Archive for December, 2007

A New Nation?

Check this AFP site out. It’s not Canadian, but does have potential effects and ramifications for Canada. It is also related to recent articles posted on Canadian Fermentation.

Leaders of the Lakota, found in parts of the Dakotas and Montanna and beyond, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States. They claim they are no longer citizens of the U.S. and will soon be distributing their own passports and driver’s licenses. Well known native activist, Russel Means — who also stared in the movie Last of the Mohicans — is part of the leadership who initiated the separation of the Lakota lands.

I’m surprised, in a sarcastic way, that I haven’t seen more news about this.

If anyone has anymore information or news about this, please pass it on.

(Here’s a link to the Lakota pain-relief site, just for shits and giggles)

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December 24, 2007 at 12:52 am 2 comments

Canadian Nations

Quebec is, of course, a huge issue in the politics and being of Canada.

I’ve been reading Roy MacGregor’s book Canadians. It’s a good overview of what makes Canada, Canada, and all things and people Canadian throughout the history of this land. You can’t write a book without discussing the Quebec situation, and he does so at several points throughout the book.

On page 305 he writes: “(Michael) Ignatieff was widely ridiculed for calling for Quebec to be recognized as a nation within a province within a country… It was a misstep, that, weeks later, surely contributed to his coming up short in the Liberal Party leadership race.”

Claiming nationhood for Quebec is always such a touchy subject in English Canada. But why? Let’s face it, Quebec is a distinct society, one of many, within Canada. In fact each province has evolved its own particular character and slight differences in culture, so much so that there is more difference between a person born and raised in Ontario and one raised in Nova Scotia than there is between that Ontario person and someone living in New York State. So, why not recognize provinces as nations unto themselves?

It does get tricky, though, with all the movement of people both internally within Canada, and from immigrants from other countries. Let’s look at the issue in Quebec. The failure of past rerferendums for Quebec sovereignty has been, by some, blamed on immigrants, and their fear of what life in a Nation of Quebec would be like for them. It’s hard to blame them when laws like Bill 101 are passed (language law) to keep Quebec distinct within its French culture and heritage. I wonder what Quebec Sovereigntists would think if they drove through some neighbourhoods in Toronto where all the signs are in some dialect of Chinese, or Russian or Indian, or some other language, with only minimal, or no, reference to English anywhere.

So, if Quebec is to receive identification as a Nation then other regions and people should be given the same distinction. First and foremost the First Peoples of Canada should receive it, and have more right to the identity as a nation or nations than Quebec ever will. Way to go Nanavut.

The feeling, at least from this English Canadian, is that Quebec Sovereigntists want to be superior rather than equal, whereas the goal is to recognize the difference between the different regions of Canada. Recognizing the equality of all individuals should be the prime goal of any sane society.

December 21, 2007 at 2:56 pm 4 comments

The Evolution of Democracy.

This is an interesting quote, I think quite relevant to the situation in many nations today, and quite nicely sums up democratic evolutionary process in a simple, easy to understand way.  Since I’m quite simple myself I like this kind of thing.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.

It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote

themselves largess from the public treasury.

From that moment on, the majority always votes for the

candidates promising them the most benefits from the public

treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses

over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

These nations have progressed through this sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;

from spiritual faith to great courage;

from courage to liberty;

from liberty to abundance;

from abundance to selfishness;

from selfishness to apathy;

from apathy to dependance;

from dependency back again into bondage. ”  – Dr. Alexander Tyler

December 21, 2007 at 1:04 am Leave a comment

It’s Official: Cats Run This Country!

I was out of the country, and not really paying attention, during the last federal election, so I really don’t know too much about Canada’s current Prime minister, Stephen Harper. I tend to align myself more closely with central/left political thinking, although I do have some beliefs that are right of center. Even so, I’ve never voted for a Conservative candidate as other candidates tend to have more in common with my beliefs. I’m not against voting Conservative, I just haven’t met a candidate I’m willing to support, in my riding, yet.

