Monday, July 5, 2010

 

PRAISING OUR DIVERSITY / MAITRE CHEZ NOUS

Somewhat like a broken record; regulars will know that I kvetch and rant fall and spring about the severely inexperienced drivers who feel compelled to drive (or haul) enormously over sized RVs along the route I travel to and from my southern winter residence in Florida: More about that in a minute...

Over the weekend, we Canadians marked our nation's 143rd birthday (July 1); our friends and neighbours in the United States celebrated their country's 234th Independence Day.

We're blessed to share a continent of bounty, enormous potential and wealth. The economic partnership and the business relationship between our two nations, 350 million strong, is not only the envy of the world...but, at more than $2-Billion per day; it is the most successful trading partnership the planet has ever known. Of the more striking examples; more trade is conducted across the Ambassador Bridge (Detroit/Windsor) in any single day than between most nation's of the world in one entire year.

We're nations of immigrants: In at least two of Canada's three largest cities, citizens of visible minorities constitute the largest segment of the population. In the United-States, "Latinos" (primarily) will dominate the populations of Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston in just a few years...as they do already in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

The images of clearly "new" Canadian families flickered across television screens during Her Majesty's Royal Visit on Parliament Hill this July first. Each family member holding a bright red Maple Leaf flag - Starking contrast to the all White, English speaking descendants of the United-Empire Loyalists who would have greeted Elizabeth II in Ottawa just a short couple of decades ago when I moved here in 1983.

But over the last half-century of Canadian history; it's another segment of the population that has all-the-more identified us culturally; defined us politically; diversified and challenged our nation's soul. From the start of the "Quiet Revolution" around 1960; its Quebec and the Quebecois whose influence has both challenged and defined Canada's culture. In doing so, Quebec ensures that our diversity, multi-ethnicity, and languages remain grounded on Canadian soil as a foil to the encroachments of our vastly stronger, powerful, and dominant southern neighbour.

Now! Back to my rant and to my story: Why do Quebecois insist on driving over-sized RVs, frequently towing boats, motors, and cars, so badly on the entire Continent's highway system...north and south of the border?

After a "nightmarish" 11+ hour drive from a University Homecoming in New Brunswick back home to Ottawa through the heart of Quebec's two largest urban centres (Quebec City & Montreal). I've concluded that travellers from "la belle province" feel obviously compelled to take along with them (clearly on board and/or attached to an RV) every single evidence of their identity, culture and economic viability. Holy Crap! They are the same on home territory as they are when they travel lock, stock and barrel, caravan style, (to my considerable annoyance) to the beach communities of Broward or Brevard Counties, Florida. Sacre bleu - Indeed!

NOTE FROM BILL: Thank-You for your patience while I took a short break from the usual "Blog Post" routine to attend my Alma Mater homecoming events. I promise to be more diligent over the summer. Thanks to all who've remained in touch wondering when the next "Blog" would appear.

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