Canadians: We play well with others

In Canada, it’s easy to walk on the SunnySide of the street. I say thiswith confidence even though I’ve spent many of the last three decadesdoing what we in the media do best — panic-mongering.

In Canada, it’s easy to walk on the SunnySide of the street. I say this with confidence even though I’ve spent many of the last three decades doing what we in the media do best — panic-mongering.

That’s why we’re journalists; we’re jacked up by 200-point bold bad news headlines, the badder the better. When editors get together at the end of the year and pick the top story, it’s always some disaster, never a good news story. Good news is a cute puppy that goes at the end of a newscast or on page 27, a grudging change of pace from your hard-bitten friends in the news.

So we have a tendency to miss the forest for the trees, or even worse, focus on the bugs on the trees, as is the case here in B.C. where the pine beetle has made it hard to look at vast tracts of dead trees.
Oops, there I go again.

Anyway, it’s easy to get high on Canada because … well, just look around you. This is the freaking second biggest country in the world. How often do we even think about that? If you live in Vancouver, the world ends in Chilliwack, after that, there are mountains, and way, way farther away, Toronto.

Scary. And if you live in Toronto, you can’t venture west of Mississauga without suffering a nosebleed. If you live in Montreal, you refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Vancouver and Toronto altogether as you sit in a café on Rue St-Denis, Centre of the Universe.

Maybe it’s just too big and beautiful to get your head around it, never mind your arms.

The rest of the world doesn’t seem to have that problem. In the immortal words of Sally Field, they like us, they really like us. Once again, we’re in the top five of the 215 nations tracked in Mercer Consulting’s annual Quality of Living Survey; our American cousins barely crack the top 30 and that’s because San Francisco and Honolulu skew the results. Another ranks us among the top 10 nations in the world for happiness, along with traditional warm puppies Denmark and Switzerland.

And if you’re not tired of surveys yet, how about this one? While the rest of the world is in the economic tank, the Economic Intelligence Unit’s global business survey for 2009-13 ranks Canada first in the G7 as “the best place to invest and do business.”

Who knew?

The very best thing about Canada is the thing that infuriates many, but makes us the hope of civilization — it’s called multiculturalism, which means whoever you are, wherever you’re from, you check your guns at the door, and if you want to live here, you learn to play well with others.

On this sunny day, let’s give the last word to an American, one of our biggest fans: Bill Clinton.

“In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect.”

 
 
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