Back from Canada with some canadian views

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So I just returned from a quick visit to Toronto, more precisely Etobicoke and the Muscoka lake area. As I climbed out of bed in the apartment I booked for my short stay – a place similar to those DelSuites apartments – I made my way to my family gathering. It was my uncles 80th birthday and all but one of his kids were there with husbands, wives and kids. Needless to say as most large(ish) family gatherings go it was in turns fun, stressful, disheartening and uplifting with to much eating and drinking thrown into the mix. Being the avid DD reader, news and political junkie and lefty I am lots of my conversations wormed their way towards Left and Right, Tea baggers, environmental issues, taxes, religion and all those topics mothers tell you not to discuss in polite company.

In the main most of my northern family has a rather dim view of our nation, not our people individually but our nation as a whole. I’d venture to say they look at the U.S. in much the same way as many of us here at DD do. What gives us the right to play big brother to the rest of the world and whats more does anyone with more than two brain cells communicating with one another really believe in manifest destiny, divine right etc. etc. they are tired of us. China they believe is or will be the dominant nation for the foreseeable future. They see massive upheavals ahead for all of mankind as well as life on earth as a hole. Melting glaciers, rising waters, increasing population and demands on food resources worry them as well as any number of other issues we all worry about.

Individually opinions vary greatly on particular subjects. One cousin, Mike, holds libertarian beliefs but hasn’t thought them through to well. He believes like many that government should be limited to protecting the nation from foreign aggressors only and has no right to get involved in anything more. My father quickly shut down his arguments with a few simple statements. How would you like to pay every farmer and property owner from Bordeaux to Mississauga a toll to get a bottle of wine, or next door neighbor to get to the store two doors down. How would you like to individually pay for all the tutors your kids have had or the Dr’s you’ve seen. He shut up pretty quickly and had lots of food for thought to take home with him. Cousin Rob is a good one, intelligent with well thought out views. He has little respect for the U.S., loves us as people but thats about it. He has a pretty neat balancing act going with right and wrong though. he hates the idea of Guantanamo bay, eavesdropping, indefinite imprisonment without charge and all and doesn’t understand why we don’t do something about it or at least make a bigger fuss but Rob also played apologist for what I’d call the excessive force used by police during the summit in Toronto last summer saying that the cops were for the most part protecting themselves and that the demonstrators/rioters provoked their response. When I pointed out the slippery slope he was surfing on he acknowledged it but maintained that the cops had to do what they had to do. It’s a tough one, his wife is an officer so he sees it from a unique perspective. Finally there’s Clair, Clair spent his career working on oil rigs as a rough neck. He’s worked in such lovely destinations as the Canadian arctic, Russia, Vietnam,The UAE, The U.S. Saudi Arabia and a few others I’ve forgotten. On BP he scoffs, he and all of his rough neck friends were and are speechless with the entire episode, from BPs failure to do routine tests of the BOP, to the blatant and obvious under reporting of the volumes involved and more unbelievably our governments quiescence and culpability. We got to talking about peak oil, production costs of Saudi oil v. Oil Sands oil in Canada ( something like $2 per barrel v. $23 respectively) of the rumor of Japanese freighters are filling up with Great Lake water for the return trip to Asia and calling it to ballast and selling it as drinking water, how his government is selling resources to China like everyone else only to have those resources re-imported to Canada as finished goods costing good manufacturing jobs.

I’ve always loved Canada and Canadians, I used to get annoyed at my dad for becoming a U.S. citizen when I was a kid and robbing me of the right to be a Canadian. Now I waffle, I could probably emigrate, I’ve housing, and I could always look at K5 Mortgage for help, I could get a promise of a job and no strikes against me here but as my step mother says ‘those thoughts are magical thinking’ the grass in the great white north is no greener, they have all the same issues as we what with wing nuts, and corporate pirates, declining income and increasing environmental issues, war and corruption.

Ah well it’s sorta good to be home and really good to sleep in my own bed.