Tuesday, 20 January 2009

so who's responsible for negative attitude

I don't use this blog to comment on American politics. The U.S. is not my country and, frankly, I think it's rude to interfere in our neighbours' democracy. Of course, we wish Americans well and support their choices.

However, I will comment on the Canadian media's reporting of the Obama Inauguration. Firstly, I'm really happy they've all had a really good,really long vacation from looking for any news stories in Canada or around the world. Party's over guys. Now it's time to get back to work and dig for some stories.

Secondly,several times this week I've heard one national news anchor, who really should know better, say no one does pageantry as well as Americans. Seriously. Has he ever heard of the changing of the guard on Parliament Hill? Oh and wasn't that the network that cut pageantry from their broadcasts at the opening of Parliament? Don't Canadian media usually make fun of Canadian pageantry? And didn't that particular network forget to play the Governor General's New Year's greeting?

And how is it they keep asking if a black can hold power in Canada after they have seen pictures of Mdme. Jean? Why is it that they are trying to bring the 'race' card to Canadian politics? I'm proud of the fact that the amount of pigment in Mdme. Jean's skin is irrelevent to Canadians.

Another common comment from Canadian viewers watching these broadcasts: "We would like someone to inspire us, too." Good point. I have to agree. So, let's start with the politicians and pundits who spend most of their time picking apart our system and making negative comparisons like, "Of course, we can't expect to have this in Canada. We're just a small country."

First, we're not that small a country, economically, geographically or even in population, and if we'd stop navel gazing and whining about how weak we are, we could impact the world greatly. Of course, we can expect to do and accomplish greatt things.

Secondly, it's time for Canadian media to drop the negative attitude toward our history, our culture, and Canadians. They might even point out that the Canadians, who opposed George Washington's vision, also built a country based on their own view of what democracy is -- and that it didn't come easy. That it is a different, but equally, valid view.

And it's our job to hold the media accountable.

Monday, 19 January 2009

walls/bridges/ and Canadian regionalism

In 1877, my great-great grandfather built a new house -- a beautiful stone house for his large blended family. I almost thought this house, along with tales of my great-grandfather's squandered inheritance, were fairytales. But this week I saw the house -- or at least a picture of it. Still standing. Still occupied.

The house still stands, but the family that once lived in it has scattered. The walls could not hold them. In fact,'walls' may have scattered them.

The lady who made time to tromp through snow covered rural Ontario to find my great-great-parents' land also sent me a picture of a bridge her grandfather built. A beautiful curved wooden bridge. It, too, stills stands after 100 years. Apparently, her grandfather built bridges in Western Canada too. I'm keeping my eyes open for them.

Aren't bridges beautiful things? Not only do they get you from one side of a deep ravine or a raging river to the other, they are beautiful architecture. Useable art.

I live in a city where more joggers, getting fit along the coulee top trails, turn east to look at the huge viaduct spanning the river valley than west to look at the outline of the Rocky Mountains and Porcupine Hills. Canada Post put our bridge on a stamp once.

Groups, like TWG are bridges too, linking people of diverse backgrounds in many regions of the country -- even beyond. Too often we talk of walls: rights and regional competition. What 'they' did and how we carry more than our fair share of the load. Too often we hold onto to our grudges and prejudices. Too often we take pride in building thicker and thicker walls and hurling insults at our kin -- and we are all kin if we go back far enough.

We love our walls, but we need more bridges,especially in Canada.