Background: Where we’re coming from / where we’re going

This website is a counterpoint between an individual’s 45 year pilgrimage to understand his country and events in that country’s journey to understand itself in the past 17 years. Steps in the personal journey are set out in a separate bio. The public events and initiatives and offerings that grew out of one man’s response to these events are outlined here.

First was the 1990 collapse of the Meech Lake Accord leading to 5 years upheaval and a referendum Québec sovereigntists lost by less than 1% while Canadians almost lost a country. The effects are still with us: the defeat of most governments, federal and provincial, backing the Accord and emergence of the two men now leading our main national political parties.

Canadians’ response to these events included letters, phone greetings, journals and travel. Mine was  The Canadian Connection, a dramatic script beginning/ending with a Stan Rogers song. Encouraged by a Maritime friend, I envisaged taking it cross country on a rail car whose sale I was negotiating at the time. The would-be buyer was willing to lease it back as a venue. So the first initiative of what’s now Canadian Specific was a 15 minute script, a cast of three, railcar and a letter from CPR’s President granting permission to travel over company lines.

We made it to 7 Alberta venues and a stand at the Edmonton Fringe Festival but not out of province. One place we visited and presented was the Town of Bruderheim before the Citizens’ Commission on Canada’s Future. Commission members told us that of all the sessions they’d convened cross-country, that was the most positive, starting with our message that focused on values rather than gripes.

The next initiative was taking the message into schools and classrooms. Two programs were piloted: “Maps, Flags & Changing Faces” and “Canada & the Titanic.” A cast of four would present a dramatic script in assembly and break up to lead different activities in classrooms. Our curricular materials drew favorable comment.

In 1998 Canadian Specific school services was registered as a sole proprietorship in Alberta and British Columbia. Throughout this time, I continued to write scripts for existing CANADIAN CONNECTIONS programs and on new themes, commentary pieces for CBC and, after 2003, opinion for newspapers.

This website has been created for the third aspect of what is now Canadian Specific ® enterprises: public sharing of a body of thought, songs and educational resources on the Canadian journey as a part of an increasingly global consciousness.

Some of the earlier initiatives—a Canadian Classroom with cross-country travel—remain future possibilities. The present focus is on sharing the collective framework in which these proposals were rooted and from which they may reemerge.