Tuesday, July 06, 2004

HEART OF THE COUNTRY WATCH

Back in February I ruminated as to the location of the 'centre' or 'heart' of the country. That post generated a significant number of comments that added to the discussion, unfortunately they were lost when I switched my commenting service.

Anyway, in her Canada Day speech on Parliament Hill, the Governor General weighed in on the debate. She declared the the "heart" of the country to be at "the forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers." The G-G then, slightly more specifically, comes down on the side of The Middleman who, in February, argued Winnipeg was the centre. I must admit that the Governor General's opinion has weight and perhaps if I could hear her argue her position a little more I might come around. Further, we may be able to distinguish between 'centre' and 'heart'; however, I have to keep up my credentials as an urban easterner so I maintain my original stance that Yonge Street from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe is the centre of the country.

Posted by Matthew @ 11:23 AM :: (0) comments

Monday, July 05, 2004

CONSERVATIVE RESURGENCE

Calgary Grit looks at the election results and says, "I think a lot of people in the Conservative camp are losing focus here" and that "this wasn't the terrible loss for the Tories everyone is making it out to be." Now, I know both the Grit and I are liberals, and further, I live in Ontario (gasp) but as the Grit says, six months ago the Conservatives would have been ecstatic if someone told them what the election result would be.

Further, the way I see it, is that the Conservatives are now where they had wanted to be at the end of the 2000 election: a united right under a strong leader, a solid breakthrough in Ontario, and a Liberal minority. Basically, the Stockwell Day debacle, along with the wily and brilliant politicking of Jean Chretien, set the Conservatives back one election cycle, but now they're back on track.

I can't say I feel thrilled with the Conservatives increased fortunes but in the long run I think the result may be better for our Parliament. In the meantime, I might quietly suggest that Conservatives look at where they were four years ago when evaluating the electoral outcome.

Update: the next afternoon- These thoughts also seem to be the growing consensus amongst intelligent conservatives.

Posted by Matthew @ 12:38 PM :: (0) comments

MANDATORY SELF-REFERENTIAL SITE NEWS POST

At some point today the 10,000th visitor will view Living in a Society (sorry, no special prize if its you). I didn't know what to expect when I started this blog in October but I'm happy with where it has taken me and I plan to keep going, even if summer-time output is rather diminished. I feel the urge to thank people for their readership but that's rather overdone in cliche posts like this one, and really, if there wasn't something here that you at least moderately enjoyed you wouldn't be reading, right? Idealistically, I think the quote from Russeau at the top of this page sums up my motivation for blogging. Narcissistically of course its my need to see my name and writing in print. Barring the collapse of society or a drastic decline in my ego, this blog will continue.

Posted by Matthew @ 12:18 PM :: (0) comments

CANADA DAY ROAD TRIP

I spent my Canada Day long weekend on a road trip of Eastern Ontario, the principal destination of which was Ottawa with a brief stop in Kingston. We drove from Newmarket to the capital along highway 7 to avoid the traffic of the 401. Driving up and down the 401, as I so often do, and living stretched out along the U.S border, as most of us do, its easy to forget how much of the country is out there. Driving on a two lane raod between Norwood, Madoc and Maberly one is reminded of how vast this country is and how beautiful this country is, both its land and its people.

I had never been in Ottawa for Canada Day; being there was awesome. We spent much of the day on Parliament Hill listening to the Prime Minister the Governor General and various excellent Canadian musical performers. I thought that the Prime Minister actaully spoke quite well, of course my opinion is deeply coloured by the atmosphere that affects a nationalist like me on Canada Day. As the PM spoke I couldn't help but think that he (or a member of his staff) had been reading Warren Kinsella's blog over the past week and decided to take the advice to describe Canada as a nation second to none. The Governor General, whom I adore, actually disappointed me somewhat with the delivery of her speech. She was hard to hear and everytime she looked down at her text her big hat covered her face. The text of her speech, however, reads quite well:

Listening to these new Canadians and watching how they embrace Canada is a reminder of the enormous benefits we get from our citizenship. While we often think we are a young country, we are one of the oldest democracies in the world, with a prosperity and freedom that we must not take for granted. Today is a good day to ask, "What does this country mean to me? What can I offer that no one else can?"

Twice in one day I got to stand up on Parliament Hill and sing the national anthem with about 45,000 other Canadians. I hadn't had on opportunity to do that since I was outside Notre-Dame basillica in Montreal for Trudeau's funeral and rarely have I felt so united with my fellow citizens.

In these post election days I'm reading a lot of bitter commentaries from Canadians of all political persuasions from all across the country. Conservative westerners lash out at the perceived ignorance of the liberal east and the latter reacts in kind. NDP supporters feel betrayed by turn-coat leftists while others hasten to point out that the separatists ran rampant in Quebec. Yet in the evening on July 1st George Elliot Clarke delivered a brilliant and rousing Canada Day poem to those assembled on the Hill. The entire poem was wonderful and I'm attempting to find the full text, but the line of Clarke's that should resonate across the land was, "the government of Canada is not Grit or Tory or Bloc or NDP; the Government of Canada is you and me." When Clarke concluded with that he got some of the loudest cheers of the day.

That line is as much a reminder to our politicians to work for the citizenry as it is for the citizenry to work together for the country. Cheers to a Parliament elected by us, to represent us. Cheers to Canada.

Posted by Matthew @ 11:11 AM :: (0) comments