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"Five axiomatic propositions of Canadian Nationalism vis-a-vis the Americans:

1. Boy, we hate Americans.

2. We really do.

3. Really.

4. I'm not kidding. We really hate them.

5. So how come they never pay us any attention?"

--Will Ferguson, Why I Hate Canadians, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1997, p.105.


Wednesday, February 13, 2002

The bravest man in Canada. But of course the major headlines today all center on the Olympic Ice Skating Judging Scandal, whereby the Canadian pair skated flawlessly and finished second to the flawed Russian performance. I didn't see any of this, but the news reports certainly suggest vote-rigging of a major kind. The outrage in Canada is universal...or nearly so. One letter to the Globe and Mail today argues:

"Some of us who are not blinded by nationalism can appreciate the quality of the Russian gold-medal winners. They performed superbly, created an incredible mood and flow on the ice that the Canadian pair did not approach by a long shot.

If Canadians are not prepared to abide by the decision of the judges, then they should stay out of sports that, by their nature, have a certain degree of subjectivity.

I suspect that the letter-writer is mistaken in his view, but given the climate around here right now, I nominate the author, Luigi Padula, as perhaps the bravest (or most foolish) man in Canada today.

Just another day in Canadian politics. Here are the minor headlines today. In Quebec, a senior cabinet minister resigned yesterday when confronted with evidence of favoritism in awarding contracts to lobbyist who also just happened to be his cronies. This followed the resignation two days ago of a prominent official (the Parti Quebecois director general) after it was revealed that he pocketed more than $200K in compensation for peddling access based on his cronyistic ties to elected officials. In the meantime, more evidence was made public regarding the pressure that Canada's Public Works minister put on government officials to give contracts to his friends, family, and political allies. About 2 weeks ago, Prime Minister Chretien removed this minister and "punished" him by making him ambassador to Denmark. Also in the meantime, Finance Minister Paul Martin and Minister of Something-or-Other Allan Rock are having a very public catfight about some party rules as part of an anticipated post-Chretien leadership struggle -- not that Chretien shows any signs of wanting to leave. So the next time you're talking to some Canadians, and they make some remark about the politics or elected officials in the U.S., just think of this and smile...

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