"Canada's Back!" has been the loudest and crassest of the vapid slogans the CPC has been dragging around the country like a jaded horse over the past year. According to even the most well-informed of our closest neighbours, though, Canada has never been less relevant.
A case in point was on full display yesterday at the Toronto International Film Festival. Viggo Mortensen--poet, painter, musician and world-travelled polyglot (with a command of Spanish, Danish, French, Swedish and Norwegian)--a man widely considered to be one of Hollywood's most thoughtful performers, forgot that Canada exists.
While introducing a documentary being screened at the festival, Mortensen denounced the injustices "that have been happening in the last eight years in this country." When reminded that he was not in the nation that invented the Patriot Act and the Guantanamo gulag, he meekly apologised. This is a man who, just last year, worked with celebrated Canadian director David Cronenberg.
When the border has become so indistinct that even America's most socially-aware cosmopolitans can cross it without realising it, we need not wonder at the sad fact that America's bowling alleys, bars and Wal-Marts teem with people whose attitude to us ranges from proprietary arrogance to hostile indifference.
"Canada's Back" all right--to a pusillanimous kind of colonial marginality that makes our days under the Québec Act look like an era of imperial grandeur. If Harper brings us "back" any farther, we shall have to share our neighbourhoods with woolly mammoths.