If you have to live on this planet, then here's the only place to be ... Canada.


Canada could be a paradise. But it has a self-inflicted problem. It's turning into a nation of whiners, led by a group of unfunny clowns. If you're Canadian, you know who they are. If you're not, you don't want to know. There's a former radio talk show host, a failed golf pro, the Christian fundamentalist former bible school teacher from Alberta, and the latest - the guy who wants to give Canada away to the provinces, so that it'll become easier for the U.S. to swallow us up.

We really haven't had any political leaders on the national scene with any level of vision or sophistication other than Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Here's a Trudeau quote that's worth keeping in mind -

"We are going to be governed whether we like it or not: it is up to us to see to it that we are governed no worse than is absolutely necessary. We must therefore concern ourselves with politics, as Pascal said, to mitigate as far as possible the damage done by the madness of our rulers."

Now, how did we come to arrive in this mess of almost "Paradise Lost"? Well, to understand the root causes, we have to go back to the beginning of European settlement in this country. (Oh, I know, to be politically correct I should start with the immigration of the "First Nations" across the Bering Straits land bridge from Siberia some 10,000-30,000 years ago. But I won't. It would take too long and it really has nothing to do with our situation today, although the descendants of these early immigrants have become expert at whining, also. But, remember what I said about political correctness on my home page?)

We need to understand why we have the national characteristics we do. Why are we so different from the other North Americans who live to the south of us? The answer to this question is at the root of everything, and it only goes back 400 years at most.

Here follows a historical note:

The story of European settlement in the Americas is above all a cautionary tale of the danger of overwheening self-righteousness born out of religious conviction.

It began 450 years ago in South America where during a period of 300 years, the Spanish and their descendants, spurred on and abetted by the Catholic Church, systematically raped, tortured, pillaged and murdered hundreds of thousands of aboriginal inhabitants, and wiped out highly sophisticated civilizations in the name of gold and god.

It continued 350 years ago in North America, in the territory now the United States. The earliest Europeans who came there were protestant religious misfits, fleeing the persecution of the established christian churches in their homelands - on the whole a joyless bunch of religious zealots, believing in an avenging god, pessimistic in the extreme, and consumed by self-righteousness and, very quickly following their arrival, a willingness to do unto others what they did not want done unto themselves.

Is it any wonder that many of their descendants should have many of these same characteristics? What else can explain the hold religious fundamentalism has on the United States at the beginning of the 21st century. (After all, what else can explain the fact that more than two-thirds of Americans literally believe in angels, the devil, everlasting hellfire?) What else can explain the self-centered, self-righteous American foreign policies? Of course, it also helps to explain much that is positive, much that has been achieved by Americans, who as individuals often are the most generous people on earth. (Nothing is ever totally black or white, after all!)

Now, if ancient and modern religious fundamentalism help explain the United States, what characterizes Canada? Well, in a way, the aboriginal people who lived in our part of the continent were more fortunate than the others. No one tried to exterminate them; not by design mind you, but by accident of location and settlement.

Yes, Canada, whether "English" or "French", was settled, not by adventurers, religious or corporate; no, we owe our passive, timid, unprepossessing, unexciting nature to the fact that we are largely the descendants of bureaucrats, and second-rate bureaucrats at that!

That's the people whom the French and the British sent in here to "civilize" a continent. That's why we have a penchant for endless and super-expensive royal commissions that lead nowhere, why we whine about our little problems, instead of celebrating our achievements, why we let ourselves be governed by little minds who can think of nothing more original than to imitate what happens "south-of-the-border".

Yes, Canada could be paradise, it has all the prerequisites, except perhaps one. It is missing a self-confident population, led by people with vision! Instead we have Stephen Harper! God help us all! On second thought, no thanks, you've done enough!

Oh yes, one more thing! Despite it all, this is the best country in the world. We may have winter, but we also have summer. We may have Stephen Harper, but we never had Hitler or Bush. We may have Alberta, but we don't have the Gobi Desert. We may have CÚline Dion, but we don't have Jerry Lewis. We may have CasinoRama, but we don't have Las Vegas! We may have Stockwell Day, but we don't have Pat Buchanan! We may have had Conrad Black, but we don't have Geraldo Rivera! We may have black flies, but we don't have alligators. We have the Rocky Mountains, we have the Royal Canadian Air Farce, we have Rick Mercer, we have unpolluted air and water (except in Toronto). And we have Sheila Copps (somewhere...)! What more do you want?

Canada Goose

O.K. - Here's something to help you recover from all of the above:
How Canada got its name:

When Sir John A. McDonald and his cronies were trying to figure out a new name for our (soon-to-be) great country, someone had a (typically Canadian) idea:

"Let's put all the letters into a hat and draw three of them.
That will be the new name of this place ..."
So they did ...
The first letter is pulled, and our hero shouts - "C" eh!?
The second letter is pulled, and our hero shouts - "N" eh!?
The third letter is pulled, and our hero shouts - "D" eh!?
O.K. - I'm sorry. Blame the guy I stole this from.
Or, blame Sir John A. McDonald. After all, he was a Tory!