Saturday, July 01, 2017

150



Our 150th birthday is not quite as ebullient as our 100th. Perhaps we were just more naive back then. The teepee on Parliament Hill reminds us that our history is incomplete. And, God knows, our future is uncertain -- because the planet's future is uncertain.

Still, we have much for which to be thankful. We are a nation of immigrants who have -- for the most part -- found a welcoming home here. We still have plenty of room and bountiful resources. With those blessings come responsibilities.

As I get older, my respect for Mike Pearson grows. As a young Canadian, I saw him as a man with a lisp and a funny bow tie. In my old age I see him as a wise man who devoted his life to the quest for peace, knowing that peace was always elusive and hard won.

On this somewhat fractious Canada Day, I remember his take on world problems:

We must keep on trying to solve problems, one by one, stage by stage, if not on the basis of confidence and cooperation, at least on that of mutual toleration and self interest.

Wise words. Happy Canada Day.

Image: Extraordinary Canadians
We must keep on trying to solve problems, one by one, stage by stage, if not on the basis of confidence and cooperation, at least on that of mutual toleration and self-interest.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lesterbpe300118.html
We must keep on trying to solve problems, one by one, stage by stage, if not on the basis of confidence and cooperation, at least on that of mutual toleration and self-interest.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lesterbpe300118.html
We must keep on trying to solve problems, one by one, stage by stage, if not on the basis of confidence and cooperation, at least on that of mutual toleration and self-interest.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lesterbpe300118.html

24 comments:

liberalandlovingit! said...

Beautifully put, Owen. HCD to all, I guess. Unsure how to 'celebrate' this day.

Owen Gray said...

To me, lovingit, this day is about appreciation. We are not perfect. As Jean Chretien used to say, "We have a lot of work to do." But that fact should not blind us to our good fortune.

liberalandlovingit! said...

...very true and appropriate, Owen. Appreciation. My Grandma always said how 'lucky' we were, to live here. My Grandpa was away, in Europe, for five years, and was able to return home to start his own company- hauling sand and gravel from Stoney Creek to lay on the 400 series of highways. And salt from Goderich all winter long, for those roads. I have much to appreciate.

Lorne said...

Well-said, Owen. Happy Canada Day.

Owen Gray said...

We have much to be thankful for, lovingit.

Owen Gray said...

We are a lucky people, Lorne. Happy Canada Day.

Rural said...

After nearly 50 of my 70 plus years in Canada I> can say that I could not have made a better choice. I do hope that this vast country with its diverse population continues to embrace tolerance and respect for all our citizens and guests both traditional and more recent.
Let us all be thankful for what we have here in Canada on this special day.

Owen Gray said...

I agree wholeheartedly, Rural.

The Mound of Sound said...


Very well put, Owen, and many thanks. At our age (yours, Lorne's, Rural's and mine) we have a slightly better perspective of our country than we had in our youth. We have watched it change and endured periods good and less than good. I'm not sure I prefer Canada at 150 to the Canada of a half century earlier, the centennial. Perhaps that too is a function of age.

Despite my pessimism I'm hopeful that the initiatives of the new government in my province - electoral and campaign finance reform, a new system for economic policy and planning to replace GDP political economics, legitimate environmental reviews, higher carbon taxes and advancement of First Nations rights - all could form a model for democratic restoration in every other province and eventually the federal government. It does bring a light of hope for the country. Imagine if we could break the shackles of neoliberalism? Imagine if we could do all of these things peacefully, cooperatively and without upheaval. What an example we could set for other nations.

Happy Canada Day, Owen.

Owen Gray said...

We sometimes forget that Mackenzie King's Canada was a well starched place, Mound -- and Pearson chafed under its yoke. But he persisted and gave us medicare and a flag. There is reason to hope.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Is anti-neoliberalism the same as anti-capitalist/fascist?

I hung my newspaper flags, watched Mansbridge, saw the party on the Hill;
and thought. Happy Canada Day to you and your guests, Owen.

