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.
Playing his usual role, kvd has pointed me to a number of links:
- Introduction, Kill the Messengers, with some fixes on the current political debate in Canada
- On the Canadian equivalent of the Gallipoli legend, this is a Google search on the “Vimy Myth”.
- And here is Dr Don Lenihan’s Rescuing Policy: The Case for Public Engagement dealing with the setting of public policy in Canada. It’s free download but long; it seems to have some interesting stuff. kvd was hoping that Winton might comment.