But nobody told me that Mr. Harper was a cat man. Aparently he and his wife – whatever her name is, like I care* – support local shelters and have even fostered cats. That is pretty damn cool. Check out the link.

Personally I hate cats**, but damn! Nice going, PM.

Editor’s Notes:

* The authour actually does care but is just too lazy to look it up.

**The authour actually doesn’t hate cats. In fact the authour has a couple of his own cats that were found wandering the streets and causing trouble when they were kittens. The authour took the cats under his wing and they are now grown, productive citizens of the household. It could be said with some accuracy that the authour actually loves cats but doesn’t want to admit it due to potential damage to his ‘manly’ image. The authour now has to go pump some iron at the gym, just so you know.

December 18, 2007 at 9:34 pm 3 comments

Why Canadian Television is more ‘Canadian’ than American Television is ‘American.’

Recently I’ve been spending time analyzing trends in Canadian television. As Canadians we are constantly exposed to, and regularly prefer, American television compared to Canadian offerings. I have to admit to that bias for myself, too. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy many Canadian productions, and there are some very good Canadian shows available. In fact today, I would argue, Canadian television is as good and perhaps better than it has ever been with shows like Corner Gas, Little Mosque on the Prairie and the Trailer Park Boys. These shows have a typical Canadian ‘softness’ about them, while also exhibiting greater edge than I can ever remember seeing from shows produced north of the border; they are very funny while remaining relatively unoffensive.

 

There have also been several Canadian productions, usually with limited runs, that are similar in some way to American television shows, and yet are distinctly Canadian. In fact I will be so bold to say that the Canadian representatives of said shows are much more Canadian than the American shows are American, thereby fully immersing themselves as bastions of true Canadiana. These shows, it could be argued, are the epitome of Canadianism.

 

Here’s a list of some of these shows that have recently run on Canadian television:

 

Canadian Idol vs. American Idol

 

Canadian Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader vs. Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader

 

Canadian Deal or No Deal vs. Deal or No Deal

 

As you can see all the Canadian programs have the word ‘Canadian’ in the title, while only one of the American programs has the word ‘American’. This reflects on the value of patriotism that viewers in each country feels. Canadians, it is quite obvious, are much more ‘Canadian’ than Americans are ‘American’. Our pride is greater, therefor we as a people are greater.

 

So, take pride my fellow Canadians for with continued programming such as these fine examples of Cultural Significance Canadian Television will soon be a dominating force on the home front, capturing the attention of most, if not all, of Canadian viewership. This can only build momentum, and with that kind of momentum can domination of the American market be soon behind? Obviously the answer is yes.

December 18, 2007 at 3:37 am Leave a comment

Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is a key component of Canada. It is, arguably, one of the most defining things about our modern society, especially where the big urban areas are concerned. There are both strengths and challenges to contend with when so many cultures live in such close quarters.

 

On the positive side living in a multicultural society enables people to experience the wonderful variety of life styles and culinary delights that the world has to offer. You can, in a sense, immerse yourself in a different part of the world by making a fifteen-minute trip to a different part of the city.

 

On the negative side situations like this can bring up some tough questions. Yesterday, in Toronto, a young woman, a teenager actually, was killed by her father because, according to the media, she resisted wearing more traditional middle-eastern dress. Obviously killing someone over any situation, let alone how a person chooses to dress themselves, is horrible and should never occur in a sane society, but this situation does bring up some interesting questions regarding multiculturalism in our society.

 

Basically, there was a cultural difference within the family structure of this first-generation Canadian family. The father wanted his children – if I remember correctly it was reported that he had seven children – to dress in more ethnically traditional clothing. The youngest daughter, Aqsa Parvez, wished to dress the way a ‘typical’ Toronto teen dresses.

 

The father wished to retain his families cultural heritage.

 

The daughter wanted to ‘assimilate’ into the local culture.

 

Who, if anyone, was right?

 

Let’s put it frankly: Should immigrants make every attempt to embrace the culture of their new country, or should the strive to maintain attributes of their traditional culture? Is there a middle ground? If you were to move to a foreign country, would you strive to immerse yourself in that new culture? What of your original culture would you be willing to give up? What elements of your old culture would you defend and never give up on no matter what the external pressure you felt from your new countrymen?

