How Much (or How Little) It Matters

I tend to do most of my radio listening in the car. One night this week I was listening to CBC Radio Overnight, which is a rebroadcast via satellite of programs from the previous day from other public broadcasters. I don’t remember the program, its origin, or even the topic being discussed, but one intervener made a comment to the effect that, generally, citizens tend to view their own nation as being the best country in the world.

Interesting point, I thought. And I recalled the pride many Canadians felt when, for 7 consecutive years, the U.N.’s Human Development Report ranked Canada first. Yet why don’t I find myself bursting at the seams with love for Canada? I am NOT saying that I believe some other country to be better than this one. Rather, I’m saying that the notion of loving a country, and upholding it as better than all others, just doesn’t make much sense to me.

I was just born here. And I am very grateful that I wasn’t born in a country that’s war-torn, desperately poor, or oppressive towards its citizens. But from that to make the leap to pledging my love for Canada? Sing it, Tina: “What’s love got to do with it?!”

I’m certainly not apathetic about Canada, either. I do care about policies that will affect the citizery of this and other countries. I do get mildly depressed when I “lose my elections” (from the French, “perdre ses elections”, meaning that the candidate or party for whom one votes doesn’t win). I do care about the quirky combination of features that makes Canada unlike any other place on Earth — care enough, in fact, to help in finding ways of preserving those distinctions and denouncing ideas and ideologies I consider repugnant. While I do think some things are better here, I know that not all is as good as it could be. The people of other countries — England, the U.S., France… — could teach us a few valuable lessons in what I like to call savoir vivre. But, given my concern for the respect of others, those people would need to be asked first…

Unless some reactionary political force were to take over, I will probably never relinquish my Canadian citizenship …simply because it’s the devil I know. And who said that hell is hot? This devil is currently blanketed under a thick cover of snow.