Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Anything you can do, we can do better? USA hockey defeats Canada

Posted by sanityinjection on February 22, 2010

So much to write about today, but let’s start with the really important stuff. Yesterday’s victory by the US Olympic hockey team over Canada was a very big deal, indeed, for both North American countries. It marks the first time the US team has defeated Canada at the Olympics since 1960 – half a century ago.

However, the impact is arguably greater in Canada, where hockey is more than a sport – it is seen as a fundamental aspect of the nation itself, similar to the American trio of “Mom, baseball, and apple pie.” While the Canadian team does not always win gold at the Olympics, being defeated in the preliminary round by its larger southern neighbor hurts because it hits at issues of Canadian identity and the relationship between the two countries. In many ways, Canada functions as a sort of “little brother” of the US. Until now, Canadians could reassure themselves that despite many areas of US dominance, Canada was still better than the Yanks at its national sport of hockey.

And yet, as Canada begins a round of soul-searching, it is important not to overreach in drawing conclusions. Some in the US are already referring to the game as the “Second Miracle on Ice”, but this victory of experienced American NHL players over their experienced Canadian NHL teammates hardly compares with the 1980 US squad of college players defeating the seasoned Soviet professional team. (If the North American Olympic teams were still made up of amateurs, I would bet Canada would still have a decisive advantage over the US.) Canada remains in the medal hunt and is rightly considered an extremely dangerous and tough team.

It is also important to recall the disadvantage that Canada faces in trying to compete with the much larger and richer US in virtually any area. Given enough time and proper application of resources, it is practically inevitable that the US will eventually prevail.

But does this mean that Canada must be resigned to becoming the 51st US state, as it is sometimes jokingly called? Hardly. Ironically given the hockey result, the Vancouver Games have seen a tremendous flowering of Canadian patriotism. The Canadian crowds, known in the past for being polite and a bit reserved, have waved their flags and cheered their country’s teams as vigorously as the Americans do when the games are held in the US, to the point of reducing a Danish curler not used to the noise level to tears. And the Canadian athletes have responded by ending the country’s gold medal drought on its home soil. In fact, at a Canada curling match yesterday with the game on the line at the end, the crowd spontaneously broke out into the national anthem “O Canada” and inspired their curler to throw the winning shot – an occurrence that is without precedent in Canadian history.

In fact, there are still plenty of areas where Canada can hold its head up high in comparison to its neighbor to the south. Canada rightly prides itself on its success in preserving its amazing natural resources and wildlife. It also enjoys a much more admirable record of respecting native peoples and honoring its agreements with them. Canadians enjoy a reputation around the world as a kind, generous, and friendly people. Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Calgary all ranked among the top 30 cities in the world in quality of life in 2009 (all higher that the top-rated US city, Honolulu), reflecting a worldwide perception that Canada has quietly managed to achieve a nice balance of factors that make it a very desirable place to live – just ask the approximately 250,000 people who every year give Canada one of the highest per capita immigration rates in the world.

So, while the US may well be singing the lyrics of the Irving Berlin song “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” to their Canadian neighbors in the wake of their hockey upset and their overall dominance of the Olympic medal count so far, the verdict is far from decided. Until the day when Canadian colleges and universities start recruiting hockey players from the US rather than the other way around, Canada will still be known as the home of hockey.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

How the Internet saved free speech in Canada

Posted by sanityinjection on May 5, 2009

In the June edition of the libertarian magazine Reason, Canadian publisher Ezra Levant tells the story of his fight to defend himself against the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission. Levant’s crime? Offending Muslims by reprinting the now-famous Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Of particular interest is the role the Internet played in Levant’s victory. Levant credits support from ordinary citizens – both written and financial – with helping him sustain his defense until his accusers ultimately withdrew their charges in the face of mounting public criticism.

However, the fact that Levant had to go through such an ordeal at all should serve as a wake-up call for freedom-loving people everywhere. Canada may be more politically correct than most democracies, but it is not a great leap to see similar tendencies in the US and elsewhere. There are those who would happily establish the equivalent of the Alberta HRC in every state or province of every Western country. In our desire to uphold human rights, we must not allow ourselves to be deluded into mistaking the right to never be offended as one of them. Thus, I may find Dan Brown’s books to be offensive and bigoted, but I strongly defend his right to write them and have them made into movies no matter how much they may offend me.

Over half a century has passed since George Orwell first introduced us to the Thought Police in 1984. (And if by chance, dear reader, you have never got around to reading this book, please do so at once.) How horrified would Orwell, a passionate socialist, be to know that Canada of all places has come so far in bringing his dystopia to life?

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canadian to Border Patrol: Manners cost nothing

Posted by sanityinjection on March 4, 2009

The Canadian National Post brings us the tale of Desiderio Fortunato, who was pepper-sprayed by US border patrol agents for refusing to obey their orders unless they said “Please”:

My first comment is that I see no reason why Border Patrol agents should not be polite and use words like “Please” and “Thank You”.  However, as some of the comments posted on that story stated, ultimately the Border Patrol is issuing orders, not requests. If you find fault with their manners, you can complain to their superiors, but you can’t refuse to do what they say.

Furthermore, I think America’s patience with folks like this self-admitted “stickler for courtesy and respect” has worn thin after terrorists rudely and discourteously murdered thousands of our citizens. Perhaps if Mr. Fortunato were a stickler for tough immigration controls in Canada itself, the US-Canadian border wouldn’t need to be as vigilantly guarded.

My final suggestion is that we make use of Mr. Fortunato’s expertise in the area of politeness and good manners by sending him on an all-expenses paid, one-way trip to Al Qaeda headquarters in Pakistan, so that he may educate the terrorists on how to more politely and respectfully blow sh*t up. But first, in order to prepare him for that, we should send him to French-speaking Canada so he can learn what real rudeness is like!

Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Canada sweeps itself clean of U.S. debris

Posted by sanityinjection on July 15, 2008

The Globe and Mail reports that Canada’s Federal Court denied the appeal of U.S. Army deserter Robin Long, clearing the way for his deportation back to the US, where he will face court-martial. Mr. Long had applied for refugee status but was denied.

I don’t blame Canada one bit for not wanting to open its doors to every American malcontent, despite its history of sheltering US war objectors. Unlike the draft-dodgers of the Vietnam era, Mr. Long voluntarily joined the Army, then changed his mind about the morality of the war in Iraq. It’s hard for me to understand what kind of armed forces we would have if every soldier got to decide the question of whether each military action is justified or not. When you join the armed forces, you are volunteering to serve your country in battle, not accepting the job of Commander in Chief. It’s a pity that Mr. Long did not understand that.

The Canadian court noted that Mr. Long could not plausibly claim that he would be subject to abuse if returned to the States since the US has a well-established process for trying deserters with full right of due process under military law. It probably didn’t help that Mr. Long failed to show up for court hearings on two occasions.


Posted in Foreign Affairs, Politics | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »