The downward spiral – a stoned Canada quits its job to sit on a park bench and feed the birds


“Have you been making your mortgage payments?”

“Relax dude, have you tried this stuff? It’s the bomb.”

“I asked you a question.”

“Yeah yeah, I made some payments.”

“How?”

“The money was still flowing in, so it was, like, easy.”

“What about next month’s bills?”

“Dude, relax, something will come up. We got all sorts of resources.”

“Why did you quit your job?”

“Man, that job was bogus. It was working for the man and it was killing the environment. I’m doing good now, look. I’m saving endangered species. Making the world better.”

“Those are pigeons.”

“Dude, you don’t get it. This is nature. I’m working for nature now. This is for the next generation, man. Don’t you care about our children’s future dude?”

Ok, that’s enough; no one can handle those conversations for very long in real life either. Plus I’ve become too speechless to engage anyone on serious matters anyway.

It is hard not to become speechless as we watch this Canadian slow-motion train wreck unfold before our eyes. The house is collapsing from a broken roof and internal sabotage and general lack of maintenance, and we’re arguing about whether to paint the living room with organic paint or regular. And that’s actually looking at the bright side of things; if we’re arguing about organic versus non-organic, I can get that. I can relate to the desire to source things in as naturally a manner as possible.

What we’re really spending our time dithering about is actually even more pointless and wasteful. The cannabis extravaganza that has captured our focus is an unbelievably large dead weight of uselessness that is preoccupying too many people. All in an effort to get people doing something we spent decades and billions to get them to stop doing.

Does that sound like an exaggeration? Well, here’s BC’s solicitor general getting worked up about, on a list of a hundred things we need to worry about, number 722. “This is very much an issue that the federal government needs to make a priority and take very seriously in trying to find a solution, because the impact could be significant,” Mike Farnworth said in an interview with CBC News. The servant of the province continued, “Not just in terms of people that are engaged in legal activity here in Canada, but also for people who are involved in the business of the legalization of cannabis.”

He’s referring to the pot smoker’s dilemma, that those who use cannabis or are involved in the industry may be barred from entering the United States. Farnworth’s frustration is palpable. “I have spoken… with the U.S. Consul General on this issue. We’ve raised this issue with Ottawa. They are very much aware of it. And the feedback that we’ve received from U.S. officials is that the U.S. administration has absolutely zero interest in dealing with this issue,” he said.

Imagine that. The U.S. government has no interest in wasting a single second debating the ramifications that Canada’s new cannabis laws will have on Canadians. We are not used to hearing such callousness. In Canada, when someone whines, we set up a committee to study what can be done about it. How cruel can the U.S. be, that they won’t spend time with us to listen to us snivel about the discrimination towards our poor stoned citizens and pot hawkers.

I don’t know about you, but all this crap makes my skin crawl. It used to be uplifting to be Canadian. Maybe it’s just me, but I grew up when we had some pride in building things, in being strong and silent, in being open and capable and getting the job done. We have turned into a nation of whiners and complainers. We have our native issues to work out, but natives would understand as well as anyone the challenges that are part of living in such a rugged nation. Being Canadian used to mean being tough, adaptable, and calm through whatever nature threw at us. The world used to admire the fortitude of Canadians, who would seemingly tackle anything in minus 30 degree temperatures, or send much of its youth to the other side of the world to help out in World War II, or even for crying out loud do a great job of peace keeping missions. Canada was populated and built through unbelievable efforts in harsh conditions. Through all this building we’ve developed and utilized one of the greatest natural bounties on earth, and openly share it with a needy world; from beaver pelts and lumber long ago to lithium and natural gas today. At the same time, it is critical to note that it is not whining to say “get out of our way so we can safely provide the world the fuel, minerals, and food it needs.” We are the world’s natural resources pantry, anyone is welcome to come on in and trade for what they need.

While they’re doing that, we’ve turned into this bizarre theatre where a stupid recreational drug captures all our attention and, to a certain extent, resources. Businesses, government institutions, the military, all are having to come up with plans to deal with this issue. Meanwhile, a handful of militants acting under some foreign-orchestrated “eco campaign” have hogtied development of anything energy related in this country. Their goal is well known, they wear it like a badge of honour: “no new fossil fuel development.” They are winning in Canada, making major strides in keeping Canada’s contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions from rising from 2 percent to 2.1 percent. Around the world, fossil fuel development continues unabated, because it is needed, and the additions being built will dwarf Canada’s entire GHG emissions. That’s what happens when we are stoned and they are not. The whole thing can only leave one with a sense of incredulity.

That actually sums up Canada these days. The true north strong and free does not seem to resonate with what we’ve become. I would be appalled if we ever did anything just because of what other people might think; that is a hallmark of insecurity and childishness I want no part of. But to wonder is OK, and I do wonder what Canada must look like from the vantage of most other nations. It must be quite funny actually, to watch one of the richest, most advanced, most advantaged nations on earth get tangled up in a rope and thrash around and stumble off a cliff like Yosemite Sam.

For those of us still here, we should be acutely aware that Canada’s internal sources of capital are quite likely to be joining them soon, watching Canada from local pubs, and laughing just as loud. Nothing is as funny as a stoner movie.

Read more insightful analysis from Terry Etam here. To reach Terry, click here

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