Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Time To Jettison Failed Ideas

On our 100th birthday, Michael Valpy writes that "we fell in love with ourselves." But, on our 150th birthday, our mood has changed:

A recent exploration by polling firm EKOS Research reports that the importance of many long-time salient symbols of our sense of nationhood is dramatically eroding.

Canadians report that the significance to their national identity of the beaver, the maple leaf, the flag, “O Canada,” hockey — yes, hockey — the Grey Cup, Parliament Hill, cultural diversity, tolerance, official bilingualism, Canada Day, Remembrance Day and the RCMP have all declined.

For the first time since EKOS began asking the question in the 1990s, the number of Canadians who think the country is admitting too many immigrants who are not white has passed the 40 per cent mark — meaning we’re not only souring on so many traditional national symbols we appear to be becoming more racist.

The racism has always been there. But these days, it's more blatant. Nevertheless, we have come to terms with our French heritage. Frank Graves believes that, "what’s been established is a new healthy d├ętente where Quebecers are able to pursue their own thing and there’s a nice civic nationalism where we agree on things.”

Still, there has been a souring of the public mood, which Graves attributes to four phenomena:

  • Increased pluralism.
  • Confusion left behind by the previous government’s effort to reorder some of our symbols — the emphasis on military history, for example; the de-emphasis on the Charter.
  • A pessimistic sense among ordinary Canadians that progress is ending, inequality is rising and waving the flag won’t help.
  • Dark clouds over mainly Conservative voters who constitute 25 to 30 per cent of the electorate and are much more economically fearful, allergic to immigration and globalization, mistrustful of elites and nostalgic for white privilege than the rest of their fellow citizens. Sixty per cent tell EKOS they would have voted for Donald Trump as U.S. president compared to three per cent of Liberal supporters. We’re increasingly two Canadas (or three or four) with a vanishing middle ground.

We are living in the wake of neo-liberalism -- which has left a sour taste wherever it has been adopted. It's time to jettison failed ideas.


Steve said...

Hi Owen a few days early but on subject. Canada at 150.

Toby said...

Valpy may be missing the mark when he labels old people as racist. Yes, there is an element of racism but there is another element: population growth. As you know, Owen, the world's population has tripled in our lifetime. Crowds have become the norm. Everywhere we go we have to line up. Family farms became real estate and shopping meccas. Everywhere we look forests have been flattened to make room for more houses. The environmental degradation we see all around us is a testament to growth, growth, growth. Even our favourite fishing hole, a place where one could always find peace and solitude is now jammed with cars, trucks, RVs, noise and trash. When the politicians, those with vested interests, even do-gooders, promote growth or immigration of whomever we feel the squeeze. Many of us old timers simply miss having room.

Steve said...

We need to find the balance between nepotism and politically correct. I am a white man
and I see many privileges I formally enjoy die. The truth of the matter is that these were just walls that fall down to reveal we are all humans under the thumb. When we cant dust off the blacks, asians and muslims they will cut to the bone, so be afraid.

Anyway always being positive that Canada can lead the dead nations to some kind of legitimate rule I propose Canada. Its a well known fact that if half the public funds that went to war
where geared to best outcomes we could cut our tax bill by half.

I dont mean to jump the gun on any loud noise surronding Canada Day. But I do have something to say


Owen Gray said...

Most of us are like you, Steve -- immigrants or the children of immigrants. We need to remember that.

Owen Gray said...

Most of our immigrants go to our cities, Toby, because that's where the jobs are. We have lots of room. But we tend to concentrate our population.

The Mound of Sound said...

Why do I feel that we've become like the patient who discovers that he's been living for years with undiagnosed cancer? Even the current government will not acknowledge, i.e. diagnose, the corrosive, divisive and malignant impacts underway as symptoms of late stage neoliberalism. When societies fall apart it can usually be traced back to a series of bad decisions.

Owen Gray said...

Someone has to own bad decisions, Mound. Nobody wants to own those decisions.