Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Parochialism and decline?

Canada has suffered from too much of both in its historical reforming and conservative intellectual traditions. We seem to be able to rid ourselves of either.

Alan's comment:

If Gzowsky were still on a panel of west central Saskatchewan beat poets - the North Battleford school - would spend the hour from 10:00 am to 11:00 am this morning dissecting what was said about Canada, criticize it, complain about the war on terror and geopolitics generally - but still end up giggling about how nice it is to be noticed.
Andrew Potter on the Dominion Institute's Vision 2020 project:
It is pretty amazing. This country has a healthy and relatively well-functioning democracy, is rich and getting richer, is in the best fiscal position of any developed country, hasn't had a recession in 15 years, the dollar is strong, and still everyone thinks we're doomed. It is like the spirit of George Grant has so infused this country's punditocracy, they don't really feel like they're being nationalists unless they declare the country finished.
This criticism could apply to almost every contribution to the 2020 project.

When I when I first heard about the project, I was interested. The partners were encouraging, the Dominino Institute, with its committment to Canadian History, and the Toronto Star, my favourite daily newspaper. I expected the invited thinkers and pundits to put forward ideas and prescriptions for Canada's future. Instead every entry I have read has been unremittingly declinist, pessimistic, and completely detached from Canada's present or past. It is as if each successive writer has taken it upon his or herself to outdo the other in presenting a completely imagined dystopian representation of a future country.

The only exception (of the entries I have been able to stomach reading) has been Mark Kingwell's. Instead of projecting doom for the country based on little more than speculation, Kingwell identifies a problem of serious concern (the decline of democratic participation and institutions) and proposes actual ideas to engage with, and address, the problem.

Posted by Matthew @ 12:15 p.m.

Read or Post a Comment

Well, that's us. I wonder if it's just a coincidentally overriding character trait of the majority of races that settled in this country. Or maybe it's something in the water. My Mother's family were the first Mennonite settlers to Manitoba in the early 1870's, while my wife's parents came from Portugal in the late 1950's. Yet both families have precisely the same outlook: this country is going to hell in a handcart.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ October 18, 2006 11:08 p.m. #
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