Reflecting Inwards

Making the news this morning was Michael Ignatieff’s speech to the Liberal caucus of his intention to call a fall election which, if it happens, will be the fourth election within a five year period.

There are many ways one can read this tactic – needy power grab, moral grand-standing against the villainous Harper and the Conservatives, or a great big waste of taxpayer’s money yet again – but it’s another chapter in the country’s increasingly colourful political history.

I’m not going to weigh in (mostly because I don’t like any of the parties nor their leaders – they each deserve a kick in the pants) but the multiple elections offer plenty of material to debate aspects of Canadian culture – political and social.

So on that note, I’ve uploaded a pair of reviews for two Albert Nerenberg documentaries (he’s the director of Stupidity) that deal with parts of our national identity.

You may have heard of Let’s All Hate Toronto (KOCH) because of the catchy title and its chronicle of Mr. Toronto’s (co-director Rob Spence) trek across the country with a “Toronto Appreciation Day Banner.” Basically, he became a human dartboard onto which many people threw up their distaste for Canada’s largest city. The ploy was to provoke opinions and hopefully find the reasons why T.O. and its people aren’t held in high esteem by the rest of the country, as well as some of its citizens.

Do we have a wanker for a mayor? Are we really that obsessed over the Maple Leafs? Are we really New York wannabes? Was Budweiser tapping into some truth or were they just a bunch of boneheads for conceiving this short-lived billboard campaign in B.C.?

The doc doesn’t offer any solutions to the hating problem (and it is a flawed film), but it’s worth a peek for some street-level glimpses of the nation’s ire towards T.O.

Grander in scope is Escape to Canada (Disinformation), Nerenberg’s serious effort to examine the peculiar paths the U.S. and Canada took after 9/11: whereas the south went conservative, the north started to debate the legalization of pot, gay marriage, and welcoming American draft dodgers with open arms.

It too has faults, but Nerenberg holds back on his penchant for cheeky comments and graphics and lets his subjects speak for themselves (as well as letting lunatics hang themselves with their own words and ideologies).

If we do end up going to the polls again this fall, someone should make a documentary on the country’s political divisions, and how respective ideologies shape national policies with sometimes good and disgraceful results.

I still think they deserve a kick in the pants, though.



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