If you haven’t made it to the goodies here, you won’t make it anywhere

ROBERT LEGGETT January 1 1971

If you haven’t made it to the goodies here, you won’t make it anywhere

ROBERT LEGGETT January 1 1971

If you haven’t made it to the goodies here, you won’t make it anywhere


□ ‘Yes, sir! I am a Canadian’-the guy on the front porch tells us where we’re really at_ □ Save the children-keep their books Canadian □ Y our views on the land, the fuzz and abortion


YES, SIR! I AM A CANADIAN, never figured on being anything else. I was born and raised in this country, hard by Lake Huron inside the snow-belt line, and I reckon no matter where I hang my hat in this world being Canadian-born will be a proud fact of my life.

Now there’s been a lot of people in high corners talking for some time that the folks in this country haven't got identity, squeezed in on one side by big brother U.S. and patronized by the mother country across the water, and this is causing us to be incompetent and unable to handle the affairs of a big country such as this, to use some of their fancy expressions.

Some of these brain waves did concede that Centennial year and Expo gave an indication that we could bust the chain, but they figured our stab of energy and ideas would disappear and we would tag along behind the others again anyway. Well, so much for those doleful drummers. Always had them and I guess we always will.

Now I figure this country is pretty unique, and the people that live on these acres of rock, trees and water, along with ice, snow and blizzard, are as different from another bunch of people as peas are from beans.

I remember ’way back when I went and got my education in the country schoolhouse, and during those days I was exposed to the school geography book of the world.

Now in those days it was pretty easy to see how far the British Empire went, because it was painted red and stuck out all over the place. I got to admit — the Empire looked pretty impressive.

They told me that the largest red spot was called Canada and that this was my country and that made me a Canadian. Now I spent considerable energy in those days (as I have ever since) studying up on this country, because I was right interested, and that hasn't changed since either.

The first thing I checked out was the boundary line and, by golly, we claimed the whole Gulf of St. Lawrence as well as the biggest part of that mighty river. We had Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and a good chunk of land between the river and the States’ line, and this included Fundy Bay with the great tides. Now I accepted the fact of the Great Lakes being part of the south boundary and, although we didn’t have Lake Michigan, we did have Georgian Bay, the Ottawa River, Hudson Bay and the mighty Horseshoe Falls of the Niagara, and I almost forgot the Shield that is the oldest and best mineral rock on the continent.

Going west, there was a lot of land, lakes and rivers, forests of timber. Eskimo-land north of the Arctic Circle, the magnetic Pole. The great island reaching to the North Pole. Then came the Rocky and Selkirk Mountains, as great as anywhere. I liked the fact of Vancouver Island, sitting there on the west coast, like it was laughing at the boundary line jogging down around it.

Well now, as I have ambled along through life, I’ve kept an eye on this country, reading about its history and going to different parts, of it, and I've watched as to how we show up alongside our neighbors. You know, I figure we’re standing pretty good.

I haven’t been saying all this about Canada just to brag. We’re not a bragging people; we just as soon let the facts and our accomplishments do the talking for us. Maybe this method does not yell very loud, but it’s a little more solid, and I reckon that makes us a solid type of people.

We get enough bragging from the south of us to jar the lid off the applesauce, and I figured some time back there wasn’t much they did we couldn't do as far as intelligence and ability were concerned. In this country, we built when necessity demanded and, mind you, we have handled some fair-size projects, such as laying down the longest railroad going, and that Seaway job was no small thing either. In fact, we have pioneered ingenuity in this country from oil drilling to bush flying, and we have done pretty good at playing with atoms, too.

As far as the school side, that Shakespeare theatre opened an eye or two when it sprang out of nowhere.

I'll grant you, we went out and got a bit of manpower and brains from other places, as well as the dollar bills to do the job with, but the ideas, guts and shovel came from right inside this country, and as far as I am concerned that’s where the credit goes.

The reason I’m pointing all this out to you is so you’ll get the fuzz out of your eyes and see exactly where you stand. I reckon you enjoy all the good things that people anywhere in the world “that are lucky” get, weather permitting, and you’re right: we got some poor people, we got some bums and we got bad ones too — now you tell me what country hasn't; that’s part of human nature.

If you think the grass is greener

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Machinist Bob Leggett likes to think of himself as “the village blacksmith’’ in Blair, a small town in southern Ontario. He believes in the survival of the fittest, and he admires the self-made man. Why did he, at 40, send his first letter to any editor to Maclean’s? “Because a lot of talk never gets past the dinner table and the corner store.”

somewhere else, all I can say is, if you haven’t made the grade to the goodies here, it’s doubtful if you would make it anywhere else either. Of course, if it’s how much money you make that counts, well, I don’t give much of a hoot for your jar of values. Let me tell you, it’s what you contribute to this country with the talent you got that counts. You have no idea how far your labor, your ideas or your gumption will reach or how many people it will touch. The way I see it, you hammer a nail here and this country gets stronger; you say

“yes” or “no” with a true mind and this country has conviction.

I want no truck with a man who only wants to take for himself and puts nothing back or ignores his neighbor’s well-being. Yes, sir, any good man of the soil can tell you that never works for long.

This country was put together with people who had a good reason for being here and didn't mind putting hard honest effort into making their reason stick. Now I figure most people in this country figure the same way I do. We’re Canadians because

this is where we live and the land and the elements make us what we are.

Seems to me, this business of analyzing all the flaws in Canadians is a pet’s corner pastime of a few people who couldn’t be contented if we all did make the effort to change — they would still be around.

Yes, sir, young feller, I’ve had a good life in this country. Now, I’m going back up on the porch to my rocker and let you get on up the road. Besides, my cob pipe been out for half an hour and I see the daily paper has just landed in the box there. □