Wednesday, January 04, 2017
Don't We Get a Say In This?
Did you get the memo? I didn't. That's why it came as a surprise to hear the Dauphin proclaim Canada the world's first "postnational" country. He did it in a British newspaper, The Guardian.
This is Trudeau's brainfart. He didn't run on the idea. He didn't consult us about it. He didn't seek any "social licence" or the nod from our First Nations. He just did it and he let the Brits in on it first. That's a bit of a slap in the face.
What is a "postnational" state? Well it's probably a country purged of nationalism, not just the bad kind but also the good. Remember that good nationalism that brought us together for our country's centennial, back in the days of Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, that did so much to unite us and inspire us as a people? Well, for our nation's 150th birthday, Slick thinks it's time to ditch all that.
Multiculturalism is all well and good as is immigration when deftly managed for the betterment of the country and our communities. But surely that can't be a definition of postnational.
What is a state? It's generally recognized as comprising four qualities - sovereignty, population, territory and government. If an entity has political sovereignty and a defined territory, an identified population living within that territory under their own government then it has achieved nationhood. It's not a colony, it's a country. We distinguish citizens from residents. We know, and supposedly defend, our defined territory. We have established a government to lead the country. A, B, C and D - the nation of Canada.
So what incidents of this nationalism are we supposed to have jettisoned or moved beyond to achieve this postnationalism and, better yet, why? The way our prime minister put it in his gushy interview with The Guardian a little while back, we've moved past national, i.e. "Canadian" values. We don't really have core values now.
Where the fuck did Junior get that idea? Did he ask you? He sure didn't ask me? His dad seemed to think we had Canadian values, fine and essential values, some of which he enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These were the same values we celebrated during the Centennial that brought us together and made us feel proud to be Canadians. How proud do you feel when you're told that you're postnational, liberated from all those core values you only imagined were real?
If we're post national, we're taxpayers, not citizens. We are consumers and this thing we call government is the ultimate Big Box store. We have no core values any more which begs the question of why we should bother defending our diminished way of life? The invisible hand of the marketplace can guide Justin as it did Harper.
My take? This is bullshit, another enfeebled proclamation from a mildly addled mind. This could be a dangerous assumption.
Here's the thing. We're entering an extremely dangerous century where we will face the synergy of novel impacts never before experienced be they political, economic, social and environmental. Overconsumption, overpopulation, and environmental impacts - they're all coming barreling down the same tunnel straight for us.
There won't be any country that isn't hammered by these impacts even if only indirectly. Yet, of all the world's nations there are a handful, five or perhaps six by some estimations, that are different than all the others and that are positioned to better deflect or absorb these several blows. One of that handful is Canada.
It's not been our doing. We're just lucky, like most of the other high northern latitude countries in this group. Whether it's northern Russia, the Scandinavians, or Canada we've got something in common - a lot of empty space reaching to the far north. That could just be our lifeboat.
The rest of the planet? In the 12 thousand year history of civilization, mankind expanded through, populated and developed the "rest of the planet," especially the tropical and subtropical belts. It was a lot easier to live and farm and settle and wage war where it was warm than where it got really, really cold. Better growing seasons, better transportation and communications, that sort of thing. That was a major factor in how the US came to have ten times the population of Canada and why the majority of Canadians live in that narrow belt along our southern territory. It's why you don't find Ottawa on the shores of James Bay (unfortunately).
To meet these coming challenges and take full advantage of Canada's fortunate circumstances, we're going to need as much social cohesion as we can muster. That's going to take a population, no matter their ethnicity, who can coalesce around, uphold and defend clearly understood core values.
Trudeau has decided to take Canada in precisely the wrong direction and we didn't even get a say in it.