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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, April 24, 2002

Yabba Dabba Abdullah! Abdullah is apparently planning to get snippy with Bush in Texas tomorrow. A "personal friend" of the Crown Prince explained to the NY Times that Abdullah, or "Dully" to his friends, will wheeze and whine about how the U.S.'s support for Israel threatens to rupture those close, warm relations that have benefitted the U.S. so much. He also warned of "a general drift by Arab leaders toward the radical politics that have been building in the Arab street."

Huh? The Arab leaders, by which I mean Dully and crew, have spent fifty years feeding their citizens a steady diet of inflammatory slander about Israel and the West, and now they're going to throw their hands up and say "You see? The people are radicalized? What can we do?"

But wait, there's more:

"It is a mistake to think that our people will not do what is necessary to survive," the person close to the crown prince said, "and if that means we move to the right of bin Laden, so be it; to the left of Qaddafi, so be it; or fly to Baghdad and embrace Saddam like a brother, so be it. It's damned lonely in our part of the world, and we can no longer defend our relationship to our people."

Survival of their people? To me, this sounds more like "the current rulers of Arabia will do what is necessary to maintain our corrupt and dictatorial strangehold on the country." The Reynolds/National Review/et al. drumbeat for "encouraging" change in the government of Arabia sounds better all the time.

And in the spirit of noted Saudi poet and ambassador to Britain whose ode to a suicide bomber has been such a hit, I offer the following poem free of charge to George W. Bush for use during his meeting with Dully:

If I were you, Crown Prince of Saudi
I wouldn't be acting so haughty
Soon you we shall topple
And exile to Kabul
That's what happens when you've been so naughty.
And now back to the Mideast. By God, someday I might actually vote Republican.
Canadian health care. It's really pretty good. Quick aside: I had a checkup earlier today, and was reminded of how well the health care system seems to work here in Ontario, at least for non-crisis medical issues. I've seen various doctors for regular medical services during my time here; my daughter was born here back during my first stint in Canada in the mid-1990s; and the quality of care has always been first-rate.

Of course, I can't tell how much of this is due to doctors and nurses who go above and beyond the call of duty to keep the system operating smoothly. And I've never had a critical medical problem, which is where some claim the Canadian system is weakest vis-a-vis that of the U.S. But for everything I've needed, Canada's health care has been great. So the next time someone in the U.S. sneers at Canada's national health care system as being ineffective or worse, tell 'em that Brian disagrees, and Brian knows from first-hand experience.
Back to first principles. I started this site in large part to highlight the weirdness associated with being an American expatriate living in Canada. It seems as though everything I write lately is on the MidEast -- for good reason, but a bit tiresome nonetheless.

So here is an important news story about Canadian politics today: the censure and suspension of a member of parliament, Keith Martin. In months past I have noted the many sleazy and perhaps illegal political machinations that go on in Ottawa and the provincial governments -- a minister alleged to have extorted favors for cronies; patronage programs run amok; etc. And I have noted that those who are caught rarely pay any price. For example, the above-mentioned minister is shipped off to become Canada's ambassador to Denmark before hearings can be held. So it's good to see that Canadian politicians have finally found an offense sufficiently horrendous that it warrants censure and suspension.

What horrific act did Keith Martin undertake? It seems that he touched the "ceremonial mace" in the House of Commons last week. I kid you not:

A rare vote of censure was levelled against Canadian Alliance MP Keith Martin yesterday for touching the ceremonial mace of the House of Commons, earning him a suspension until he makes a formal apology before the bar of the Commons....

Touching the mace, the symbol of order in the Commons, is considered a violation of a sacrosanct parliamentary tradition -- and is always a violation of the rules....

Symbolically, touching the mace is a quasi-revolutionary act, but House Leader Ralph Goodale said the more important thing is that it is a display of disrespect for the Commons and the Speaker.

How Canadian! In the U.S., revolution entails using military means to overthrow the steely grip of an overseas potentate. In Canada, it apparently entails making physical contact with a hundred-year-old stick and ball. In the U.S., one member of Congress shows disrespect for another by doing this, while in makes physical contact with a hundred-year-old stick and ball.

Of course, if this were mere accidental physical contact, the penalty might not be quite so severe:

Mr. Goodale said Dr. Martin had indicated he had planned to touch the mace, which he said made the transgression worse. [emphasis added]

Dr. Martin said he had thought for a long time about touching the mace, and was moved to do so when the Liberals cut off his marijuana-decriminalization bill.

Premeditated mace-touching!!! They ought to throw the book at this miscreant.

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