I’ve had people ask me why I think Canada might be a better home choice than the US. There are a number of reasons, but the best one I can think of is summed up in military spending. The US spent more than $700 billion on our massive military-industrial complex in 2012, or $2,141 for every man, woman and child in the nation. That’s almost 5% of our GDP, a good portion of which is generated by, you guessed it, creating weapons and other material for war.
So what does Canada spend?
They spend one quarter of what the US pours into its military might, which leaves rather a lot left over for things like universal healthcare or infrastructure projects or whatever else Canada feels like spending money on. Their priorities and our priorities are clearly rather different.
I love the concept of “America.” My people have been here since before there was an America, helping to create that very unique concept. But, our execution of the idea? The choices that we’ve made and continue to make, more and more aggressively, as a nation increasingly ensnared with the military-industrial complex to prop up the economy and provide jobs? That I do not love. I’m not afraid to do the same thing my ancestors did—to look around and say, “I don’t like this,” and strike out for something new. We shall see.
School board makes singing O Canada mandatory
Students at Toronto Catholic schools will now have to deliver an a cappella rendition of the national anthem every morning, according to a 7-3 Thursday night vote by the Toronto District Catholic School Board.
The new requirement is intended to “encourage authentic patriotism” and satisfy “veterans who have fought for our freedom [and] would appreciate that students sing from their heart,” according to the motion put forward by trustee Angela Kennedy. (Andy Clark/Reuters)
Look, Canada, the reason many of us south of your border admire you is because you didn’t seem like the kind of country that could confuse forced anthem singing with “authentic patriotism.” You always seemed so reasonable, so logical, so moderately intelligent, but here you go another meter down the slippery slope of unthinking American-style conservatism, which has no trouble mouthing a patriotic song while spraying spit on everyone. Trust me when I tell you that national pride is far more authentic, powerful and energizing when it’s based on deeds rather than sloganeering. Don’t become America Lite. There’s nothing savory in that weak and watery brew.