Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Morning Forum – Australia’s apparent rediscovery of Canada

Back in 2009, I rediscovered Canada. It had been growing on me for a little while, starting with an interest in the war of 1812. Then I went there on a visit.

I am not sure when I lost Canada. Growing up, I had Canadian relatives on both sides of my family. The place was quite real. At university I had Canadian friends who created a desire in me to go and work for Frontier College. I actually went to the Canadian High Commission to inquire about emigration to Canada or at least a long term working stay. By then, the rules that had facilitated movement among the UK and dominions had begun the break down. I found the immigration and work rules very complicated and put the matter aside.

Then during the Australian nationalist phase of the 1970s when the old links were effectively written out, Canada dropped off the Australian horizon. Recently, it’s been coming back. My own rediscovery is an example. Mr Abbott’s conversion a more recent one.

Canada is far more complex than Australia because of its longer and more complicated history, yet Australians are often struck by the continued similarities. I thought therefore that for this Monday forum might focus on Canada.

Obviously I have my own views, but I want to leave the forum as open as possible.  So just a few questions:

  • What are your perceptions of Canada? What images (if any) come to mind when the word Canada is mentioned?
  • What do you see as the similarities/differences between the two countries? 
  • Canada is often seen as left of Australia on the political spectrum. How, then, do you explain the apparent love affair between Australian PM Abbott and Canadian PM Harper?  Do both countries suffer from inferiority complexes?

I am not sure that these are the best questions. I leave it to you as to how you should respond.

Update One

Playing his usual role, kvd has pointed me to a number of links:

And for a quick scan, here is one of my traditional Canadian favourites, Christopher Moore's History News along with Randy’s A Bit more Detail.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am currently reading "Rescuing Policy: The Case For Public Engagement" by a Canadian author Don Lenihan. I got to his free download page http://www.ppforum.ca/rescuing-policy via a link on that Canadian blog I sent you earlier Jim.

I thought I'd have a read, partly because there is some claim to Australian input, partly because if I like it I thought I'd probably point Winton at it for comment.

Early days yet, but you did ask for comment. And if anyone is interested do a Google search on "Vimy Myth" to see what I think is a quite fascinating parallel (regarding "national character") to our own ANZAC story from WWI

kvd

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, kvd. At this point, I have just skimmed the first part of the Lenihan book. It looks interesting.

The "Vimy Myth" does have interesting parallels with Australia.

Will bring the links up in the main post. On a totally unrelated matter, the problems in the NSW GPS have been distracting from my main writing because of my inputs in other fora and especially the Green & Gold rugby forum.

With 124 page views,75 sourced from Green & Gold, that football post of mine is by far the most heavily visited post of the last week!

Anonymous said...

To disturb the deathly silence:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXtVrDPhHBg

And I must add that Canada is one of the few countries on earth that I wouldn't mind sharing a common border with. Along with New Zealand :)

kvd

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you for disturbing the deathly silence, kvd! Enjoyed that piece.