Maybe we're not very important. Maybe that's okay.
Good fun. Nations behave like people. There are the bullies, the cool kids, the jocks and cheerleaders, and the rest of us schlubs. When people try to be who they're not, or live in constant worry about how they're seen, happiness is impossible. The most important thing is to feel comfortable in your own skin: to achieve to the best of your abilities and not worry if you're "as good as" or "better than" anyone else, whatever that means. The same is true of countries.
I agree we’re not important. But dammit, I refuse to accept your defeatism. That’s our problem. Where’s our fire our passion, to get aggressive. To accept that we are a virtuous people and the world needs more Canada. I wore the flag on my shoulder for 15 years and I saw how much we were needed and respected across the planet.
Demand more. We don’t shy away from a fight and this is what this is.
Absolutely love this line: "Canada is alarmingly little more than a two-bit Instagram influencer with a closet full of free designer clothes but no ability to pay the gas bill." Under this PM, describes us to a T. But to me it's not OK. Canada can BE more. It just takes leadership with a clear set of principles and the vision and determination to get it done, neither of which exists in our current buffoon in Ottawa.
Appreciate your comments hopefully we can do better but not with our current "leadership" team.
As Canadians, we've kind of won the jackpot. We live in a great country, enjoy "peace, order and good (ok, decent) government". It's nice to just enjoy it all. We are a country, after all, of immigrants -- people who didn't have what we enjoy and often went through a lot to get here. So, its not surprising that once they got here, maybe they didn't want to take over the world, but enjoy where they had landed.
We're a middle power. We could get better at being a middle power -- of understanding what we can (and can't) do. We could coordinate better with other middle powers to accomplished shared goals. But, Toronto isn't New York or London; Vancouver isn't LA. And, that's ok -- they're great a what they actually are.
Lorne Michaels, the Canadian who created Saturday Night Live, once talked about that, in Canada, we're always going on about a restaurant or theatre that's better than what they have in New York and that in New York -- they don't bother camparing themselves to anywhere else.
In constantly pursuing (or deluding ourselves that we're) something that we're not, we miss out on enjoying and maximizing what we are (and can be). Maybe instead of being "not the US" or, even worse, "as good as the US" we could aspire to be the best Canada!
You are so right! Couldn't have put it better, but we're nice and try to make everybody happy, and that's okay. As you say, our PM is like one of those donuts - looks nice but full of empty calories and will make you sick if you have enough of them.
as a gen-x guy, for me the moment that got me was all the BS around the space shuttle canadarm and that was way back in the 80s. The way the CBC would talk about it as if without our contribution, there would be no space shuttle was really embarrassing. Yeah, it was good tech and the whole thing was exciting, but seriously. And its not just JT. I remember Harper saying something grandiose to Putin about getting out of (Georgia maybe?) at some G-20 or G-8 meeting and Putin looking at him with a "you are a nobody, what are you talking about?"....
Its easy to point to our problem as a failure of political leadership because that is glaringly true. But it is more than that. We've lost our moral compass. We accept ethics violations as business as usual. There seems to be no shame in failing to do our jobs with competence. How is Sajjan wasn't forced to resign if the face of so much failure? We expect and accept corporate greed and reward those businesses with more economic and political power. Why didn't a Weston end up in jail when the when Loblaws was proved to be price fixing? Our media doesn't provide facts in a balanced way that allow us to make our own decisions but deliver narratives. As a result we have to go looking and usually find a morass of disinformation or fall into the trap of living personal echo chambers. And then we have the churches who have had sex scandals and the whole residential school disaster with the hierarchical coverups.
So leadership failures have led us to have no faith in our government, media, business or religious pillars and because we've accepted that, we really are hosers.
Thanks Laura. I have no desire for Canada to be one of the 'top' few countries in the world, and to our credit we are part of the G7. I do think our political leadership is disappointing, and I can hardly wait for JT to leave to take that cushy international job he dreams of.
But we're also now living in a very complex world, and I know I have never had the skills or fortitude to take on a high profile stressful position, so I don't think I can complain too much about who we are stuck with.
But I do wish Canada was far more proactive in a number of things such as a) having our own vaccine production b) making faster progress towards Green Energy if that is where our " real leader " Grim Greta says we have to go to (I say this as a fan of oil and gas , and as the Russia/Ukraine situation has shown we've been in too much of a hurry to turn off these taps.) c) more affordable housing d) government funded pharmacare/dental plans, etc. etc. Except for natural resources most of us don't know enough about other areas we do genuinely stand out for.
Re leadership - I worked in IT for over 40 years with a growing number of skilled intelligent hard working immigrants from all over the world. Those of us who were born in Canada didn't have the drive to reach for the top positions, but the immigrants did and good for them.
