Saturday, January 21, 2006

Canada: A Beautiful Collage

Canada Collage
originally uploaded

Confederation accomplished a rare feat: the French and English, who just an ocean away hated each other's guts, created a new country together, just through talking. I bet that talking got pretty heated at times, but no-one in Charlottetown needed to shoot one another, or create opposing armies, or assert that because we have been enemies for centuries we will never work with each other to create a Dominion.

Gilles Duceppe is wrong. Canada IS the country created by French Canadians. It is ALSO the country created by English Canadians. And the country influenced by aboriginals. And being shaped by immigrants. We are unique in the world for having done this. Separatists just want to do the same old, same old that other countries have done, going back in time instead of saying to the world, "look at us you warring factions, we are your future."

At the time of Confederation, the U.S. had just wrapped up a civil war between groups of English-origin Americans over slavery. A bloody revolution, in which the French helped the Americans defeat the British, was the womb that created the United States of America in the first place. The history of Britian is filled with dead bodies, conquerors, wars with the French, wars with each other, and terrorism. I don't believe Australia and New Zealand had a killing genesis (other than the founding people were all prisioners, and they repressed the aborigines) probably because they were all English in origin -- no clashing cultures having to learn to get along in an harsh climate. One can go around the world like that, looking at past and present burgeoning countries, and Canada stands out. In Canada, minority cultures didn't create break-off countries like Pakistan; peoples of different origins didn't shoot each other until one side prevailed. It is true that in the past, the English discriminated against the French; then too the French Catholic church kept its members under an iron thumb. But neither situation has existed for years and years; fighting past battles that are already won is for anachronistics; immigrants who come from truly racist countries look upon the separatist cause as one for those whose lives are so cushy they need to fill up hours having pseudo-intellectual discussions and agitating other bored people instead of innovating and dreaming on how to continue this unique experiment: Canada.

Stephen Harper has a view of reforming Parliament and federal-provincial relations that perpetuates unhappiness or looks to the Republic south of us instead of envisioning a greater Dominion. Responding to the jealous-sibling syndrome as if it had merit never solves the inherent bad feelings. Only recreating the mood of Confederation will do that.

Harper ought to look at us to find inspiration for evolving a united Dominion. Study the territorial legislatures to see how they've incorporated aboriginal culture in their governance. Remind people how Confederation happened and how incredible that was. Share the Spirit of the North, which completely changes your feelings towards Canada, with all Canadians who've never been north of 60. Impassion people into seeing Canada, a dynamic country that unites humans of all origins, not a nation of disaffected people, envying each other, grumblingly staying together because of inertia.

The leaders energized this election in a way we haven't seen since the 1980s. But not one leader has inspired us. Not one leader has stated his vision of Canada in the way Trudeau did (Constitution), or Pearson (our flag), or Laurier ("the 20th century belongs to Canada" and first French-Canadian Prime Minister), or even Mulroney (a confident trading nation). We need that. Canada needs that.

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

very scary:
www.harperstiestousa.org

very funny:
http://arkady.indymedia.org/media/video/StandUpnSING-lo.mov

Denis Blanchette said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Denis Blanchette said...

Canada was built by french descendant (the French), 100 years before american's loyalist (the English) arrived. Until the 1900's, Canadian refered to a french speaking person living in North America.

But this is not the reason why I want Québec to become a country. Maybe if Québec representated really 50% of Canada would it be okay to have such a country. But for now Québec only has the power over one provincial governement while english canadian has the power over 9 provincial governement and over the federal governement.

I want Québec and Canada to be able to communicate with each other country to country in a peaceful manner and still be friend. This way both Québec and Canada would benefit.

Denis Blanchette
denisblanchette@gmail.com

talk talk talk said...

"..represented really 50%"

50%? What has this got to do with participating in a country your forefathers created? Do you think the aboriginals need to comprise 50% of the population to have an effect? With far less than 50%, they have carved out a territory and continue to influence Canadian culture from architecture to the justice system. Their power continues to grow, although proportionally their numbers do not. You also assume Quebec is the only place where French Canada exists. I can see why the Acadians' view of Quebec makes the proverbial redneck Albertan look like a Quebec supplicant!

And you assume English Canada is all the same. That's pretty insulting. Have you not been paying attention to the way ALL the provinces bicker amongst themselves, or the way everyone dumps on Toronto, or how rural and urban voters differ in outlook, or how Central Canada is so different politically from the west, or BC's nickname of Lotusland, or Newfoundlanders' exporting their rich culture all over Canada? How can you not understand your own country?

Canadians don't like whiners and rationalizers; they respect people who strive to work co-operatively. Acadians fled deportation in the mid-18th century and hid from the British for years, but they have long since become an essential thread of the fabric of Canada, and they sure know it! They have no time nor use for whining and rationalizing about numbers; like the aboriginals, they don't need numbers to continue to co-create Canada alongside their English Canadian brethern. They just need determination and smarts, which they have in spades.

Rationalizers, which separatists essentially are, have a habit of living in fantasy and ignoring reality at their feet. You already have a disproportionate influence over Ottawa. But separatists ignore that and create circumlocutious arguments meant to cover up destructive intent in fine words and to create an unwinnable bogus scenario -- like the 50% condition of staying in Canada.

But if y'all manage to bring your plans to fruition, because they have been hatched outside of reality, please don't be surprised at the eruption of anger in your face. That will be reality smacking you awake. (Your plea to be friends post-separation kind of reminds me of the one who sniffs, "But why can't we stay friends?" after breaking up with their spouse who was also their best friend in order to go find themself.) No matter what the federal government seeks to do post-separation, Canadians will at that point engage in the fight you've created. The same spirit of determination, persistence, justice, and creativity that makes our armed forces respected around the globe may not be apparent now, but will emerge and fight you over possession of Ungava, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Gatineau region where King's cottage is and the Prime Minister's summer residence, all the places where federal buildings reside, even perhaps Montreal.

We still are friends. Quebec already communicates in a loving-bickering-sibling way with the other provinces and Ottawa; the same problems Quebec has with talking to the Feds, the other provinces do too. If you secede, the communication you seek, which you already have, will morph into a protracted fight over what we consider essential and historical areas of Canada. And we will not be friends.