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Has Canada lost it's place in the world?

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  • Has Canada lost it's place in the world?

    While on the plane over to Japan I was reading "While Canada Slept: How we lost our place in the world" by Andrew Cohen.

    Cohen follows the careers of three very influential Canadians (Hume Wrong, Lester Pearson and Norman Robertson) what he calls the Renaissance Men. He basically makes the case (which is fairly obvious) that Canada has in fact lost it's way in the world and has absolutely zero clout in the world today but it was not always so.

    Back 30, 40 years ago Canada was (as one US diplomat pointed out) "punching above it's weight". Whether through Peace Keeping (like the Suez Crisis, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Nigeria, Rwanda etc), acting as a mediator at the U.N., or just generally being a nice nation (giving generously in foreign aid), Canada was far more invloved on the world stage compared to it's size (population and economically).

    But now our military forces are in shambles (in 1962 we had 123,430 battle ready troops in 2002 it was down to 50,684) , our troops are awesome but we don't have near enough of them and their equipment is garbage. Our few planes are grounded due to lack of spare parts, our ships are to few and far between, subs are in questionable shape, and don't even get me started on the helicopters!

    Our foreign aid is shrinking every year and it seems as a nation we hardly have any backbone for anything anymore. We borrow bombs from the US when we do go to war and we have to rent planes to get move our troops when we want to go to war.

    We depend on the U.S. for security and therefore have forfeited our voice in world affairs. What the heck happened and was I a part of it!?!
    Last edited by hachiroku; 2005-02-17, 03:38 PM.

  • #2
    An Honest Reply

    Canada Has Spent All It's Efforts On Making Itself Something Of A Multicultural Country Instead Of Spending Time On Other Matters.
    The Country Itself Is Falling Apart It Has No Large Cities With Clout Unless You Buy Into Hype And Gimmicks.
    While Other Countries We're Making Technology Advances Canada Was Snoozing Take It From Me I Know I Lived There For 40 Years Yeah That's Right The Big 4 0 .
    There Are No Wordly Establishments There That Are Canadian Everything Is Done Less Expensively But Since 2000 Things Have Changed Only Little Such As In Toronto.
    Politicians and others realized the cities are in shambles bridges and roads the economy there is no BIG attractions there most American's find the place boring except for shopping.
    The Place Is Not World Class It's Just A Mixture Of People Whom Struggle Daily To Make Ends Meet I had yet to see harmony .
    Most Whom Immigrate There Are Longing To Enter The Usa As Canada Has An Ample Supply Of American Programs On Television.
    Most Major Cities That Have Historic Pasts Have Become Relics Atmosphere Is Dreadful Especially In Toronto And Places Such As Winnipeg And So On.
    Most Cities Are Not Clean Nor Safe Unless You Go To The Outskirts Most Of The Time.
    There Are Many Diffrent Ways To Say What Has Happened To The Military Simply They Rely On Usa Support.
    What's The Matter With Canada?
    As I Said They Missed All Opportunities In The 1970's To Expand And It Is Unfortunate.
    Now those whom disagree go ahead but please remember I lived there 40 years and I traveled right across the country.
    Last edited by electric_japan; 2005-02-17, 06:31 PM. Reason: comment


    • #3
      I think it depends on how you look at it. From a foreign policy perspective, I would definitely agree. Under Mulroney's Conservatives, Canada essentially forfeited its military independence and with it a great deal of its foreign policy clout. While Mulroney still came out as a strong voice in favour of economic sanctions against the Apartheid system in South Africa (unlike Maggie and Ronnie), the halcyon days of Pearsonian diplomacy were well over by this time. And in the 1990s under Chretien, Canada essentially became isolationist while its military hardware and morale crumbled.

      As unbelievable as it may sound now, it was Canada who in the late-1950s developed what was then the world's most sophisticated fighter jet, the Avro Arrow. The project was scrapped by the Diefenbaker government (under pressure from Washington, it is rumoured) but technology stemming from the Arrow project was to have an enormous influence on the planes to come.

