Hey, Canada? What’s up?
You know, I think about you all the time. You’re home to some of my favorite people. I read their blogs and Facebook updates. I see details about their cycling and running on Strava. I’d love to see you and them again soon. Et j’écoute à ta musique francophone sur la radio et les balados tout le temps.
For whatever reason a few weeks ago I got interested in the October Crisis of 1970, when the FLQ took some hostages and Pierre Trudeau instituted martial law in Montréal. I quickly fell down a Wikipedia vortex, which “required” me to read the relevant portion of my copy of J.M. Bumsted’s A History of the Canadian Peoples that I bought when Lisa and I first visited Montréal in 2001. Of course, chapter 10 (“Edging Towards the Abyss, 1958-1972″) led to chapter 11 (“Coming Apart, 1972-1992″), and before I knew it, I was reading the chapter on international relations and then the final chapter (“Freefalling into the Twenty-first Century”).
The only problem is that my book was published in 1998, which means the “end of history” and the freefall pretty much coincide with the time I was listening to the CBC’s “As It Happens” on public radio as I drove around Iowa and Wyoming before Lisa and I moved out to Massachusetts. At the time it really did seem like Canada was having an existential crisis about what kind of confederation it was going to have: Urban vs. rural. Francophone vs. Anglo. Liberalism vs. conservatism. Federal vs. provincial governments. Vive le Québec libre vs. a unified Canada. Alberta vs. everybody else. First Nations’ rights. Etc. Etc.
But that was 17 years ago. Surely a lot has happened since then.
What have I missed?