CANADA, COUNTRY OF CONTRASTS © David Watts, July 2000
I am Canada, a country of contrasts:
Contrasts not only of landscape and peoples but of ideas and institutions that have shaped me
ideas like aboriginal title and common law
like democratic socialism and free enterprise
like federalism and Parliamentary government
like populism and pluralism.
My boundaries cut across geography, language, religion and culture. I have none of these factors to hold me together.
One of my premiers has even said that “Canada is not a country”.
In this view my government seems a patchwork of contradictions:
With a Charter of Rights & Freedoms that’s above the legislature and yet can be over-ridden by it
With “conscription if necessary but not necessarily conscription”
A hereditary overseas monarch and homegrown elected politicians
And “ten equal provinces” with one of them “a distinct society”.
To politicians and businespeople who want to get on with their agendas, this patchwork is a puzzle if not a nightmare
But to students of humanity who will look long at carefully at what is here, I offer a microcosm of the human condition.
I bring Earth’s wealth of land, peoples and ideas together in a single multi-faceted stone.
Focus on one face or two at a time and the lines between them, and you will see hard edges and contradicitons.
Soften your focus to take in the whole and you will see beauty and balance.
I am Canada, a contradiction among nation states
A paradox in my continent and hemisphere
A jewel in the crown of Planet Earth.
(263 words, 1 min. 38 sec. reading time)