Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 2009
Source: Penticton Western (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Penticton Western
Author: Florian Maurer


Re: Wolf Depner's column in the July 10 issue of the Penticton Western News
"Coming to terms with Canadian faults." I couldn't agree more with your
timely and highly necessary de-bunking of Canadian myths.

The interesting thing I observed since immigrating to Canada in 1975
is how this myth grew at the rate the reasons for it diminished: then
Canada was, along with Switzerland, at the top of international esteem
for its role as mediator, peacefulness and non-violent society. Like
the biblical David, Canada has stood up to the U.S.A. during the
Vietnam war and sheltered those that would have been forced to fight
in this unjust war. Yet there was hardly a hint of this constant
America-trashing that has become fashionable at the degree the social
realities of Canada and the U.S.A. were slowly disappearing, starting
with the Mulroney years and NAFTA.

Then we happily were as we were, we didn't have to define ourselves by
negative comparison. Now we have become ready to join the U.S. in just
about every one of their military adventures, right down to the "War
on Drugs" that has been lost decades ago, costs taxpayers billions and
breeds more violent crime at home and in the producer countries. Maybe
this is why we now have to evoke the Yankee-bogeyman so constantly:
we're not seeing much difference anymore and think that loud yelling
will fix it.

You have made many very valid points in your column, but let me add one that
pains me as an ex-European: NAFTA. The European Union is a political union
with the intent to raise every member to the highest common level, to make
life easier for its members, to tear down borders. They have a common
currency and you don't even have to slow down crossing from one country to
another. NAFTA tears all members down to the lowest labour and environmental
standards, and border hassles and lineups have increased drastically since
its creation.

Just now, Canada has decided to impose Visa requirements on one of its
member countries (Mexico). So much for solidarity. Shame! NAFTA is
only about money, not at all about the values that are making our
country special and that we still cherish when we sing O Canada. It's
time for some introspection and taking active interest in making
Canada, once again, the most tolerant, diverse, open, peace-loving,
fittest (-gasp!), smartest, nature-loving society.

Florian Maurer

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