Owen Gray said...

The definition of terms gets tricky, lovingit. For me, neo-liberalism is essentially unrestrained capitalism. Capitalism isn't evil. But governments must set rules about how capitalism operates. They should balance the interests of capital and labour. For the last forty years, governments have primarily been serving the interests of capital. There is more to life than making a profit.

liberalandlovingit! said...

"Capitalism isn't evil."
"There is more to life than making a profit."

Huh? Sorry, Owen, I mean that respectfully. How can you say capitalism is not evil, when it's sole purpose is profit? Feeding the 'stakeholders'? Exploiting the everloving youknowwhat out of Mother Earth and all her children? Then- exploitation combined with genocidal colonization? I cannot even. OK, here goes- the doc,
"The Corporation" and Hedges do not even- either. Capitalism kills everything!!
That is not the economic model we are to aspire to.

Are you ok with the carnage on Wall St.? The 1% hoarders of 'capital'?
The privatization of everything under our Mother-Earth-loving-SUN??
Government cannot control anything regarding 'capitalism'. Because money talks.

Wow.

Owen Gray said...

Don't confuse an idea with the people who corrupt it, lovingit. Christianity is a pretty good idea. However, those who practice it have made quite a mess of it.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Christianity is much more than a good idea, Owen. And--I wasn't even referring to that. Have you ever been a Union member? A real one, not a 'right-to-worker'?
'cause that is the only thing that stands between us and corporate, man-created,
jobs of wrath. It's built on sand.
I was referring to other ideas, which I share with
like-minded individuals who think outside the box enough that they (we) affect change.
I am somewhat dazed, but not confused- any longer.

Owen Gray said...

As a teacher, I was a union member for 32 years, lovingit. I lived through six strikes in two provinces. Unions have been having a tough time for two generations because governments have been making it harder for them to organize and function. As I said, government's task is to balance the interests of capital and labour.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Industry owns government, for the most part. Industry makes it hard to organize and function. And, regulations? Lucky if we got some 'cause they're passe, too. Government cannot solve all of our problems. Unions, because people died, and are willing to die--can begin to, at least, make us better societies. And, I would disagree with Hedges on this point--it is not 'the failure of our churches', that is at fault, it's the general failure of mankind to take better care of our collective life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happyness. In my estimation, anyway, God knows, I could be wrong. But, I'm willing to put my capital on it.

I think government's task is to provide public health, public education, and a minimum above-the-poverty-line income. For everyone of us, equally.

Owen Gray said...

Unions have a stake in the political process, lovingit. But even the NDP has not done a good job of soliciting their support.

liberalandlovingit! said...

I agree, Owen. Voice of the people and all that. Unions, our vote,
and B D S, are all we have. If you also have some faith- bonus.

Also, I didn't mean we should all get the same income- it is that the poors
should be lifted up, above the poverty line- at least. And, dental health care.

Owen Gray said...

On that score, lovingit, you may have noticed that former Conservative senator Hugh Segal -- who is now at the University of Toronto -- has been advocating a minimum basic income for some time.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Yes. I think he is honourable, for that. The time has come for world-wide that. It would help the economy and improve all of our quality of life. Austerity kills. Con cuts and shredding of regulations--kill. For tax breaks to the upper echelons. Schneider should be in prison not his fall people.
And, this deficit thing, Owen. PM Harper defined it as evil, the reporters repeat that mantra, and yet every economist I've heard say it is not harmful, and that it's actually quite helpful. Mention building a hospital or a road or school, and watch most Con voter's eyes glaze over.

Owen Gray said...

If debt is invested in necessary public infrastructure, lovingit, it pays dividends.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Owen? You've done a world of good by having this conversation with me. That's all I've ever really wanted from the internet. Ok, that and funny animal videos...and the occasional song.

An honest talk with a not-rude and very wise person.

Tip o'the hat to you, Owen.

Owen Gray said...

I can't claim much wisdom, lovingit. But I believe that if we can manage to talk to each other civilly, then there's hope.