Suddenly, America Has a Brash Neighbor Up North

Suddenly, America Has a Brash Neighbor Up North
Posted by CN Staff on June 26, 2003 at 14:53:47 PT
By Abraham McLaughlin and Tom Regan
Source: Christian Science Monitor 
Canada has long been the United States' virtually invisible neighbor to the north. But suddenly it is coming out of its shell - and sharpening an identity that increasingly looks like a slice of Europe on America's back porch.It's moving to become the third nation on the planet to legalize gay marriage. It's primed to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. And it vocally opposed the US war on Iraq.
These moves reflect a growing cultural assertiveness - especially on the importance of tolerance and multiculturalism, which are enshrined in Canada's version of the Bill of Rights. The shift is increasingly putting the US and Canada - the world's biggest trading partners - on a cultural collision course."We look at you Americans and see the [National Rifle Association], rigged elections, Christian fundamentalists, and pre-emptive wars," says Michael Adams, author of the best-selling "Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values." By contrast, Canada is a place that prizes "peace, order, and good government." It's "a social welfare state where we raise taxes to pay for transit, housing, and more," he says.Canada's newfound assertiveness stems, in part, from a growing confidence in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, adopted in 1982. It's akin to the US Bill of Rights. But it guarantees, for instance, equality for women, aboriginal groups, and minority-language groups.It's led to Canada even having a cabinet position for multiculturalism.And it's one reason for Canada's wide-open immigration policy. Fully 18 percent of Canadians are foreign born, compared with about 10 percent of Americans. In Toronto, 40 percent of residents are foreign born.Recently Canadian courts have also interpreted the charter to guarantee rights for gays, including the right to marry.All in all, "It's not just that Canadians are comfortable with diversity," it's something they are increasingly proud of, says Andrew Parkin, codirector of the Center for Research and Information on Canada in Ottawa. "They're now saying this is what makes them proud to be Canadian."While the two nations also have their commonalities, Canadians often have defined themselves as "not American." Now more and more they're stressing their unique societal openness along with other intrinsic values. The United Nations, for instance, has frequently declared Canada home of the best quality of life in the world.This comes at a time when many parts of the US have retained - or even expanded - a conservative tilt, as embodied in the administration of President Bush. That only adds to Canadians' determination to be different from the US - and increasingly to make the difference known. "There's always been some satisfaction in tweaking the eagle's beak," says David Biette, director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.The difference now is that Americans may be paying a bit more attention. A Canadian court last week ruled that gay marriage should be legal. And the government is expected to confirm the policy in coming months. The moves have already sparked praise from liberals and scorn from conservatives in the US. Some American gay couples are already trekking across the border to get married. Some even figure the Canadian side of Niagara Falls may get a boost as a honeymoon hot spot for gays.Prime Minister Jean Chretien's administration introduced legislation to decriminalize penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana - making it akin to getting a traffic ticket. The bill would increase penalties for growing and trafficking large quantities of pot.US officials have reacted with grave concern to the plan, saying more US-bound trucks would have to be searched for drugs. This would potentially slow the $1 billion daily US-Canada trade.American officials have also taken note of Canada's stance on the Iraq war. It was hardly as outspoken as France or Germany. But it was highly critical.Canada, which provides free health care to all citizens, has also become a central topic in US debates over prescription-drug prices. In all, for America's social liberals, Canada is becoming a kind of Nirvana Up North. It's home to tough gun-control laws (every gun in the country must be registered), no federal restrictions on abortion, no death penalty, and strict campaign-spending laws.Among US conservatives, Canada is increasingly seen as a European-like society that's promoting moral relativism - and creating pressure for the US to follow suit. "The case will be made by the homosexual lobby that we should do it, too," says Ken Connor, president of the conservative Family Research Council in Washington, referring to Canada's move on gay marriage.Note: Moves toward decriminalizing marijuana and allowing gay marriage contrast with US ethos.Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)Author:  Abraham McLaughlin and Tom ReganPublished: June 27, 2003 EditionCopyright: 2003 The Christian Science MonitorContact: oped csps.comWebsite: Articles:Buzz Cafe -- NOW Magazine Legal in Ontario Laws Ban Possession of Marijuana
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on June 27, 2003 at 21:52:09 PT
You're a very wise person. Very well said.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on June 27, 2003 at 21:18:57 PT
I'm happy for you! 
