While journalists in some parts of the world risk their lives (one butchered at the Saudi embassy in Turkey), ours were earnestly studying the details of new marijuana laws. Where will we be allowed to smoke? What will the fines be for disobeying a bewildering new sets of laws? Switching over to BBC Radio, I find a multi-part expose of the opioid epidemic in Midwestern America – overdoses, families ripped apart due to addictions. Sad people, lives based on cheap chemicals a punk threw together.
In need of a bathroom, looking around, instead of man-woman stick figures on two doors I found five bathrooms, each with a different combination of stick figures on their doors. While those of different sexual orientations and gender identification are certainly entitled to respect, we have become preoccupied with such issues – neglecting the bread and butter issues essential to maintain our enviable standard of living. Marijuana and extra bathrooms won’t do that.
In most countries, a day is not spent deciding which drug to take or which bathroom to use. Life is more basic if you live in Yemen or Congo. Happiness is supper to eat and a bed to sleep. Even in safer and more prosperous countries like China – our economic rivals – esoteric concerns like drugs and bathrooms are of marginal relevance. They are more concerned about basics – helping their children get into the best schools and later succeeding in their careers. While we ponder on marijuana and which bathroom to use, in China, parents focus on raising determined and competent offspring.
Recall our Prime Minister’s embarrassing trips to India and China? In India he focused on his bright attire and looked silly, but his trip to China should worry us more. In his earnest way, he shared with Chinese politicians matters dear to his heart – diversity, gender sensitivity, and “Indigenization”. After spending a few days trying to find someone to would listen to his sermon, and failing, he was hustled unceremoniously out of China. He trotted out the same tired agenda at the first round of the NAFTA talks, and was laughed out of the room by the American negotiators.
The Chinese and Americans want to talk about steel, aluminum and cars, while our Prime Minister wants to talk about issues they consider trivial. Now, we sell our oil at a 50% discount to the Americans while buy Saudi Arabia oil and Chinese technology.
At our universities, too many students expend their energy on a plethora of “studies” courses that have nothing to do with the real world. Once we had more important things to think about do: carve a country out of the wilderness, build a railway, fight world wars, keep from falling apart to tribalism. Back then, Canadians had more weighty things to occupy themselves than marijuana and bathrooms.
Canada should get back to basics: build pipelines, improve outdated tax structures, and generally – as Winnipeg’s own Randy Bachman aptly put it – “Taking Care of Business”. We should remember our forefathers’ goals and accomplishments, and consider how fortunate we are compared to most of the people on this planet. We need to get back to concentrating on things that really matter.
We need to find our way again.