Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Canadian way

On the eve of Canada Day it's time to have a look around and do a little reckoning.

The second biggest news story of the week was the Algo Mall tragedy in Elliot Lake. Part of a parking garage fell into the mall. Two dead, twenty injured.

That could happen anywhere, but what makes the story uniquely Canadian is how the rescue mission and its aftermath were handled. Barely had the rescue begun when it was called off.

Why? Because the partially collapsed structure was deemed unsafe for the rescue workers to enter!

Well duh! What kind of crap is that!

You can bet that the leadership types who made that call had advanced degrees in Rescue Management and no actual clue about what they were doing. I'm sure your average millwright contractor, of which there are many in that neck of the woods, has more than enough equipment and know-how to get in there and get the job done.

But they're not experts and don't have degrees in Rescue Management, so their cranes and cutting torches and heavy-lift hydraulic jacks don't count.

By now the story is about something we're a little more comfortable with  - assigning blame. The city blames the province which blames the mall owner who blames the city building inspector. Ontario's Premier has already announced a public inquiry to unravel the daisy chain of finger-pointing.

This will cost millions of dollars and provide years of busywork for exactly the sort of people who deemed the structure unsafe for rescue workers.

The really big story, though, is the War of 1812.

The same gang of sanctimonious twaddlers in Ottawa who went ape-shit when a UN official pointed out a few months ago that Canada has a problem with child poverty, somehow found 28 million dollars in these tough times to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

How is such a thing even possible?

It's a question of priorities I suppose. No point throwing those millions away on something like, oh, addressing the epidemic of teen suicides on native reserves or some such frivolity. Let's celebrate "our" imaginary victory over the Yanks 200 years ago instead!

The fact that "our" achievement preceded the founding of Canada by more than half a century is quite beside the point. The Harper gang wants to brainwash us into seeing ourselves as some sort of bold warrior culture with a rich tradition of great victories.

I'm guessing the point of that, other than taking our eye off the fact that we're no longer capable of getting a dying woman out of a collapsed building, is to groom us for uncritical acceptance the next time our leaders sign us up for some dodgy exercise in NATO warmongering.

Canada. I reckon it's still a great place to live, but let's strike a panel of qualified experts to study the matter before we jump to unwarranted conclusions.

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