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Comment #10 posted by SoberStoner on June 27, 2003 at 14:14:01 PT
Let's try this again..
Last night I had a reply typed up to this thread, but I must have closed the window before sending the message, so I'll try again.First off, AMEN global warming!!Secondly, observer, I truly envy you. Enjoy your freedom that you have gained.I am also in the IT industry..I would guesstimate that at least half the people in my area smoke, and probably 95% have at least tried it. I will also be moving to Canada as soon as I can find a job there. I am deeply saddened by the acceptance of the idea that Canada is now the land of the truly free. I am even more depressed that it is true.Finally, I lived with a family parented by a lesbian couple. They were the picture of a loving, caring family. I would have no problem saying that they are probably the most NORMAL family I have seen in a long time. They love each other very much, and care for their child just as much (one had the child by invitro, and the other adopted the child) as most hetero families, in fact, they are probably better parents than most hetero couples I've seen. I honestly don't see what the problem is in allowing two people who care for each other very much, to show their dedication to each other by marrying one another. To me, not allowing gay couples to marry is as ludicrous as not allowing inter-racial marriage..You can't control how people feel about each other(as most parents of teenagers find out quickly enough) yet we think that by outlawing conduct it makes it go away. It doesnt work for cannabis or homosexual marriage. Life is too short to be worrying about what everyone else is doing. Enjoy your life while you can, however you can, with whoever you can, as long as you can.Peace and Love
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Comment #9 posted by observer on June 27, 2003 at 13:16:42 PT
Canada , The True North Strong and Free!
With major amounts of help from my friends, I moved to Canada! I was fortunate enough to drive the TCH (Trans-Canada Highway ) from Ontario to British Columbia, where I am now. I recommend that all Americans who want to experience a beautiful land of free people come to Canada and see for yourself. The Canadian people are extremely nice.
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Comment #8 posted by Lehder on June 27, 2003 at 11:33:35 PT
have the biggest heads. Or so I've been told - by writers who should know. 80%, they say, of serious writers use drugs, and marijuana usually does not satisfy them. They like booze, cocaine and all the stronger dopes. Many of their publishers are on dope too. So are their readers. Gee, maybe it's not just students going through a phase that will cripple their lives. I would have guessed musicians, though. Weren't the Beatles on dope? I think so, and once all the dope has been wringed out of those songs, you can hear them in elevators.Only government employees claim to refrain from drug use, and many of them are lying, as usual.
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Comment #7 posted by TecHnoCult on June 27, 2003 at 10:46:01 PT
I too am in the IT industry. I agree, and from my observation, it is more like half of the IT industry smokes cannabis. I once read an article (perhaps it was here) that said 79% of the IT industry.THC
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on June 27, 2003 at 10:31:21 PT:
The Brain Drain, redux...
*Canada, which provides free health care to all citizens, has also become a central topic in US debates over prescription-drug prices. In all, for America's social liberals, Canada is becoming a kind of Nirvana Up North. It's home to tough gun-control laws (every gun in the country must be registered), no federal restrictions on abortion, no death penalty, and strict campaign-spending laws.*Yes, and what happens when more of those 'social liberals' decide they've had enough, and start moving en masse? What happens when the Canadian Embassy starts receiving an influx of 'landed immigrant' requests? What happens when the dollars that those applicants have are changed to Canuck Loonies? More importantly, what happens when the skills, inventiveness, and innovative spirit that is the halmark of creative people (nearly all the ones I know are of the so-called 'liberal' persuasion) are no longer at the beck and call of American business? Or science?The US is playing a dangerous and stupid game. The US can't conceive of anyone wanting to leave here for elsewhere. For the longest time, it has existed off the large influx of foreign workers who lacked the chance to excel in their own countries...or just plain survive. My own IT field is a perfect example; a third of the people in my team were not born here. And I'd wager half a month's salary that at least a third of all IT people smoke cannabis. AT LEAST.Imagine what would happen to the US if those skilled people pulled up stakes and headed North.I know one who already has. America's loss; Canada's gain. I have no doubt he'll be followd by others if Herr Busch gets 'elected' again. Like yours truly...
