Friday, July 01, 2005

Happy Canada Day!

Born in 1867, Canada is 138 years old today.

Happy Canada Day from The Reaction.

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  • Happy Canada day. In again sharp contrast to evolving liberalism in the Canadian government, the United States is being faced with evermore conservative and anti-American-constitutional thought. For those of us in the land to the south, I'd like to suggest a topic for dicussion deserving of attention on this same calendar day: the resignation - and ramifications therein - of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

    Hitting the media here on Canada Day, her resignation, and the need for a replacement, is sure to be influenced by the new popularity of dictatorialesque social superconservatism. A major concern of mine, as a woman and a physician, is the potential threat to protections for women's health and reproductive choice.

    I am hoping to spur a commentary and some thought on this topic by Michael and friends...?

    By Anonymous erica, at 1:17 PM  

  • Montreal style

    By Anonymous rachel, at 2:11 PM  

  • Happy Canada Day! Recent events that have made me particularly proud: Legal gay marriages, and Frank McKenna doing a kickass job so far down south of the border as ambassador. Oh and one other note: if you ever happen to be in Hong Kong on July 1st you won't feel like you're outside Canada, its huge.


    By Anonymous d.nash, at 4:21 PM  

  • According to a poll in the Economist, there is one thing the US and France are in agreement on: if they were forced to move to one other country in the world, they would both choose Canada.

    Interestingly, Australia proved to be the most popular country in the poll.

    I, for one, would like to know whether Canada feels more of an affinity for the Anglo-Saxon economic/social model or the Franco-German one. I know Canada may not have warm feelings towards the US, but is their way of life more similar to teh relatively liberal (classically speaking) Britain and Scandanavian countries, or the more protectionist states of France, Germany, Holland, etc.?

    By Blogger Nate, at 4:57 PM  

  • Or does no one care about Canada in the first place?

    By Blogger Nate, at 5:02 PM  

  • Well, it's certainly true that many people don't care about Canada...

    No, that's not the right way to put it. Generally, Canada seems to be well-liked. It's just that we exist within America's shadow, and so we're often seen as a junior partner to the world's superpower. I remember living in Germany back in the '80s and finding that so many Germans simply thought that Canada was largely indistinguisable from the U.S. That aroused my nationalist ire, naturally, but the truth is that many people just don't think much about Canada at all.

    One of the problems we face is the lack of a defining identity. We're a two-ocean country that spans five time-zones. We're largely urban, with most of our population living in a few metropolitan areas along the American border. We have two official languages. Quebec is home to a powerful separatist movement. The rest of Canada is disunited and prone to regionalism. We're sort of American, but sort of not. As I've written before here, we're simultaneously American, non-American, and anti-American. But we're also linked to Britain and hence to Europe. And we're also linked, by way of immigration, to East Asia and other non-Western parts of the world.

    So, Nate, I'm not sure about our affinities. I'd say the best distinction to use is between liberal capitalism and social capitalism. In those terms, we're somewhere in between America on the one side and Old Europe on the other. We're certainly more liberal than Scandinavia, for example, but we also have popular social programs like public health care that distinguishes us from the U.S.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 12:38 PM  

  • Erica,

    In response to your comment about reproductive choice, etc., I have an opinion that is outside of the liberal mainstream here. I believe, as a matter of policy, that abortion should be legal ("safe, legal, and rare" as the Democrats put it). However, I have a problem with treating it as a constitutional right under the US Constitution. There have been lots of criticisms of Roe v. Wade (not all from conservatives) as a legal opinion. I believe abortion is essentially a political issue, at least in the context of the US Constitution. Thus, while I am not anxious to see Roe v. Wade overturned, I think that, in the long run, it would not necessarily be a disaster for pro-choice proponents. In the United States, despite our penchant for litigation, Americans typically have more respect for legislation passed through the democratic process than for edicts from a non-democratic court. If Roe were overturned, some states would presumably make abortion illegal. But certainly not all and, maybe not as many as one would expect. Eventually, the conservatives would have to live with the political consequences of banning abortion which, given polls that suggest Americans generally support legalized abortion with some restrictions, would ultimately hurt the cause of banning abortion.

    I recognize the counter argument that, in the meantime, women would potentially suffer. But, IMO, counting on courts to maintain abortion rights in the US is a losing proposition in the long run.

    By Anonymous Marc Schneider, at 2:25 PM  

  • Thanks, Michael. I just don't meet that many Canadians.

    Marc, I would agree with that assessment of the abortion issue. Almost all western European countries resolved the issue through legislation, and it seems that is what we should do. The only problem is if pro-lifers try to change federal law to conform to their views, as they are doing with gay-marriage.

    By Blogger Nate, at 6:13 PM  

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  • By Blogger haydar, at 10:44 AM  

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