O Canada


RewindOne year ago today I wrote an entry about Canada bashing I entitled "O Canada". Since it's election season and many have lost site of what this nation is all about, I'm pressing rewind and reprinting what I wrote on June 21, 2003 below. I still believe every word.

Canada bashing has become a popular sport of late. With no defense to speak of and an unwillingness to follow our giant neighbours to the south on their way into Iraq, we've been labeled as traitors and worse.

As I see it, we were right. Sure our Prime Minister comes across as an arrogant buffoon at times, but he wanted to see "da proof" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and he wasn't buying what Powell was selling. "Da proof" wasn't there. It turns out Chretien was right. If Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, rest assured they'd have been discovered by now. Canada's conscious is clear.

Furthermore, the wheels are in motion to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The US doesn't like it, but we don't care. Smoking a little weed won't get you a criminal record and this is a good, sensible thing. Canada progresses and leaves America in it's smoke trails.

Finally, Chretien said last week that he wouldn't challenge the ruling from Ontario's Supreme Court that same-sex marriages were legal. Here, here. Homosexuality is not a crime. It's time a gay person is granted the same rights as a straight person. Canada becomes the third nation in the world to allow same-sex marriages and I've never been so proud.

2003 is almost half over and in my opinion it's been a landmark year for Canadian independence and pride. In a previous blog entry on Victoria Day, I mentioned it's time we stop acting like Britain's bitch. Well, from what this Canadian sees, we're no longer going to be America's bitch either.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. With what, we're not sure, but if I want to marry a dude and smoke a fatty to celebrate, it's all good.

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D-Day: Sixty Years Later

D-DayToday we pay tribute to the 150,000 Allied troops who took part in the biggest military invasion in history, the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

The story of the Canadians is particularly touching. At the time of the war, Canada was a nation of only 11 million people with more than a million of its citizens in uniform. While the United States had the most D-Day casualties, Canadian forces suffered the highest percentage of losses. Roaring off of Juno Beach, Canadians made the deepest Allied penetration June 6, 1944.

We can never forget that efforts such as this is why we have such freedoms and opportunities in Canada today. I am so thankful it's impossible to accurately convey my gratitude.

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E-GovernmentWhen it comes to executing E-government initiatives, we're #1!. For the fourth straight year, Canada topped the annual list issued this week by the management consultant and IT outsourcer Accenture of most mature international E-government offering.

Canada does something that U.S. federal, state, and local officials can easily emulate. Most notably: ask citizens what E-services they want. Unlike many countries, Canada's E-government action plan is built on a foundation of facts based on known information from its customer base. How does the government know what its citizens want? It asks them. Canada regularly surveys citizens and businesses about their attitudes and needs--more so than any other country. The federal, nine provincial and territorial, and five municipal governments--through the Institute for Citizen-Centered Services--recently sponsored a study querying 9,000 Canadians about E-government, using online surveys, usability interviews, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews. "The idea is to reach out to customers and to proactively see what they want," says Steve Rohleder, Accenture's group chief executive for government.

Canada also actively markets its E-government services. It advertises on TV and radio, ad in airline magazines and newspapers to get citizens to use its portal, canada.gc.ca.

Top of the World, Ma!

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Walter's Vault

The VaultEvery so often I delve into the vault to see what's there. Perhaps it's an autograph, photo or T-ball crest. Today, a friend of mine let me read a publication from his vault. This publication is called "The Salute: The Canadian Militia Journal" and this issue is dated November 1938.

Reading the articles in this publication is fascinating. Remember, we're talking 1938...just prior to the start of World War II. I scanned a page so you can read for yourself. "There are many in Canada talking and criticizing the actions of Mr. Chamberlain and his Munich agreement when they have, by Canada's lack of action during the crisis, not earned that right".

The advertisements from this almost 70 year old magazine are also rather entertaining. I couldn't resist sharing this old Molson ad and this one for scotch which suggests we should fight if for no other reason than to ensure we always have access to good booze. How Canadian of us.

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A Real Hoser

HoserI'm a hoser, eh! SCTV gave us Bob and Doug McKenzie and The Great White North. Hosers were liberated once and for all. I've never felt so free thanks to these trail blazers.

As a true hoser, I never leave home without my hoser ID tucked away safely in my wallet. You never know when you're going to have to prove you're a real hoser.

If you're a real hoser but haven't yet been certified as such, apply for your ID card here.

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Declining Birth Rates

Declining Birth RatesCanada's birth rate has been declining steadily for years now. Statistics Canada says the fertility rate is now less than 1.5 children per woman aged 15 to 49. That number was about 4 in 1960.