      Most Canadians, I think, support the idea of revamping the military and returning to a starker role as a global policeman. However, most Canadians also opposed the US invasion of Iraq, and considering the powerful ties that bind Canada to its southern neighbour, reinvigourating the Canadian military while maintaining foreign policy autonomy will be a tall order. Paul Martin is looking all too keen to link arms with Washington in its development of a missile defense system that will not only cost a fortune and has never been proven to work, but will also provoke old Cold War rivalries once again while providing no protection from the sort of attack that shook the world on September 11, 2001. Most Canadians, I believe, oppose this, and the easy way out is to bury one's head in the sand, Jean Chretien-style, and ignore the issues. Canada needs Pearsonian leadership once again, but unfortunately it seems to be in short supply.

      Having said this, I think Canada continues to lead the way in other areas, including aboriginal rights, gay rights, sensible drug laws, multiculturalism and language rights. Canada's performance in these areas has certainly not been perfect, but Pierre Trudeau's much-vaunted "Just Society" continues to serve as a guiding light for Canadian liberalism. Canada was only the third country in the world to recognize same-sex marriages (now recognized in almost all the provinces). Support for sovereignty in Quebec is as low as it has ever been since the 1960s - the bilingualism experiment has been, I would say, a great success - and Canada continues to distinguish itself as a humane society and a bastion of respect for human rights. In this sense, Canada continues to serve as a model for progressive governance.

      One area in which Canada reputation considerably outstrips its performance, however, has been on the environmental front. Canada consumes fossil fuel and emits greenhouse gases at about the same rate as the United States (at a higher rate than Western Europe and Japan), and, in spite of all the protest, continues to fell its coastal rainforests at an alarming pace. The problems is that whereas in a country like Japan, where the high population density makes environmental damage made apparent to all, the enormity of Canada's geographical territory means that most of the clearcutting is invisible to all but the people engaged in it. It's merely kept out of sight.

      Professional sports in Canada are of course in a lamentable state (Adieu, nos Expos! (sniff!)) but then again pro sports has become ridiculous worldwide.

      Part of me wants to go back to Canada and get into politics - try to shake things up a la PET. Another part of me wants to buy a little shack on Galiano Island, weave hemp bracelets, write haikus and make the rest of the world go away.


      • #4
        Great Posts !

        Very interesting indeed.

        I heard that Canada is becoming a bastion for aspiring Al Qaeda wanna be's.
        I'm not sure it's true or not but when you consider how liberal and open Canada is to just about anyone then statements like what I just mentioned above sound pretty plausible.
        Has anyone heard of such a story ?


        • #5

          Last edited by electric_japan; 2005-02-19, 07:54 PM. Reason: comment


          • #6
            Please stop posting here, Electric Japan. For the love of God.


            • #7
              Originally posted by mcalpine
              Very interesting indeed.

              I heard that Canada is becoming a bastion for aspiring Al Qaeda wanna be's.
              I'm not sure it's true or not but when you consider how liberal and open Canada is to just about anyone then statements like what I just mentioned above sound pretty plausible.
              Has anyone heard of such a story ?
              Where exactly did you hear this? I've heard people suggest this, but I have yet to hear anything to suggest that Canada is any more of a bastion for aspiring terrorists than anywhere else. The sense I get is that this notion has been spread by right-wingers in the United States (and to a certain extent in Canada) who wish to demonstrate the need to crack down on immigration.

              True, Canada has had some disasters in its recent history related to terrorism. The 1985 Air India bombing, engineered by Canadian-based Sikh extremists, has invariably been the worst. More recently, the 2001 trial of Montreal resident Ahmed Ressam in Los Angeles on a charge of smuggling explosives into the United States proved to be an embarassment to the Canadian government. (Ressam had applied for asylum in Canada in 1994, claiming that he had been tortured in his native Algeria, and the Quebec authorities essentially lost track of him.) And another hig-profile case has involved Manickavasagam Suresh, a Sri Lankan national based in Toronto who has helped raise funds for the Tamil Tigers separatist organization. A recent Supreme Court of Canada judgement ruled 9-0 that refugees can be deported to countries where they could face torture when there is a serious risk to Canadian security - a ruling stemming from the Suresh case.

