western Canada Independence movement quite interesting!
 
Qubecois separatism, Australian republicanism, Irish "unity". Unresolved issues from the end of empire?
 
the comment on a "liberal dominated" political scene in Canada is interesting, one could comment on this being the case in many countries, is there a sound sociological reason for this?, (such as) is their tangible ethnic differences in Canadinan political bodies ? (*frenchies to the left. march.*)that the difference in political mobility could be ascribed to ethnic educational differences ?
or could it be that the right wing is just totally unpopular with the offspring of generation x ? and the dregs of the old order are simply floundering in intellectual recession whilst a modern (and degraded i would say , by imperial standars) intelligista sell their heritage in a lust for "ideas of the very latest fashion" ? damn frenchies........
 
curious

perhaps the Canadian malaise is caused by an Anglophone fear that if Qubec were to secede the entire federation would disolve. Appease the French by a healthy dose of Anglo self loathing and "continental" (in a Euro sense) governance to keep them on side - regardless of the consequences.
 
I dont think canadains would have a problem with Quebec leaving, as long as the leave behind thier land :-P
 
"It's funny how the two formerly staunchly loyal dominions are turning out to be the wettest and squishiest while fenian loving Australia and the US are the big tough guys now on the world stage!"
"or could it be that the right wing is just totally unpopular with the offspring of generation x ? and the dregs of the old order are simply floundering in intellectual recession whilst a modern (and degraded i would say , by imperial standars) intelligista sell their heritage in a lust for "ideas of the very latest fashion" ?"

As a guy who moved from Northern Ireland when he was ten, to Ontario Canada, I can definately relate to these points. Canadians are maybe the most culturally apathetic people in the world, at least that I have encountered. Look to the south and you will see some real patriotism. Of course I can only speak for Ontario and here people don't give a damn about the Quebec situation if they go or stay. Out west is much more hard- nose. Its a loose federation to say the least. Apart from a handful of hockey players and the aging Don Cherry, "touchy-feely" seems to be the word on the street. I'm planning another trip back to Belfast. NO SURRENDER!!
 
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