So as each of us post our comments in this wonderful forum, I think we should each ask ourselves what do we as an individual do to make Canada a better place. Voting once every few years doesn't cut it IMO.
President Zelensky of Ukraine has shown the entire world that a Russian speaking Jew who studied law, and was an actor and comedian, can impress the entire world with his strong leadership in a time of a life or death situation. He is currently the most impressive leader in the world. IMO he's made other leaders look like amateurs. We need more Zelensky's.
So who wants to help develop a few more Zelensky's here in Canada? Mentor someone, be a buddy for a younger boy or girl, show them they can fly if that's what they want.
I think the writer doesn't understand the difference between `inferiority' and `modesty'. The latter is out of fashion at the moment and maybe it's hard to spot the difference when one lives next door to self-congratulators for whom that practice is seen as a patriotic gesture.
Canadians are not inferior to anyone. We are modest, though, and that's moreorless baked into our culture. Bob and Doug are a couple of guys whose lives are modest to the extreme, which is what comedy is all about, ie taking things to the extreme. Seeing them as anything other than a sketch comedy about `a couple of guys of a certain age', which many chaps who subscribe to this site would quite possibly have been themselves at one time, is a stretch.
It's troubling that so many young people, like the writer, are only too interested in tearing their country down. If the reason is that their lives do not resemble those they see in the media, then that's sad but then, hardly anyone's does so we live with it.
Sorry, but I absolutely reject the premise of this piece. We don't have to be a superpower, but we can punch above our weight because we've done so in the past.
A brief reminder: we built and manned hundreds ships that kept the sea-lanes open in WW2, one of the five divisions that landed on D-Day was Canadian, we regularly ( on average, 2 years per decade) rotated as members of the UN Security Council, we sent peacekeepers all over the world, we sent thousands of troops with tanks and air support to Europe to deter Soviet aggression not just for months or years but for DECADES! A country whose Prime Minister could reach out to other leaders for better reasons than to make an Instagram post. And, above all, a country that has provided a haven to millions who have left their homes in search of a better life, one they thought they could find here in Canada.
And yes, we can be self-deprecating (or modest) and smile at countries that wave their flags all around the world while their population struggles to find their own country on a globe. But I think we've taken it too far and have forgotten what we were and what we could (and should) be. Canada deserves to be known for something other than sending one of the largest delegations to Climate conferences. And sitting back and saying we're hosers who are "not very important" and we should embrace mediocrity insults the Canadians, past and present, who have lived their lives to demonstrate the opposite.
PS - I was going to post this when I saw Neilster and others make the same points about what Canada has achieved in the past. I thought about deleting this, but decided to let it stand, because some things cannot be said too often.
I think a little perspective is in order here. For one thing, our current Influencer-in-Chief is merely the latest in a long line of prime ministers, both Liberal and (Progressive) Conservative, who have neglected the military.
Things being how they are, I’m willing to bet that JT is going to step up by starting to pay our fair share into NATO, and increasing our military presence in the North. Feckless he may be, but even he must surely understand that we’re facing a real and serious threat. Not just to the world order, but to our own sovereignty.
Let’s also not forget that once upon a time we punched above our weight on the world stage. We certainly did our part in both World Wars – by the end of the last one, we had the fourth-largest navy in the world. We were also a driving force behind the creation of NATO, and for a while there we played a big peacekeeping role in some pretty dangerous places.
True, it has been way too long since we’ve done our share. But the world has become a lot more dangerous all of a sudden, and even JT can read the writing on the wall. I think we’ll be stepping up again. We really don’t have much choice.
Ok, I know it's school break time and The Line has put down its normal tools for 10 days or so. I can live with that and endure the withdrawal symptoms.
This cute piece, however, just denigrates Canada and draws acidic "designer clothes", "buffoon in Ottawa", "leadership with [no] clear set of principles", "full of empty calories" type comments.
I look forward to the return of dispatches that deal with substance, you know, the fact that the globe is in crisis because of an out-of-control despot and the fact that this week there has been a sudden sea change in Canadian politics.
There are bullies. And there are those that stand by and watch the bullies beat up others. We did not do that in the 20th Century. Looks like we intend to do that now and as long as current Govt is in power. But that’s ok. Cuz we’re hosers. Right?
Thanks for the laughs. (I heard David Frum do what can only be described as his Bob McKenzie imitation just the other day. It was weird. I thought maybe he'd been drinking.)
Nice to read a realistic view of ourselves. Especially based on the Mackenzie bothers. Those two and Red Green gave us a way of laughing at ourselves that was refreshing. We are a middle power and should realize our limitations globally. The less people know we are here the more relaxed we will be and in a more realistic position to help others.