July 2, 2005


Canada Day? Bah, Humbug!: Why Celebrate? We're in Serious Trouble (MICHAEL COREN, 7/02/05, TORONTO SUN)

ON CANADA Day weekend I am supposed to behave like a good Canadian columnist. To say how wonderful this country is and how great and grand it is to be Canadian.

Sorry, not going to do it. I love Canadians, I love what this country has done for me, but I cannot serve it well if I play the game of adulation. Simply put, we're in big trouble.

The notion that this is the greatest country on Earth and that our cities are "world class" is, frankly, quite ludicrous. We have little history, few passable museums, mediocre galleries and minimal national pride. Our cities are mediocre at best and pale into insignificance compared to genuinely world-class centres like New York, Paris, London or Rome.

We do have natural beauty, but our summers are now clouded, in all senses, by smog warnings and endless housing developments are darkening the light of what was rural splendour.

We used to be a safe country. Not now. Gunplay is increasing at an extraordinary rate and, if we are to believe many street cops, at a much faster pace than we are told by various politicians and police chiefs. Some of our inner cities are becoming virtual no-go areas and the culture no longer has the courage to fight back.

Contrary to what you might be told, we are not particularly respected internationally. It is true that nobody hates us, but the reason for this is not affection but indifference. We are found amusing rather than admirable, a huge and empty country where lumberjacks and Mounties play in the snow.

We thump our chest and say we are revered abroad as keepers and makers of peace. Not at all. Our recent battle honours are Somalia and Rwanda. Hang your heads in shame.

There is no such thing as hockey. Jim Carrey's an American now. The Expos left and immediately became champs. And Due South was cancelled.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 2, 2005 12:00 AM


Posted by: ghostcat at July 2, 2005 2:45 PM

But they still have Red Green. They have already adopted the lodge motto: "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati" (When all else fails, play dead), and The Man's Prayer is the perfect expression of modern liberal (non)theology.

Posted by: jd watson at July 2, 2005 3:06 PM

Well, it's Canada Day and I guess I have to do my part.

This is just stupid. Coren (who was front and center in the anti-gay marriage campaign and may therefore still be licking some big wounds)can be a lot better than this, but he obviously needs a holiday. This is a conservative critique?

Endless housing developments spoiling Michael's rural Arcadia? Maybe it's because the economy has been booming for years and a growing population of determined native and immigrant families are doing whatever it takes to buy houses. Dangerous cities? Parts of Vancouver and Toronto, but nowhere else. World class cities with museums 'n stuff? Oh, yes, that is the true test of social health and resilience.

Canada has problems, starting with a sclerotic dictatorship of the Boomers, but describing it as a deteriorating, decrepit hellhole is just silly.

A hockey settlement is expected this week, Mark Steyn is still ours, public finances are in great shape and our immigrants keep us well-supplied with wealth and talent. There's life in the old girl yet.

Posted by: Peter B at July 2, 2005 7:11 PM


I can walk to Mark Steyn's house from here. There's room in town for you & yours--get out before it's too late.

Posted by: oj at July 2, 2005 7:14 PM

There are Canadians who will say that Canada is the greatest nation on Earth? That seems so ... unCanadian.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 2, 2005 7:54 PM

Somebody stole all my Due South DVDs. Is this a good or a bad sign for Canada?

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at July 2, 2005 11:02 PM

Can you imagine the proceedings of UCAC, the Commons UnCanadian Activities Committee?

Posted by: David Cohen at July 3, 2005 12:22 AM

There would never be a UCAC, as everyone in Canada respects each other's ways (or so I've heard). Nothing can be un-Canadian, because Canada can be all things to all people all the time(unlike the USA where a small ultra-right, intolerant, closed minded, heartless group of devils has hijacked the society).

Posted by: Dave W. at July 3, 2005 1:06 AM

"Mr. Burnet, do you know hold or have you ever held an opinion that deviates from the bland norm of Canadianism?"

Posted by: oj at July 3, 2005 1:11 AM

"Mr. Chairman, I would like to defer that question to my mediator."

Posted by: Peter B at July 3, 2005 5:23 AM

So sad: they have a problem with gun violence. Obviously, they need toughter gun laws. Har, har, har.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 3, 2005 6:13 AM

Once Quebec secedes it's raison d'etre disappears. What do they say? We're America with high taxes. We're America without the palm trees? If you want to live in New Jersey but pay twice the taxes, Toronto is just a plane flight away?

Posted by: bart at July 3, 2005 8:56 AM


Why? We've survived pretty well for a hundred and forty years without a raison d'etre. Frankly, the world could do with fewer, not more, national raisons d'etre.

Posted by: Peter B at July 3, 2005 9:47 AM

Bart: They'll still have socialized medicine, voted the greatest Canadian achievement of all time.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 3, 2005 12:03 PM

The bilingual nation is your raison d'etre. Without it, you have nothing. You're America with higher taxes, more regulations, an even more whiny urban left, gay marriage, and permafrost.

A Canada without Quebec being separate from America is even more pointless than Austria separate from Germany or Wallonie separate from France.

Posted by: bart at July 3, 2005 2:22 PM

"Canada could have had british law, french culture, and american efficiency. instead they have british efficiency, french law, and american culture"

Posted by: cjm at July 3, 2005 3:13 PM