There are many theories as to why we're having less children now than ever, but the most obvious theory is continuously overlooked. When I reveal this reason, you'll find it most obvious, but you won't read about it in the Statistics Canada reports or in the mainstream media. We're producing less children because of the television remote control.

Back in the day, people had to get up out of their seat to manually change the channel on the television itself. If they wanted to lower the volume, change the channel or even turn the tv off or on, they couldn't to this without a visit to the boob tube. Believe it or not, this is 100% true. There was no remote control. As a result, people had children to accomplish this task for them. If you wanted the channel changed, you could order little Billy or Sally to do it while you sat comfortably in your chair. People had more than one child to better the odds of one of them being around to do this. Children were a parent's remote control.

Today, with a converter readily available, children are become obsolete. As a result, we're producing less and less of them. Statistics Canada are really missing the boat on this one. I think it's rather obvious.

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Statistics Canada

StatsCanWhat would we do without Statistics Canada? They just completed a study into what is stressing Canadians. 10,151 people participated in this study for six years and the results are mind blowing.

The common stressors are:

  • doing too many things at once
  • not having enough money
  • marital problems
  • concerns about children

Six years and how many dollars to learn that time pressure is the most common cause of stress amongst Canadians. I would have told Statistics Canada that in 30 seconds for $5 even. Hell, I'd have done it for a loonie.

I never have enough time to do everything I need to do. There's work, a home and car to maintain, a toddler to raise and several hours of sports and "The Simpsons" on the television. It ain't easy finding time, but somehow I manage.

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Blame Canada

Blame CanadaOn December 23rd, agriculture officials announced the latest mad cow diagnosis in Washington State, marking the first time the disease has been found in the United States. This shocking development was followed four days later by the announcement the infected Holstein was born in Canada. Blame Canada for America's mad cow scare.

Back on August 14th, many of us were hit by the worst black out in North American history. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor George Pataki were quick to claim the blackout originated here in Ontario. The facts would later prove a failure to contain problems with three transmission lines in northern Ohio was the likely trigger. Still, the initial reaction was to blame Canada for America's worst black out ever.

Even after 9/11, erroneous reports fueled popular belief among Americans that several of the terrorists entered their country from Canada. The portrayal of Canada as a sort of refuge for terrorist cells was commonplace in the American media. As printed in the Washington Times back in January 2003, "Over the last two weeks, front page reports have trumpeted the claim of "Five Terrorists Heading to the US From Canada," and several self-appointed experts and analysts have stated or implied that Canada is the "Achilles heel" of US homeland security. Yet last Tuesday, the FBI announced that the account of the five entering the United States was fabricated and withdrew the photos of the five from its website." The worst terrorist action in American history and some felt it fitting to blame Canada.

It seems that many of America's recent crises, from the extreme with 9/11 to the annoying blackout and the economically devastating disaster that is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, are initially blamed on Canada. It's as if our geographic locale directly above Uncle Sam makes us a natural target for such reflex actions. They always blame Canada first.

It seems that everythings gone wrong,
Since Canada came along.
Blame Canada,
Blame Canada.

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Supreme Court Ruling

Decriminalizing PotThe Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that Parliament has the constitutional right to criminalize marijuana possession. Of course, decriminalizing small amounts of pot is well within the rights of Parliament as well.

Prime Minister Paul Martin says he will reintroduce a bill proposed by Jean Chretien that would wipe out criminal penalties for those caught with small amounts of marijuana. The proposed bill will make possession of less than 15 grams of pot a minor offence punishable by fines of $100 to $400.

I don't indulge in the habit of marijuana smoking, but I believe we should decriminalize it. They estimate about 100,000 Canadians use the drug daily, but I suspect the true number is "high"er. It's a victimless act and typically the worst result is a case of bronchitis, unless the user is pregnant or schizophrenic. Somebody carrying around a criminal record because they got caught with a joint is wrong. As Mr. Justice Ian Binnie said today, "It is open to Parliament to decriminalize or otherwise modify any aspect of the marijuana laws that it no longer considers to be good public policy." Mr. Martin, the ball is in your court.

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John A. Macdonald Action Figure

J.A.M. Action FigureIt's about time. For years I've wondered why there was no John A. Macdonald action figure, and now there is. It's the dream of every child to have a John A. Macdonald action figure of their very own, isn't it?

Canadian Legends is offering this figure to help us start learning about our Canadian Legends. "Every Action Figure comes with its own 20 Page Bilingual Book telling that figure's story in full colour!".

I can't wait for the release of the wacky William Lyon Mackenzie King action figure and the animated John Diefenbaker figure. Collect them all!

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