Canadians tends to be, well, a touch cannibalistic. It's hard for us to acknowledge that the country, as a whole, is a pretty good place as we get caught up in our internal melodramas. And there is plenty of melodrama to go around. Whatever is happening with Quebec at the moment; Danny Williams stomping his feet in Newfoundland; Dalton McGuinty grumbling about no one respecting Ontario, and so on and so forth.
And even when there's nice things said about Canada, it tends to be government related propaganda that's never really sat comfortably with most of us. It feels like we're beging buttered up and we wonder what they're really up to.
No, what Canadians crave is outside approval. Every country is probably guilty of this, but Canadians probably a touch more than normal. Which is why when I read this article in Newsweek I actually felt a bit better about things. Oh yes, there are many challenges the country has to face in the months and years to come. However, when Fareed Zakaria explains how Canada is doing compared to the rest of the world, well, I look at things with less doom and gloom. (Oh, and I love his reference to the winner of a best boring headline contest. The winner? "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative")
This isn't to get into an argument over which government put us in the position to weather this storm better than many of our neighbour, by the way (so it's best not to read the comments section of his story). I really don't care much who gets the credit. I'm just glad that whatever forces that have shaped our history over the past decades has put us in a position to handle this crisis better than nearly anybody else.
We're not out of the woods and I don't think the bottom has been reached yet. I'm even cynically wondering if we've spotted the bottom yet. This is not the time to relent and sit back and think things are going to be ok. Hard work and creativity is going to be needed.
However, it's nice not just for an intelligent and respected outsider to point and say "These guys are doing something seriously right over here", but it probably also does ourselves a world of good to stop hyperventilating for a moment and realize that while things aren't great, we're doing a lot better than we think.
1. I know you - Sloan
2. The coo coo bird - The Be Good Tanyas
3. Number 1 - Goldfrapp
4. Lord, I'm discouraged - The Hold Steady*
5. Dreams - Fleetwood Mac