Friday, October 08, 2010

I'm Not Terribly Proud to Be Canadian

But I sure am happy to be Canadian.  Being Canadian just makes me feel good, it cements my ties with the generations of my Canadian ancestors who preceded me.  We've got this family plot in a southern Ontario graveyard.   Government records list all of us back to 1810 and they show another eight or ten resting there from before their record keeping began.
We began as settlers.  We got to this land in the late 1700's and slowly migrated to what's now Ontario.  We were farm people with all the uncertainties that visited upon their type but we made it through.  We did well enough that we could supply our homeland with soldiers when needed and even when not.  Hell even I served in the Canadian forces (back when we could proudly claim to be RCAF).  My grandfather fought as an enlisted man, my father as a combat infantry officer in WWII for which he paid a dreadful price.
So, why am I not "proud" to be a Canadian?  I guess it's rooted in an unease about where this country has turned, what it has become.  Before 9/11 we had a certain sensibility that we cheaply discarded and, in the process, demeaned the sacrifice that went before.
Trust me, I'm all for scrapping.  I do enjoy a tussle, even (at 60) a fistfight now and then and, again trust me, I haven't won quite as many as I've lost.  But there was always this ability to disengage, to settle disputes that we no longer have.  Now, as Andrew Bascevich writes, we're unwittingly pursuing the  reality of semi-war, of permanent low-grade war, of war without end.  That's great for the military-industrial complex, it's even greater for the conservative (neo-con) movement but it's not worth a shit for the rest of us, including those they expect to line up to be fed into the mill.
"Line up to be fed into the mill."   Doesn't that sound dramatic?  'suppose' it does until you spend your years from vulnerable infancy until middle age living with the broken remnants of their wars.   Stephen Harper doesn't live with this misery, Peter McKay doesn't either.   Neither do Lewis MacKenzie or Rick Hillier.
I will tell you this.
If any of them, any of them, had been ripped up the way their soldiers are sent home, these ASSHOLES wouldn't be boasting the way they are today.
My now safely departed Dad got massively ripped up during WWII.   One eye got blown out along with most of the socket.  Through the upper torso it was mainly shrapnel that missed the important bits.  Legs shredded.  The worst part was the internal bits.   He lost part of one lung, the better half of his stomach and by the time they were finished cutting and splicing, two-thirds of his intestine.
From the time I became cognizant of him until, literally his end some five decades hence, I became familiar with ambulances showing up to take my Dad to the ICU.  I can think of six instances (I'm sure there were more) where the physicians convened family meetings to discuss his inevitable and imminent death.
A professor at U of T med school said, back in the early 70's, that, were my Dad's circumstances as they were in 1944 presented in a university exam the only acceptable answer would have been inevitable, essentially instantaneous death,
Michael Ignatieff may trace his lineage back to the Romanov court.   I can directly trace my own back to the Crusader Tueutonic Knights and the Baltic island of Gotland of 1275 back when his folks were digging tubers with spades.  We're also supported by DNA profiles going back to the 10th century.
I guess what I'm saying is that Michael Ignatieff can kiss my Royal Canadian Ass. His grandfather may have been a Russian courtier from a   century back but so what?  What the hell have they done for our country?  What have Harper's lilly-white arsed kin done either?


Anonymous said...

We can add this little gem as well. In Canada people in their late sixties and upward are getting $500 and some dollars as pension (OAS) while in China people get $1,000.00. Think I'm out to lunch...not on your life. The Korean government is rasiing their pension level here based upon the Chinese level. Ho-hum ...things like this including the treatment of Verterins by our government is absolutely disgraceful. Anyong

LMA said...

Your post strikes a chord with me, MoS. My father emigrated to Canada from the UK at the tender age of 18 and fought in both World Wars. His spirit was broken, and he had chronic respiratory problems from mustard gas. My mother also emigrated from the UK, and lived on the prairies with my father during the horrible years of the dustbowl in the 30's.

Many Canadians just take their life of privilege for granted, squandering our precious natural resources as though they were limitless. It is our total failure to step up to the plate with the developing nations and commit to cut our GHG emissions, e.g., the Tar Sands, that makes me less than proud to be a Canadian.

Yes, Anyong, we have had no increase to OAS for years, and many seniors are struggling to survive. You would think that politicians would realize that seniors are the highest voting demographic, and at least pay some attention to their plight.

As for Iggy, he seems to have led a life of privilege, much of it out of the country, and this bothers me a lot. It seems to me it is only the NDP that cares about the average Joe, but I wish they had a greater influence. We need another Tommy Douglas!!!

Anonymous said...

One more is Saturday here and yesterday, the Chinese government announced it will be spending 15 billion US dollars to develop environmentally friendy vehicles beginning next week. What is Canada doing again? Add this to the list. Anyong

Paul Morrison said...

I must admit I get really irritated hearing the fawning about Iggy's aristocratic antecedents - that was the time when counts and countesses were a dime a dozen in central Europe. Growing up in England after the war, we had a Polish countess working for us as an au pair...