EDITORIAL

After all, this never was the land God gave to Cain

Peter C. Newman July 6 1981
EDITORIAL

After all, this never was the land God gave to Cain

Peter C. Newman July 6 1981

After all, this never was the land God gave to Cain

EDITORIAL

Peter C. Newman

By the time you get to be 114 years old, every little blessing counts, and that may be how most Canadians view their country’s birthday this week. It’s easy to condemn the government for failing to slow the inflation spiral or to criticize the Supreme Court for not taking us off the hook on the constitutional debate. It has become second nature for most Canadians to complain about nearly every one of the institutions dominating our society, whether it’s the ballooning profits of the chartered banks or the demands of the postal unions. Instead of acting like a brave band of survivors, as every guru from Maria Chapdelaine to Margaret Atwood would have us be, we have rapidly become a nation of complainers, with regional whining and individual bellyaching sounding out as our national anthem. It shouldn’t be.

We’ve got a lot less to complain about than the citizens of most countries. Sure, inflation’s effects are deadly but, with the exception of the U.S., Canada’s currency is devaluating at a slower rate than that of other industrialized nations. The Supreme Court may be slow but at least it’s free—free to reach its monumental constitutional ruling insulated from the kind of political pressures that sway the judiciary in most other countries, the U.S. included. This editorial will

not even try to defend the profits of the banks and the demands of the postal unions, but if that represents the sum of the nation’s ills we’re still damn lucky.

It doesn’t, of course. But the whole idea of any anniversary or birthday is less to tally up your woes than to recall the small benedictions that add up to a life—or a country. The long-awaited sweetness of warmth in summer, children’s chirps and shrieks at city pools, watching squirrels stalk sparrows through maple and mountain ash branches, listening to the crunch of waves against the bows of ferryboats plying Canadian waters, west and east—these are some of the snippets of experience that flavor the Canadian summer.

The most important gift Canadians received this birthday was probably the report from a task force headed by Bob Blair, president of NOVA, an Alberta Corporation, and Shirley Carr, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress (see page 39). It spells out in specific detail the capital expenditures that will shake, and likely enrich, Canada’s economy during the next two decades. The total comes to an astonishing $440 billion, with every part of the country benefiting from this unprecedented bonanza.

It’s well worth keeping that prospect in mind as we wave the flags and light the charcoal or the firecrackers on July 1. Instead of brooding, let’s celebrate the great good fortune we have, being Canadians.