              So in sum, Canada has certainly served as a base for terrorists in the past, but I think it is unreasonable to suggest that Canada is any more of a haven for terrorists than, say, the United States is. After all, the Ramzi Yousef, the main plotter of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, had established himself in New Jersey after being granted refugee status at JFK. Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehi planned the 9-11 attacks from their base in Hollywood, Florida. And pro-Israel extremist groups such as Kach and Kahane Chai rely on support from sympathizers in the United States and Europe.

              Canada is certainly a country that takes the threat of terrorism seriously. After all, Canada has its own history of domestic terrorism, with the FLQ Crisis in the late-1960s that culminated in the kidnapping of British attache James Cross and Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte (and the murder of the latter) that led then-PM Trudeau to invoke the War Measures Act in 1970. It turned out to be a much smaller deal than many thought at the time, but during this very tense time many Canadians seriously thought their country was teetering on the edge of civil war. Memories of the "October Crisis" still run deep, especially in Quebec.

              That being said, however, Canada prides itself on being a nation open to immigrants, and when one has an open society, one runs the risk of letting a few bad apples every now and then. Such is the case of all the western democracies. And in Canada's defense, it has actively pursued terrorists in a transparent fashion, whereas in much of the rest of the world, thanks to corrupt law enforcement and pliant judicial system, terrorists fall through the cracks much more easily than they do in a place like Canada.


              • #8
                This is all based on the assumption that Canada mattered in the first place.

                Sorry, Kurogane.


                • #9
                  I think Canada falls down in the whole policing department. CSIS our equvalient to the FBI is not even as good as the RCMP and the RCMP as a national police force is under funded and under staffed.

                  The problem with Canada is it is just so big that many things go on that nobody knows about!


                  • #10
                    BTW Zap,

                    I think you should move back and run for office. You have the kind of grasp on history and politics that is sorely lacking in Ottawa these days.

                    There really isn't any party that truly represents Canadians. It's a shame because I think Canada has a lot to offer the world.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hachiroku
                      BTW Zap,

                      I think you should move back and run for office. You have the kind of grasp on history and politics that is sorely lacking in Ottawa these days.

                      There really isn't any party that truly represents Canadians. It's a shame because I think Canada has a lot to offer the world.
                      Thanks, Eight-Six! That's high praise. I don't plan on always being an armchair politician (or in this country a kotatsu politician), but like you say, the choice of parties leaves much to be desired. The Libs are bloated and ineffective, and the New Conservatives (Reform/Alliance/C-CRAP/whatever) and the federal NDP (Not Destined for Power) are simply too silly to vote for. But hey, it could be worse. We could be stuck with the Dems and the GOP. Or, for that matter, the LDP.

                      Wanna start a political party? There seem to be enough disgruntled, vaguely centre-left expat Canadians in this country to put one together.


                      • #12
                        I up for starting a new political party for Canada. We can call it the "Canucks Party" or the "Take Off to the Great White North Party" or the "North of the 39th Party"...

                        any other ideas for names?

                        BTW I don't mind being a "behind the scenes" guy who offs people who get to long as I get free beer. And I am not talking sissy beer like that Molson crap that we export south, but real Canadian beer like Sleeman's!


                        • #13
                          Sleeman's? Pshaw, I say! In our political party we drink the strong brew from La Belle Province: La Maudite, La Fin du Monde (10% alcohol), Trois Pistoles. C'est de la bonne biere, tabarnouche!!!

                          As for a party name, we need something with a really catchy acronym, like the Socialist Progressive Alliance Movement, or the Allied Reform Socialist Enterprise. Something like that.

                          Your turn.


                          • #14
                            Canada Ops out of the missle shield !!! Hurray !

                            Good move for Canada. I hope this action precipitates into other positive actions for the sake of Canada and her people. Good move Martin !


                            • #15
                              Yeah I think opting out of the missle defense is a good idea. I love how the US Ambassador to Canada went off about it. That guy is always saying negative things about Canada...not really Ambassador material IMO.

                              I think Ottawa should send him home to Washington with a note that says "If and when Paul Cellucci can play nice...he is more than welcome to return to Canada...if not why not make him ambassador to Iraq!"

                              Canada is better off not bowing to pressure on things like Missle Defense and Star Wars. Although I think Ottawa should have made 25B committment to the forces and not 12.