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Dear America, the View from Canada

My apologies for taking so long to write but things have been quite busy up here in the Great White North.

The ruling Conservatives – yes, contrary to popular belief, rightwing governments do get elected in Canada from time to time – are celebrating their fourth year of minority rule. Some of our finest past and present Members of Parliament on the government side are celebrating more*sniff* than others, it*sniff* would seem…

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We are also getting close to our self-imposed Afghanistan withdrawal date of 2011, which I am more than sad to say is supported by a majority of my fellow citizens, according to some polls. I know what you’re thinking: who puts a time-limit on a war? Who gives the enemy such a free slice of inspiration?

What country would send its troops (an ongoing debate, given how we have painted ourselves as ‘peace-keepers, not warriors’ over the past half-century) to a foreign land and take on the new global threat on the front lines, only to call ‘time’s up’?

What nation would allow its military men and women – one of the highest per-capita as far as Allied nations participating in the War on Terror goes – to die in the name of fighting terror and saving the future of a foreign culture, only to have their sacrifice ultimately mean nothing after a certain day?

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Oh, right. Iraq. Sorry.

Still on Afghanistan, a story that really isn’t is playing out. The government has refused to release classified documents regarding the possibility that some prisoners who were transferred from Canadian to Afghani custody were tortured, and allegations that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Tory government were aware, to members of the opposition parties.

By now the buzz is such that if Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff does get to see them behind closed doors, he must claim some sort of malfeasance on the part of the Tories, or he will go down in our political history as the Former Harvard Professor Who Cried Wolf.

By the way, after he loses the next election, feel free to take Ignatieff back.

Anyway, even with all of this going on, some of us have been watching your scene with interest.

So, how’s that Change thing going for you? Jeez, we can only imagine the odd sound when millions of Americans slapped foreheads in a collective ‘whoops!’

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Look, we dig the whole ‘first’ this and ‘first’ that. You folks thought it would be cool to have a Black president. We’ve had a woman P.M. (Don’t ask how that went.)

But has America become so politically polarized since 2000 that quality as a requirement has been lost on both sides of the fence? It seems to be but one of the many divisive issues down there.

I see the after-effects of the Slick Willie years are there for all to see. Clinton’s ability to strip the Oval Office of morals, his success in lowering the bar of standards you (and the world) forever see in the Office of the President of the United States of America was on display with Obama’s flippant ‘tea-baggers’ comment.

To see a president of your country so openly and willingly turn up his nose at millions of his own citizens is quite unique. What’s more, for that group of people to consist not of radicals or overtly subversive anti-American elements but of your senior citizens, clergy, youth, small business owners, and other so-called ‘average Americans’ whose message is nothing more outrageous than your own Constitution, well…that does make some of us wonder what is going on.

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Regarding your government’s new habit of becoming business owners, it makes some of us wonder if the warnings that we have been shouting for decades were all for naught.

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Canadians have a long history of being owners of our own television station, rail lines, etc. So-called federal government-owned Crown Corporations have been the high-tax wolf in ‘it’s our culture’ clothing for a long time, and no good has come from it.

I don’t want to tell you folks how to live, and I never thought that I, a Canadian, would have to inform America of this, but: SOCIALISM DOES NOT WORK. Stop what you’re doing. Don’t do it. Halt!

Take it from someone who knows: once you go down that path, the best you can hope for is a Conservative/Republican government that must rule from the left just to stay in power.

And that ain’t pretty, my friends.


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