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Comment #5 posted by lag on June 26, 2003 at 21:03:47 PT
That's exactly it FF and FoM
We don't need any more breeding humans. And even if we did, there are plenty of people willing to have children. So then they have to bring in 'moral sanctity'. But that is going to be a sovereign choice for each's what makes freedom of religion...well, freedom.And I am married to a heterosexual partner. We don't plan on having any how different is that from being married to a gay person? Who's right is it to say it is different? And why should anyone care if same-sex partners get the same benefits as heterosexuals? This all sparks of fascism...or Europe before people got so ticked they had to flee to America.Looks like we have a new 'America' in Canada. I plan on moving there soon and asserting my right to live in peace. Something the American administration seems to not understand. I am just waiting for them to create a Ministry of Peace. But I hate to imagine what their ministry of love would look like.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 26, 2003 at 19:45:43 PT
What a difficult question to try to answer. I understand the benefits of marriage. Besides commitment there are financial reasons to marry, like insurance, joint ownership of a home or other assets. My feelings are if two people want to have a life long partnership who am I to say that they shouldn't?
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Comment #3 posted by global_warming on June 26, 2003 at 19:07:26 PT:
I AM Moving to Canada
Thinking about moving to Canada,
I am ready to give up my US citizenship
I cannot continue to bare this burden
My elected representitives are representing
The most unholy profits of the greedy
It is these greedy people that will take us all
To the most unholy places in this Universe
To the Pit, the place from no returnAmericans are so deluded, 
They easily forget,
How God has given them 
Life and LightThis continued Prohibition
This War against Drug Users
A diabolical construct born from the darkness of Evil
Has taken and holds 
This America, once a proud Land
A proud People
Have been duped, 
Too much bad McDonalds Diet..?
They say,
If you cannot hold your Liqour,
You shoud Not drink.I wrote to my local congressman
He replied woth a two page letter
He said we dont agree on this point
But we agree on many other points..As a Christian and God fearing person
I must say,
He is filled with such pomp
And foolishness
I will come to his funeral,
And pray for his dark soul,My thoughts at this point are
That I send him a "Nail"
In a plastic pouch
Remind him that he has two choices
This Nail can be used to build a better world,
A better community
A better family
A better societyOr
Nail another Jesus on a cross..The Gifts that are Borne
From the Mouth Of God
Forever remain Hidden
By Angels and ministers of Godgw aka the nail
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Comment #2 posted by freedom fighter on June 26, 2003 at 18:52:56 PT
Not too off topic
lag, after all cannabis users are not much that different from let's say gay people.... Your question is a good one.. We see so many many people today and we wonder what's the big deal?Back in old days, however, world seems so big with such a few people living at that time.. I think the average age of a human being back then were 35-40 years old.Their needs at that time, were to produce many children as they can and gay marriages are obviously not capable of producing children.I supposed they felt they had to have gay laws..Now that the judges had decided that gay bust was unconsitutional, is it any different from a cannabist who happens to have a plant in his closet?FREE the weed, and we shall plant seed of freedom in every soul!pazff
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Comment #1 posted by lag on June 26, 2003 at 18:10:09 PT
Hopefully not too off topic
What's the deal with America and gay marriages anyway? I keep hearing about 'moral sanctity' and other BS.I mean, it's clear that heterosexual couples aren't necessarily inclined to indulge in 'moral sanctity'. And what do morals have to do with homosexuality? I mean, if they bothered to truly base their morals off of a christian ethic the conservatives would be more akin to hippies, much like people think of jesus.Now to bring this back to the topic of cannabis. Cannabis rocks!!!
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