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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Only in Canada, You Say!

Watching the Canadian News last night it dawned on me the items could never be mistaken for American news.

Here are some of the item types you would not find on American News broadcasts.

1. A carbon tax on fossil fuels was implemented in British Columbia. The Liberal Party would like to impliment a similar scheme federally when they come to power. The purpose of this tax is to encourage lower carbon emission options to protect the environment. It is recommended by some of the best scientific advice as a way of curbing CO2 emisions.There was no great anti-tax protest, just begrudging acceptance. This put gas over the $1.50 a litre.

2. Dr Henry Morgentaler was awared Canada's highest honour, The Order of Canada, for his lifetime of extending women's medical options. Beginning in the 60's he defied the law and went to jail many times for assuring women the right of choice in having an abortion. Largely, through his high profile struggle to run his abortion clinics, abortion came to be accepted in Canada as a medical decision which a women had a right to consider as a very personal option.

There has been some public comment (no politician has said much). A Catholic priest expressed his opinion of dissent on TV but there was not public outcry and the news media did not run around generating contraversy where none exists by interviewing every anti-abortion crazy they could find as American media so often does in the name of "balanced reporting". This morning there is some chatter that people should try to get the award withdrawn. This will die a-borning.

3,On the Canadian Military Base in Kandahar, Afghanistan Maureen Eykelenboom, the mother of deceased solder Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom, donated $80,000 as "Boomers legacy" to make medical emergency attention to local Afghans, particularly children. Apparently, her son was very interested in helping the local people. Her words are touching and telling,

"We in Canada, in our safety, in our beautiful country, in our land of opportunity, we have so much. And we need to learn in this world that (from) those to whom much is given, much is expected," . . .
Eykelenboom said people who put on a uniform, whether soldier, police officer or firefighter, and willingly risk their lives to protect strangers deserve Canadians' gratitude.
. . . . It doesn't take being killed to be a hero -- it takes being willing," she said.
Eykelenboom, who created "Boomer's Legacy" to remember her son's personalized efforts to help individual Afghans after the misery he witnessed in the field, handed Task Force Afghanistan a cheque Tuesday for $80,000.

I think her comment reflect Canada's years of expecting Canadian soldiers to be peacekeepers for "stranger" rather than warriors to defend "our freedom and way of life". Her act of selfless love and generosity of others, for which her son came to care . I found particularly touching.

4. A hockey story, in the middle of Summer, was one of the lead stories rivaling the Canada Day celebrations. The Stanley Cup was taken to Newfoundland by Dan Cleary, one of the Detroit Red Wing players ,so the people in his home down could enjoy it and celebrate the fact that one of their own was on the winning Detroit team. (This is a custom that every player can take the cup home during the years. It has even lovingly been taken to Russia). One can only guess at how important this occasion was to some when you hear a little lad in his best Newfoundand accent, with reverence, say "I's touch the Stanley Cup." Whereever it goes Canadians flock to see and touch this icon of hockey supremacy.

4. The televised celebration of Canada Day in the Ottawa was so typically Canadian. For the most part it was a musical celebration by Canadian groups where modest love of country was celebrated. There was little overstated patriot talk. People talked of what Canada meant to them as a multicultural country where the enjoy security and freedom. A recent survey indicated native born and immigrant Canadians readily share the same values. Those who worry that Canada's large immigrant population will change Canadian values or clash with them have nothing to fear.

What is always most striking both the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and Governor General , Her Excellency Right Honourable Michaelle Jean casually moved among the crowd and greeted people. There were no men in black surrounding them. (I do believe each has a single RCMP officer who accompanies them for security.) Even General Rick Hillier was there greeting people. It was his last day as Canada's top soldier. All in all it was a relaxed enjoyable day in the sun.

The diferences between Canadian and American culture is occasionally quite stark but most often they are subtle, a difference in attitude by degree rather than contrast.

We as a people still seem to reflect our mandate of our country and our community to seek "peace, order and good government."


At 12:18 p.m., Blogger Janet said...

I think all of those news items reflect the difference between Canadian journalism and American sensationalism (we no longer have journalism in this country as far as I can tell). As you say, our media people go out of their way to find many many comments and tell and retell the story for days weeks and months at a time, even to the point of resurrecting it years and years later.

We have minimal hockey coverage because we're jealous. I love hockey but they rarely air a match.

At 3:00 p.m., Blogger possum said...

I would easily migrate to Canada but I am addicted to having flowers in the winter, fresh tomatoes from my own plants for Christmas, and 10 days with snow on the ground if it is a BAD winter! I must confess, winters in Maine did not bother me, but then I was a kid and didn't know any better. sigh. Now I am old and spoiled and freeze half to death when the temps are in the 30s F. Don't you just pity me?????
On the serious side, tho, would you Canadians have put up with Bush for all these years???? I simply do not understand it!

At 4:14 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

Being a reporter, I can't go along with the first person's comments, but there is a big difference between your news and ours. :)

At 6:45 p.m., Blogger Mary said...


Yes, the differences between Canadian and American news is often subtle but there are times when there is quite a contrast.

I'm glad that our politicians were able to get out and shake the hands of Canadians on Canada Day. The security always seems to be absent, but I know it is there.

The boys and I do have a lot of fun. They were being little devils yesterday, but childhood is short and what is life if there's no fun involved. We did make a few memories and the strawberries were delicious. I hope the ones you pick are as sweet.


At 7:23 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--you have just enumerated some of the reasons this US citizen loves Canada!
I sadly reflect that for the most part news in the US has been dumbed down to the most inane stories. I do my part--I fire off indignant emails to my local TV stations. It hasn't changed the coverage, but I feel as though I am not a party to the stupidity.

At 5:13 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great post Philip. I do admit, I tune in nightly to MSNBC and CNN...but if they have a huge news story, I quickly change to CBC. I do get the honest and down to earth story...not the air brushed or added onto one.

Like you, I am a proud Canadian. That pride is quiet...not loud and over the top, but there all the same.

I watched the Ottawa celebrations...took part in the ones we had locally, and I also watch the hand over from General Hillier last night.

I was so proud of all of them..the politicians, the military..and her excellency. We are a blessed people.



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