A former neighbor of mine from Canada sent me a link to the Globe and Mail article, "DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: WE'RE CONFUSED AND WE NEED YOUR HELP."
The article really rekindled a lot of memories of why I loved living in Canada. The thought that "mutual grievance" binds Canadian provinces together as much as anything brought a smile to my face.
We lived in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I worked out of both Quebec and Ontario when I was employed by Apple Computer. Between the two provinces I got a great feel for Canada. I especially loved the all French sales meetings that I attended. In typical French Canadian fashion, the least bi-lingual person in the room was the only one ever to attempt to keep me in the loop.
Once I got transferred to reporting to Ontario so I could understand my management, I saw clearly why the rest of Canada usually had a problem with Ontario. As nice a city as Toronto might have been, I was always relieved to get back to Halifax and the common sense of my fellow Maritimers. Somehow the idea that Ontario was God's gift to Canada got old fast. It used to drive me crazy how some people looked down on the Maritimes. I have actually lived in a lot of places, but Halifax was one of my all time favorites.
Maybe all those years running a farm north of Fredericton helped me to appreciate people who were not affraid to get their hands dirty. One of the more popular commercials on television in our area happens to be one which starts with the premise of what would happen if delivery men ran schools. From their demonstrated ability to make sure things are usually in the right place, you get the idea that school attendance would no longer be a problem.
I used to wonder what would happen if someone from the Maritimes ran Canada in the eighties? Certainly some humility might have creeped into government. Now my thoughts are more towards what is going to happen now that someone other than George Bush is running the United States.
Somehow I think President Obama is going to need all the help he can get. He is surrounded by a bunch of politicians who like all politicians have but one goal and that is staying in power. They certainly have almost no humility so I was pleased to see President Obama actually apologize for an early mistake.
One of the best lines out of the whole article by Margaret Wente was the following.
With all my years in Canada, I can certainly relate to the statement. However, there were many times that I thought Canadians did not appreciate themselves and what they had. Canada, certainly when I was there through 1987, was one of the most civil places on earth.
Perhaps this letter is a good sign that Canada has a strong identity now. One of the stories I love to tell about Canada is the bank robbery that took place in Stanley, NB when we lived near there. Apparently the tellers convinced the robber that he had to wait fifteen minutes while a timer went off. They offered the robber a cup of tea while he waited, and he accepted while they called the Mounties. In a few minutes they gave him the money, and he was on his way. Of course in that lenght of time the Mounties had been able to cover the three ways out of Stanley. The robber was arrested without incident. What a great Canadian solution to a problem.
It certainly makes a lot more sense than stun guns, but that is another story. As we go forward in this challenging year, one of the things that gives me a little sense of security in my world of real estate is that the holding company behind Royal Le Page has purchased the GMAC franchise in the United States.
Somehow heading forward, I would much rather have some perhaps level headed Canadians working to help us market real estate instead of the people whose name only brings a reminder of the disaster that our Detroit auto makers face.
Having a successful Canadian company behind us is almost as comforting as the Canadian-like marsh pictured in this post. The marsh and sound are actually part of North Carolina's Crystal Coast and located behind the NC Aquarium on Bogue Sound in Pine Knoll Shores, NC, but they still make me think of Canada each time I visit.
Now I just need to convince some Canadians to move down here.