Where to, Canada? A Canadian looks at the country that welcomed him and his family forty-six years ago. by PJ Robertson

Where to, Canada? A Canadian looks at the country that welcomed him and his family forty-six years ago. by PJ Robertson

PJCFN – In “The Art of Fiction” Henry James cites “the very obvious truth that the deepest quality of a work of art will always be the quality of the mind of the producer.” Inasmuch as a country is a work of art—a work in progress, to be sure—its deepest quality will be the quality of the minds of its peoples, in particular its caretakers, the people at the top.

In the late ‘60s, Canada blossomed as a country. With Expo ’67 Montreal welcomed the world. Canada’s caretaker at the time was a Nobel laureate for Peace. The following year, he handed over to a young man with strong roots in all three founding nations—a man of education, imagination and intelligence, who had travelled the world and was wise in its ways. A man with an infectious love of life, and a vision for a just society. Canada was inspired and inspiring. In 1976, Montreal again welcomed the world to the Summer Olympics. All through these years Canada was the place to be, the world took note, and people came in droves to visit, embrace opportunity, and stay.

So the country progressed into the ‘80s, with bumps along the way, as is the case with a country of great complexity and an appetite to experiment for the benefit of its peoples and their home in fabulous nature. Through the years the man of vision upset some, even many (impossible to please everyone in a country so vast and diverse), while captivating the majority and earning the respect of worthy opponents. As was proved in his passing, when the whole country celebrated a life of service that inspired. This was a man who did not seek the post of caretaker, but when chosen devoted his energies to its responsibilities. A man unafraid to risk the rush and rebuke of crowds. A man who challenged his country to rise above mediocrity and have fun doing so.

Riding squabbles and scandals, great and small, Canada continued to bounce along to the new century as the place to be. A place where decency, dignity, and respect flourished. While the caretakers varied in self-importance, ambition, and view, they all put the country’s interest above their own.

2006—the country went into reverse, as if a switch had been thrown. A new caretaker vowed transparency and accountability, to “Stand up for Canada.” And promised to change the country beyond recognition before he had finished with it. He has been delivering. This is a revisionist, bent on recasting Canada in his own image.

A man who overrides facts, evidence, reason, anyone and anything that gets in his way. A man who, having never before travelled outside the country, is unskilled in the arts of diplomacy or compromise, and apparently unwilling to learn. A man whose notion of leadership is ‘divide and rule.’ A secretive man, who travels in a bubble, engaging only with followers. A man obsessed with power, punishment,  war, and money from oil. A man who cows appointees and controls what they say.

Who blazons “Support our Troops,” only to deny them as traumatized veterans. Who trumpets democracy overseas, and tramples it at home. Who doesn’t give a dot.com about the environment or climate change. And the world shakes its head in disbelief: Is this Canada?

An uncaring caretaker, who on taking office killed a landmark accord with Canada’s First Nations, because it was crafted by an enlightened predecessor. Who then staged a grand apology to the First Nations, only to turn his back on them ever since.

Where to, Canada? You are being sold down polluted rivers by a man in a bubble. Your work of art is fighting for air in a musty basement.

Who will restore you to the light of day?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

PJM Robertson has published two books on literature, numerous articles and reviews, and taught at universities, colleges and schools in Upper Canada and the Maritimes.

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18 Comments on "Where to, Canada? A Canadian looks at the country that welcomed him and his family forty-six years ago. by PJ Robertson"

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Arthur Penson
Guest

Mr Robertson has clearly summed up the wide-spread destruction of Canada’s reputation in the world under the grievous leadership of Stephen Harper. As a citizen and witness to the “about face”, I feel the same pain, humiliation and malediction. As voters Canadians are facina Conservative tactical squad that has shown itself to be without scruples or ethics and will use every means at its disposal to repeat the 2008 election results. More of Harper means much less of Canada and as a country, we must not, cannot concede it to a denier of democracy and climate change.

Arthur Penson
Guest

Mr Robertson has clearly summed up the wide-spread destruction of Canada’s reputation in the world under the grievous leadership of Stephen Harper. As a citizen and witness to the “about face”, I feel the same pain, humiliation and malediction. As voters Canadians are facing a Conservative tactical squad that has shown itself to be without scruples or ethics and will use every means at its disposal to repeat the 2008 election results. More of Harper means much less of Canada and as a country, we must not, cannot concede it to a denier of democracy and climate change.

Furtz
Member

@ Arthur. Just Google East Gate Alliance Church Ottawa. Mr. Harper is not of “sound mind”. Science is the devil’s work, and the Rapture is almost upon us! Here’s a cut and paste from Harper’s church’s web site.

