Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Canada When I Was “Young”

Up until I was in my 40’s I accepted Canada as “my home and native land” to be taken, along with the Bible and taxes, as just the way things were. I voted every year after I turned 21 based solely on the personality and character of the candidates running. I knew there were things called “political parties” but they were as irrelevant to my vote as a birthday party would be. I donated blood regularly because it seemed like the right thing to do.
Speaking of taxes, it was much easier for me to do my income tax forms a few decades ago, not only because the form was shorter and simpler, but because I didn’t mind paying taxes.  I felt I got good value for my money. If I paid more than was required, I just considered it to be a “tip” to the government for things like roads, having a respected national police force (RCMP), for looking after me as a Canadian citizen if I got into trouble when I was out of the country, and all the niceties of living in a civilized democratic country.
I liked it when my family and I would travel overseas and be treated royally because we proudly display the Canadian flag or maple leaf.
During the past couple of decades I have found I was working harder and harder, sweating through an ever increasing number of pages to avoid paying the government more taxes than I really need to because I didn’t feel I was getting good value for my money.
I realized recently that “My Canada” is disappearing fast. A YouTube video shows a policeman in Toronto telling a young man (who could just as easily have been me in my younger days) ,“This ain’t Canada right now . . . it’s G20 land . . . there is no civil rights here, how many times do you have to be told that.”  That is not the Canada of I used to know and love.
The videos of the G20 in Toronto do not match my view of Canada, and I certainly am not happy to have my taxes supporting the billion (that's a "B" not an "M") dollars it cost. It wasn`t very long ago that a MILLION dollars was a huge amount of money. I don't even know how many a billion is.
Some 20,000 police in riot gear (some on horseback), herding people around the city outside the chain link fence was bad enough. But the video of a person being run over by a group of 5 policemen on horseback trotting down the street was particularly disturbing in that not one of the group stopped to see if the fellow was hurt - they did not stop or even slow down as he staggered out from under the horses' hooves . They just kept on trotting down the path. I guess they thought they were serving and protecting what they considered to be the important people in their society.
When I was younger I would not have believed that level of callous indifference would ever be displayed by any group of people in Canada, let alone by policemen. The videos of the G20 indicate it was taken as the norm for this event.
I want my old Canada back - as soon as possible.

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