Margaret Wente, a columnist for the Globe and Mail, wrote a piece for the Canadian Version of Reader's Digest titled "Seven Things You Can't Say in Canada". To provide a bit of background, I consider the Reader's Digest to be an American propaganda voice, and the Canadian Edition to be a thinly disguised American propaganda outlet, forced to run "Canadian Content" similar to Time Magazine. Margaret Wente moved to Canada in 1964 and became a Canadian citizen.
"Influential columnist Margaret Wente shares her controversial opinion on seven sacred Canadian cows most dare not criticize. Margaret Wente's background gives her a certain perspective on Canada's sacred cows."
There may be things you can't say in Canada, but in my opinion, these are not them.
- Margaret Atwood's books are awful? Well at first I thought Wente might have a point there. I hated "Stone Angel", at least the small part of it that I actually read. Then I realized that "Stone Angel" is written by Margaret Lawrence. Margaret Atwood wrote "The Handmaid's Tale", which I liked, or I should say I liked the movie, as I didn't read the book. This barely qualifies as something you can't say in Canada. If you said it in certain intellectual circles, you may get a lively debate going. But I guarantee the secret police will not be at your door the next day
- Recycling is a waste of time and money? I recycle stuff, and I find that overall I save time by recycling. I only have to put the garbage/recycling box out about once every six weeks instead of once a week. In exchange, I spend a bit of time sorting the trash into different boxes, and cleaning out empty cans and bottles. Because the blue box is right beside the garbage can, the extra time take making the decision where to throw stuff is negligible. The time I spend on recycling is done in a nice warm house. The time I save carrying out the garbage is outdoors, FMAO. As for wasting money, I have been told that the recycling program is paid for by the bottling/canning companies, although I doubt it. I can see the point though, that if a lot of people are spending time and paying taxes for a recycling program that some other people are ignoring, then it becomes an aggravation when somebody argues against it. Kind of like somebody saying they save time by throwing their Tim Horton's cups on your lawn. But news flash for Margaret Wente: Many populated parts of the USA have started recycling programs since you left in 1963. When I was in Bismark North Dakota this summer, there was a discussion going on about starting up a blue box program even out there. So the same taboo of criticizing recycling would apply in some parts of the USA.
- Private enterprise saving health care? Yes, you would get an argument from me about this. I consider Canada's health care system to be an important part of living in Canada, and if we didn't have free health care I would probably move to the USA. Here is why. Without free health care I am obviously going to die sooner because I am a cheap bastard who doesn't want to pay for insurance or even life saving surgery. So if I'm going to die sooner, I might as well go to the USA where I can at least ride my bike year round until I die from lack of health care.
- David Suzuki is bad for the environment. As Margaret says, "And our hugely expensive investment in the unworkable Kyoto treaty, which Mr. Suzuki tells us doesn’t go nearly far enough, will crowd out more practical measures to cut smog and clean up our waste sites." With recycling, Margaret was about 30 years behind the times, but with smog Margaret now appears to be 60 years behind the times. Killer smog was a big deal in London in 1952. They took measures to eliminate smog, and so did the USA, particularly Los Angeles and the state of California. Smog has largely been dealt with now, and I'm guessing the expense was huge but probably worth it. And as for more practical measures for cleaning up waste sites, didn't Margaret just finish arguing against recycling? If she has something else in mind, now is the time to speak up. Not even Americans (And I don't mean that in a bad way) want the environment destroyed.
- National day care programs: I don't care one way or the other at this point. Let's skip to another topic that actually would annoy me.
- Group of Seven paintings Overexposed? I, like many other Canadians, do not buy art, but if we did it might be paintings of trees and rocks. I suppose its possible that Canadian Art Critics may try to silence anyone who criticises the Group of Seven, as I have never met a Canadian Art Critic.
- The USA is the greatest force for good in the world. Now we come to the climax, this is probably what Margaret Wente wanted to say all along, but had to pad it out with six other topics to make an entire column. Canadians, of course feel this statement is bullsh*t, or we would have joined the USA long ago. That way, we at least could vote in the US elections, and cross into Detroit without being sniffed up by salivating Rottweilers. But she is right, Canadians do not believe that Americans are the master race come in the name of God to save the world. The greatest force for good in the world may be science, or education, or a free press, or the Internet, or consumerism, or democracy. There are many choices, unfortunately all flawed in some way.
That brings us to the end of the seven things Margaret Wente thinks you can't say in Canada.
Now what about some of these that I came up with, that I didn't see on her list, but I think would be acceptable answers to the question "What things can't you say in Canada?"
1. Torture is a good way to extract confessions from criminals and terrorists.
2. Sometimes the law does not work, so lynchings are necessary.
3. Jesus is our only hope for salvation, and Pat Robertson is His one true prophet.
4. There was no holocaust.
5. Canada is the greatest force for good in the world.
Saying any of those 5 things in Canada would get you more of an argument than saying Margaret Atwood's books stink.
Picture: From Readers Digest, but I added the ironic wording on the box and on the shirt. Yes, ironic.