Editorial—What We’re Known For

On October 17, Canada’s legislation that legalized the use and cultivation of small amount of marijuana came into effect. Personally, I have no interest in partaking.  I really don’t care if you do, but please, not around me. I don’t like second-hand smoke from cigarettes and the smell of marijuana is almost worse, albeit in a completely different way. So normally, that’d be where the story ends for me.

Except, this week, we have an article that lists a number of things you can do if you want to try experiencing some of the highlights of pieces of Canadian culture. And I found that, to my surprise, a large number of the pictures that came up in a search for “Canadian culture” were along the lines of marijuana plants or buds sitting on a Canadian flag.

Seriously?  Are we so devoid of culture that our legalizing marijuana has become the most Canadian thing people can think of?  It strikes me as very strange, especially considering that some US states legalized it to varying degrees well before we did, and it’s well known as being legal to a degree in certain places in the Nordic nations, notably Amsterdam.

So why has it become such a defining feature for us, mere days after the legislation came into effect?  But thinking about it more, what else is uniquely Canadian?  It’s interesting that when you think of pretty much any aspect of Canadian culture, you can see that it’s an echo of another culture from somewhere else.  The most Canadian thing we seem to have is that we bring them all together and allow them to mix while still remaining distinct to themselves.  But that’s hard to show in a photograph.  So now, photographers have something that they can point to and say “Okay, that’s Canadian. No other country has legalized marijuana across the whole nation.”  Which makes sense, I suppose, but I feel like in finally finding that one thing they can suggest represents Canada, they miss out on what truly represents us—Canada’s being able to navigate a cavalcade of cultures without resorting to assimilation.  It’s a difficult balance to maintain, and whether we can continue to do so as we become a more global nation is not assured.  But I sure hope we do.

In the meantime, however, this week’s issue of The Voice Magazine features an article from Barb Godin about a family that experienced far too much tragedy in too short a time, yet love can continue to be found within.  Read about the story of Jenn’s family in “Love Beyond Tragedy”.

Plus, Deanna Roney, spurred by questions on Facebook, looks at the reputation of distance education and what it’s meant personally for her.  We also have the Porkpie Hat that looks at what October brings, and the Fly on the Wall explores the connections between the gold rush in BC and AU students.  Does his theory carry water?  (You’ll get the reference when you read the article).

Plus, a Council Connection from the October 11th meeting, scholarships, interviews, events, and more!  Enjoy the read!

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