Thursday, February 12, 2009

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

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.

Last Five
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


The Perfect Storm said...

As the (I hesitate to say "great", being Canadian and all) former Ontario Premier Bill Davis used to say, "Boring works."

How Canadian is that?!


Dups said...

I don't quite agree with most of the editorial... I agree that we have a better banking system but please, our solutions are not necessarily transferable to a society that is 10x larger with much less land area (USA is the same size as Canada but only because of Alaska).

There are certainly lessons to be learned for America but not sure our way of doing things will be the ultimate solution.

Interesting though...


The Perfect Storm said...


Culture plays the biggest role. Whereas, as a society we've retained attitudes and accepted certain restrictions on our "economic behaviours, Americans has gone a different route. The "wild wild west" / "don't mess with Texas" attitudes south of the border engender the kinds of abuses (regularly) and their consequences that we're seeing.

In Canada, only the far right (and I smile when I describe anyone in Canada as such) admire those kinds of attitudes. We (thankfully) are more cautious of the long-term outcomes of our actions. We aren’t as likely to run with the "damn the consequences" kind of thinking. Perhaps we equate it with running with scissors say. Someone is eventually going to get their eye put out, and then there’s going to be a Royal Commission if we’re aren’t more careful.

As for transferable, I agree. There would never be the acceptance of the kinds of "good government" that Canadians look for in the US. They have been propagandized to believe that government is only a burden (execept of course those elements of it that you can use to blow a trillion dollars out the end of a gun with).