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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.


Thursday, July 04, 2002

Stinking garbage, smelly strikers. Toronto, "the city that works," is in the midst of the largest municipal strike in its history. I'd say it's a crippling strike, but frankly it doesn't affect me all that much. Garbage is piling up, the grass isn't being mown in the parks, city parking lots lay idle because the workers aren't there to take money and stick those little cardboard tags under the windshield wiper, and that's about it. Of course, the ones who are really hurt are those parents whose kids were signed up for municipal day care or summer camp, and who suddenly find themselves scrambling to find a place for their kids to go (or risk losing time at work in order to stay home with the kids). Allow me to say that of all of the striking employees, the day care and summer camp workers are the most damnable bastards of all.

So now that these employees are bored with passing boorish anti-Israel referenda at their national conferences, what exactly do the striking employees want? The city offered them 3%/year raises in salary for each of the next three years, and also offered to continue to current agreement that any municipal employee who has more than 10 years of service will have a job guaranteed for life.

No, you didn't misread that. If a 28-year-old guy is been cutting the grass in High Park, and has been doing so for the last 10 years, then the city has agreed that by God he should be guaranteed that he can still be doing that in the year 2039.

But the union is not impressed. No, CUPE says, 10 years is far too long to wait. Our employees deserve lifetime employment guarantees much sooner than that. How about...six years? (And in 2005, let's try for three years!)

The big background issue here is of course privatization. What if Toronto were to offload its garbage collection or other services to a private firm that has an incentive to operate efficiently? Odds are that the private firm could get the work done with fewer employees. This makes money for the firm, and lowers the cost to taxpayers. It's a win-win scenario! Everybody wins...oh, right.

So, will that 24 year-old who has managed to show up for work on most of the last 1,500 work days get guaranteed employment through 2043? Stay tuned.
Losing ground on another dimension. "Canada Losing to U.S. in Baby Race."
Professors professing, take 2. (via Andrew Sullivan) Dana Cloud, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Texas, no doubt had a lot of important things to do yesterday. But he/she made sure to set aside time to pen a rewrite of the Pledge of Allegiance and submit it to the UT newspaper. An excerpt:

I pledge allegiance to all the ordinary people around the world...the sweatshop workers from New York to Indonesia, who labor not under God but under the heel of multinational corporations; I pledge allegiance to the people of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan, and to their struggles to survive and resist slavery to corporate greed....

Dana is very proud of this Pledge:

My daughter, who is 11, and I...have always been uncomfortable saying the pledge, not only because of the religious imposition, but because it seems very strange to pledge loyalty to a scrap of cloth representing a corrupt nation that imposes its will, both economic and military, around the world by force. So she inspired me to rewrite the Pledge.

Imagine schoolchildren every day reciting the following:

Yes. Just imagine. Just imagine how much Dana Cloud has already screwed up his/her daughter's life after only 11 years.

Isn't Communication Studies that joke major that all the football players take? Maybe Professor Cloud can get them to say the Pledge at the beginning of each of his/her class sessions.
Professors professing, take 1. Of course, not all occupants of Canada are as excited about the U.S. or its birthday as I am. In a letter to the editor that reminds us that it is better to remain quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and confirm it, Donald Grayston opines:

Your editorial about American resistance to the ICC's jurisdiction is compelling as far as it goes, but it doesn't go deep enough.

The American stance says, in effect, that the United States is not a nation like other nations, and, in a number of senses, this is correct. It is more powerful and richer than any other nation, and more rides on its decisions than on those of any other nation -- but these are all matters of degree.

The real reason for U.S. intransigence on the ICC is that the U.S. feels itself to be a sacred nation, the Holy Land of the new world, "one nation under God." For those who feel so, it would not just be bad politics to permit U.S. service personnel to be tried by the ICC, if it ever came to that; it would also be sacrilege (as were the attacks of Sept. 11).

Canada, of course, is not a sacred nation in this sense. And so an act of terrorism in Canada would be a tragedy, a disaster, a matter of intense concern -- but not an act of sacrilege; because however profound our patriotism or national feeling, it is different in kind from that of our neighbours. Until this is recognized, the obstinacy and isolationism of the U.S. will not be fully understood.

Wow, Grayson has really put his finger on it through this sophisticated use of "content analysis." The Pledge of Allegiance is a dead giveaway! "One nation under God," what more evidence do you need of the U.S.'s pretensions? As they say in the professoriate, Q.E.D.

Now, how does that Canadian national anthem go again? "God keep our land glorious and free...." And that's just from the verse that they sing at hockey games. The subsequent verses include:

"Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our dominion whithin thy loving care;
Help us to find, O God, in thee
A lasting, rich reward,
As waiting for the Better Day,
We ever stand on guard.
[Blah blah] on guard for thee."

So now the source of Canadian anti-U.S. sentiment is revealed. Canadians believe their nation to be sacred, protected (perhaps uniquely so) by God. The U.S., as a mere guttersnipe of a nation, is a secular upstart. Thank you, Professor Grayston, for revealing the power of such analytical tools. As we say in the United States, Q.E. friggin' D.
Happy Birthday, America! Belated birthday wishes for what is obviously the greatest nation on Earth. I've lived all over the world -- specifically, in the U.S. and in Canada -- and based on my vast experience I can conclusively state that this is an objective fact.
And so we wait... I was all set to gloat about a terrorism-free July 4th, but earlier today a man shot and killed two people at the El Al ticket counter at LAX before he was himself killed. I've been checking the news Web sites repeatedly, but no info yet on the name of the attacker or the possible motive. It's hard to imagine that something like this occurring on July 4th, involving El Al, wouldn't have some connection to global terrorism. But I'm willing to be wrong.

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