“The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and will be personal and visible.24 As the believer’s blessed hope, this vital truth is an incentive for holy living and sacrificial service toward the completion of Christ’s commission.25 ”

Pretty scary and weird stuff for a Canadian prime minister to be sucked into.

David Oldham
Guest

So Arthur Penson were we better off with Adscam, Shawinigate, Tainted blood secret, the Jane Stewart HRDC scandal, helicopter contract cancellation, the Somalia inquiry, the Apec inquiry, Allen Rock over taxation, the dismantling of our military forces and a Liberal government which committed us to the conflict in Afghanistan?

Furtz
Member

David. You’ve made it clear that you are a hard-core large and small c Conservative, and your views are unbendable in that regard. However, even you must admit that every Canadian government since the John A MacDonald Conservatives has had it’s share of scandals and made mistakes. The problems that most people observe with our current government are it’s nasty undemocratic ways, including election expense cheating, and vote suppression. Politics aside, fair-minded people have little tolerance for underhanded activities like that.

Tom Manley
Member

Well said PJ. We have a minimalist PM, bent on tearing things down and re-building with spin and illusion.

Hugger1
Guest

All governments (be it Liberal or Conservative) have their scandals. Governments are like bed sheets, they need to be changed on a regular basis.

Greg Reynolds
Guest

Mr. Robertson, Canada was nearly ruined by your man-crush PET…. the National Energy Program and official bilingualism did more damage to our national unity than anything done by any other prime minister. He ran up one heck of a debt too come to think of it.

Furtz
Member

Pierre Trudeau nearly ruined Canada? Seriously? As I recall the Trudeau years, homelessness and food banks were almost unheard of. Low paying jobs were plentiful and still payed a living wage. Canada was the envy of the world, and unlike today, was well respected around the world. Sure, he pissed off the separatists in Quebec and the Alberta oil barons, but you can’t please everybody.

Greg Reynolds
Guest
1968 – our debt was 11 billion and there was no deficit. We were one fo the richest countries in the world beside the USA. 1984 – 128 billion in debt and a 25 billion deficit. It took 3 subsequent PM’s to dig us out of the hole Trudeau left us in. He tripled spending during a recession of his own making and we kept paying for that until Paul Martin finally put the lid on the box. Transfer amounts to the provinces were slashed to pay down the debt. He alienated Western Canada and our biggest ally and trading… Read more »
DON POLAND
Guest

GREAT ARTICLE P.J. WE ALL REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES. WELL DONE.

David Oldham
Guest
Furtz no party is exempt from ridicule for abuses of power or errors in judgement, such is the quandary of politics anywhere around the globe. We humans are not perfect. My comments speak to the fact that no party is better only that each party is the same as a result of this quandary. The biased article we are responding to does not address the reality that the best party of the day depends on the issues of the times. This truth is evident and explains why governments come and go. When the governing party no longer reflects the will… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest

Furtz your comment concerning fair minded people is tragically flawed. Your observation is quite simply altogether in complete error or fair minded people do not exist in Ontario. The proof for this lies in the last Ontario election which rewarded a corrupt Liberal government with a majority mandate.

As to my politics, I am neither a Liberal or Conservative, I have voted both ways over the years. I vote for the times and who ever seems to have the best grasp on the issues of the day, that is all.

Furtz
Member

Yes David. History will prove that the voters who took a pass on the Hudak Tea-party will be responsible for Ontario going down in flames. We all know that. Hudak was the Savior, and the voters rejected him! Sound familiar?

Furtz
Member

It is troubling to find out that my political views are tragically flawed. I will take the next ten seconds to re evaluate my misguided opinion. I thank you David, for getting me back on the right track. It’s a slippery slope into the depravity of Liberalism or Socialism, and I will be forever grateful to you for throwing me a rope.
May God bless you real good.

David Oldham
Guest

Hudak was a lame duck who should have stepped aside after the previous election. Ontario has already gone down in flames. We are officially a have not province.

Whether you are able to debate is your cross to bear. I purport only to have an opinion, not to be definitively right. Your statement was conflicted, given a second chance you might have worded it to have meant what you wanted it to convey. Which god do you refer to? What is depraved about being left of centre or even communistic?

Hugger1
Guest

I’m surprised that people don’t know when their chain is being yanked.

Furtz
Member

Hudak wasn’t a lame duck in the true sense of the term. He was just a sh!tty leader of a party not yet recovered from the Harris reign of terror.
@ Hugger. Yup.

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