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Tuesday, August 03, 2004 ISSUE #330
 

Weekly Comments: Canadian capital is cool and calm

# 330, August 3, 2004

OTTAWA, Ont.: Four days removed from even a hint of Presidential campaigning is tremendously refreshing. For a national capital, this place has been mighty calm.

I figure they got the right idea in Canada, or at least the right timing. This wonderful city gets so cold in winter, they don't want to waste any of their precious few summer days debating politics. They save those heated arguments for winter. Even if you disagree totally, the excess heat generated by the opposition is much appreciated when it's 40 below.

I did read in the local paper, "The Globe and Mail", about a mild discussion (not yet lukewarm), they are having on what to do with appointees of a defeated party. When Jean Cretian got knocked out as Prime Minister, it seems he paid out $2,000,000 to get a bunch of them to leave. The opposition says this is excessive, even in Canadian dollars. Others suspect the severance is getting so high the appointees are voting against their own party, just for the chance to collect.

I got to meet one of the new boys in the government, Wayne Easter. He is kinda like our Secretary of Agriculture, and is a bonefide old time farmer. He and I were both here at a big international convention of agricultural and biological engineers; he is here as the main speaker, and I'm here with the understanding that my speaking is mainly limited to quiet conversation.

Mr. Easter reminded the engineers from south of the border that trade with Canada is worth more than $350 Billion a year, and it is a shame to let one old Holstein milk cow that slipped across with BSE put a damper on all that trade. The ranchers can't sell their cattle, so they are about ready to drive millions of 'em across the border into North Dakota and Montana. The argument is really with Japan, but that's too far to drive 'em. Twenty years ago Wendy's asked, "Where's the beef?" Today, it's in Canada.

Here's the most surprising statistic. When I was kidding about going to Canada to escape the campaign in Ohio, Mr. Easter said, "That's strange, in your Presidential election years we get fewer American tourists, not more." I am still pondering on that peculiar bit of news. Maybe Canada is too close, so instead they escape to Europe.

Historical quotes from Will Rogers:

"OTTAWA, Ont.: Arrived Canada capital today. More sentiment here to be annexed by Mexico than by America. They know us too well. If we get any nation to join us it will have to be some stranger. We only have one reason for wanting Canada, and a modification of the Volstead Act [Prohibition] will eliminate it." DT #49, Oct. 11, 1926

"Canada has a big Congress of some kind at Ottawa, and for a family that is kin [to us] why they get along pretty well. They all agreed to buy from each other, and they will till somebody comes along and sells cheaper. But they are mighty patriotic, that English empire, and when the real show-down comes they will stick together...
Canada is a mighty good neighbor and a mighty good customer. That's a combination that is hard to beat."
WA #505, August 28, 1932


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