Back when I was just the Diplomad, in the days before Diplomad 2.0, I vented a lot about Canada. I referred to our neighbor to the North as a "snow-bound, Sharia-besotted Botswana," and as the most "feminized country on earth," and made fun of their version of US-Canada history, especially their telling of the War of 1812--oh, please!! I never liked Trudeau or what he represented, and while average Canadians seemed quite nice and decent folks, many of their politicians were something else.
I also referred to Canada as "Kansas ruled by Massachusetts." Too harsh? Yeah, maybe, as I don't know of any Canadian politician who has left his young female aide to drown in a pond, while he swam away. I also expressed regret at the passing of the Red Ensign, and its replacement by a washed out, semi-pink, post-heroic Maple Leaf. A leaf? Really? You couldn't have picked something a little more, I don't know, macho? A polar bear? An arctic wolf? An angry otter? Or at least Pamela Anderson?
On the positive side of the ledger, I, however, did express boundless admiration for the Canadians who stormed the beaches at Dieppe and Normandy, and who took some of the highest per capita losses of any nation in either World War. I also grew up admiring Lorne Greene and William Shatner, two Canadian kosher exports to the USA who became iconic figures in American culture--along with Howie Mandel, that is. They, however, could have kept Richard Dreyfuss.
OK, I am here, not to apologize exactly, but to say that maybe, maybe there was more to Canada than the young(er) Diplomad was willing to admit. Certainly their last elections seem to indicate there is something going on in Canada that we would do well to examine and perhaps emulate (not that health care system though; that's not for us, nor are their insane "hate speech" laws). They had some tough campaigning, lots of pundits calling it all wrong, and a very decent result. Stephen Harper, whom I met some years ago very briefly, won, fair and square, a pretty amazing victory for a parliamentary system. He's got a clear cut majority government, and many of the loony types went down in flames: the odious and divisive BQ among them. Harper is not a fancy talker, but he does speak clearly and he did a very good job of laying out a relatively conservative choice for Canadians--and they took it. Well, a big chunk of them did, Canada, after all, has its versions of Manhattan, Boston, and San Francisco, places that never seem to give up on lefty politics regardless of the facts on the ground.
Perhaps even more impressive than this election is how Canada has weathered the economic storm. They are doing a lot better than we are. They took some tough decisions years ago to get their finances in order, and they did it. Admittedly they have the advantage of being able to export lots of high-priced raw materials to the folks in the USA, but still, they did not spend the money on craziness, they got their deficits down, and their dollar has strengthened. So much so, that I find myself in competition with Canadian buyers for a retirement home in the western USA. In addition, Las Vegas is counting on Celine Dion to restore prosperity to Sin City.
One more thing. Let's not forget the sacrifices Canadians are making in Afghanistan; almost 160 Canadians have died in the fighting there.
Anyhow, let's take a respectful look at what the other North Americans are up to. We might have something to learn from them . . but I still don't like Justin Bieber . . .