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 This morning there is some chatter that people should try to get the award withdrawn.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."