Visiting Canada on a European Parliament membership technicality with no federal or provincial parties willing to engage given her bigoted views (and possible stench of sulphur) has not prevented her from criticizing Canada's policies on immigration and multiculturalism. The terror attacks in Brussels have only added more ammunition to a sharp tongue already loaded with nationalist, nativist and jingoistic diatribe.
Will mountains become hotbeds of authoritarian tendencies since climate warming is so pronounced? We are culturally induced to associate mountains with freedom, and many massifs in Europe were famous centres for rebellion against the fascists in WWII. What psychological reaction to climate change may people in mountains have?
I have thus alienated myself from the convention of associating a cultural, national identity to my name. I do not feel like a citizen of said country, but rather, a denizen of the world. I realize my situation is rare and privileged, but I am not insensitive to the many problems revolving national identity around the world.
Confronted with the senselessness of this tragedy, and given how many details have yet to emerge, understanding the implications of this horrific act is difficult. But it seems clear that this is more than merely an issue of national security -- it is an issue of national identity. Rarely have Canadians so acutely felt a sense of collective loss. The easy thing to do is to respond to this tragedy with anger, rashness, and xenophobia. Already, some pundits have found a way to politicize these events -- to call for a barricading of public spaces, a reform of the gun registry, and a military presence on the Hill. All of these things may indeed be sorely needed. But they are beside the point.
To be Canadian is to always feel just a little different than the cool kids. How can we compete when every one of us is an immigrant, or descendant of immigrants, and the mix of who we are changes constantly? Maybe we're asking the wrong question. If we took a closer look, we might find that we're cooler than we realize. Canadians have a unique relationship with our history. We're proud of the country we built, but ashamed of the steps we took to get here. For many of us, the easiest solution is to try not to look back at all. But when we don't know our history, we don't just miss out on a dusty old past. It makes it hard to imagine our future.
I realize that the beautiful spot in Switzerland is where the supposed brightest and best gather for a few sessions, yet the gathered crowd appears to grow more incapable every year at solving the globe's biggest problems. Perhaps the reason is because those gathered are not only intelligent and connected, but are, in fact, incredibly wealthy -- remote and removed from the everyday problems faced by average citizens in both developing and developed nations. There seem to be no effective solutions for growing unemployment, the decline of democracy, the yawning gap between rich and poor, and a world financial system seemingly out of control.
Any Prime Minister in his sixth year in office and nine years as party leader has to start looking at his legacy. What will he be leaving Canada with when down the road he decides to leave? Up until this point it was his performance on the economic front that was the strongest item, now how he performs and whether or not he can keep Canada together will also be part of his legacy.
The advent of a PQ government in Quebec is both a challenge and an opportunity for Canada. This is a time for renewed national leadership that reaches out to Canadians to offers an overarching vision for Canada in the 21st century -- one where a strong federal government works with the provinces. I look forward to working with Quebecers and all Canadians to build a 21st century Canada -- one Canada, for all Canadians.
Nobody is in a position to review David Frum's new novel, Patriots. You're either going to hate it for all the wrong reasons, or love it for all the wrong reasons. Set in D.C., the novel centres around Walter Schotzke, a likably louche trustafarian who is about to be swallowed whole by the populist right. Sound familiar? If so, it's because it is: Schotzke is no Frum, but there are clearly some autobiographical elements in this novel, thinly-veiled, and ready to deliver carnage to everything the ultra-right holds dear.
When someone raises a flag on Canada Day, sure, terrific. Bob and Doug forever. When it's time to honour our brave war veterans, no doubt, they're the champs. But when I attend a game to cheer on the local collection of rink-circlers, I don't feel it's a relevant or appropriate place for the anthem.