 

Is it the fear of the unknown that drives us apart, or the excitement of learning something new that brings us together?

December 13, 2007 at 1:04 am Leave a comment

Can Beer Make You Feel More Canadian?

Beer is an item that Canadians hold dear to their hearts. Most Canadians believe that Canadian beer is better than American beer. Although in a corporate sense this is true, there are regions in the U.S.A that that make some amazing local brews; check out the beer of the North West (Oregon, Washington, and Colorado) if you ever have the chance. Beer, ultimately, is something that Canadians use as an attribute to define what being Canadian is.

 

That being so, I decided to conduct an experiment, in the name of both science and being Canadian.

 

I acquired a six-pack of Molson Canadian, and by drinking it, I wanted to see if I felt more Canadian. Here’s a beer by beer summary of my findings.

 

Beer 1 : Due to some previous experience with beer, I didn’t expect much after Beer 1. My expectations were met. I’m not a big fan of Molson Canadian in the first place, it’s an OK lager, but I’m not a big fan of lager in the first place. I wasn’t feeling very much more Canadian after my first beer. I wasn’t feeling any less Canadian either, though, so all in all the first beer has to be considered a success.

 

Beer 2: Beer 2 proved to be just as bland as beer 1. On the other hand I did start to feel…something. A slight thrill? A movement towards joy? A full bladder? All of the above, actually. Beer 2 was a good step, and I felt I was on the path towards feeling something, whether or not it was a feeling of being more Canadian was yet to be determined. On to beer 3.

 

Beer 3: Beer 3 was pretty kick-ass. Not only was I able to drink another beer, but Frosty the Snowman was also on T.V. That’s what I call ‘win-win’ — the best part was when the policeman swallowed the whistle. Also, in ‘Frosty’ there is a reference to Saskatoon. How cool and particularly relevant is that? After beer 3 did I feel more Canadian? I think so. My head was feeling a little lighter, and I started to care a little less about what people thought about me. No, wait, that sounds like I’m a little less Canadian. Crap. Never mind, let’s see what happens after Beer 4.

 

Beer 4: Before I realized it Beer 4 was gone. What the hell happened? Where did it go? Well, I know where it went, into my belly. And then my blood stream. But another great surprise was that Team America World Police was on TV, a movie I’ve been wanting to see for awhile. Sweet. So, do I feel more Canadian after drinking 4 Molson Canadians? Maybe slightly. I’m feeling a little more euphoric and quite proud, since Team America makes fun of American bravado and since according to some being Canadian means that you are NOT American. So maybe I should ask myself do I feel less American? Do I? Do I feel lucky, punk? Sure, what the hell.

 

Beer. 4.5: ‘Malignant narcissicm. hahahah.

 

Beer 5: The whole experience was great….until I saw the vomiting scene in Team America. Damn. Way to kill my buzz….

 

Beer 6: My bladder is full and I need to go pee but I’m still watching Team America. How long can I hold it for?? Wait, wait, pull it together. OK OK, let’s get focused and relevant. Does drinking Molson Canadian make me feel more Canadian? After six beers, I’ll have to say no, my bladder is full and that’s all I can think about. So, no. I’m not more Canadian. Unless having a full bladder makes you more Canadian, and I haven’t seen anyone claim that before.

 

All in all I consider this experiment to be a success. It took considerable toll on my body, but for the sake of science it was worth it. I have to conclude that drinking Molson Canadian does not make me feel more Canadian, and since this is the most Canadian of beers — sort of since Molson is now really known as Molson Coors, an American company — I’ll have to say that no matter how proud a Canadian is of his or her ability to drink a lot of Canadian beer that it does not make one feel more Canadian.

 

Recommendations for future research: Imbibing a 12 pack of Molson Canadian. Imbibing a different brand of beer. Try a different form of alcohol, Canadian whiskey is recommended.

December 10, 2007 at 2:11 pm 9 comments

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