The pan Canadian trip that I had hoped for a couple of years ago never happened. This May, however, I began a trip north by way of Vancouver Island, to Haida Gwaii then inland and up to Dawson City. Maybe I’ll even get to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. More to follow. In the meantime a link to what I have always thought of as the best Canadian anthem. “They All Call It Canada, But I Call It Home” by Freddy Grant.
Definding Canada North Journal:
2 May 2019
Well the journey has begun. First night out after a somewhat challenging day. Got away easily enough from Mayne. Dropped by Peden Rv to say hi to their delightful service person, Lisa. Then on to Clair Downey Service. Transmission flush was uneventful, and they acknowledged they had put my new tires on the wrong wheels, so they corrected this too. They added a couple of nuts to the bolts stabilizing the front hitch mounted spare tire holder (apparently, I will need two spare tires for the Dempster Highway.
Things went downhill from there. I was hoping to get a new radio at Sound Advice in Victoria. The $500 (give or take) unit we had talked about was really $1200, so it won’t be happening. Departed and headed to Langford. Gassed up at Costco ($1.58.9 per litre and gas prices are getting lower as I head up island) and printed up some of the Definding Canada brochures at Staples.
From there headed up the Malahat hoping to make Ucluelet by 6:30 ish. On the approach to Mill Bay, however, the tire pressure light came on and the RV started subtly pulling left and right (wind was gusting all day and driving the RV is kind of like driving a sailboat). Pulled into Mill Bay. Bought a tire pressure gauge at the Co-op (forgot mine) and pressure was good, tires weren’t very hot either. Puzzled Phoned Clair Downey and they were as baffled as I was. Final determination is that the tire sensor is at fault. Carried on without expecting to make it to Ucluelet this evening. Warning light came on and went off a few more times. Sigh. Briefly considered turning around, heading home, selling the RV and going kayaking. Is the universe trying to tell me something? In any event, I carry on.
I’ve spoken to a few people along the way about the trip objectives. Folks seem, for the most part, intrigued by and supportive of the concept of an inclusive national identity for Canada. Will have to post the updated survey to the web site tomorrow.
So here I am at Rathtrevor Provincial Park north of Nanoose. What a lovely park! And seniors rates were a delightful surprise. Didn’t sleep all that well last night so ate some leftovers from lunch and will crawl into bed soon. Tomorrow Ucluelet.
3 May 2019
Ucluelet is a friendly enough little community. Population of roughly 1600 so larger than that of Mayne Island. Strong Indigenous population. The community really caters to tourism with a lot of whale watching, fishing charters, gift shops and guest accommodations. I’m staying at the Ucluelet Campground which is on the waterfront (if you don’t count the road between the campground and the ocean). Friendly, well maintained, and in the middle of getting ready for the summer invasion of tourists. The whole town, as a matter of fact, appears to be holding its breath in anticipation of the annual summer glut of tourists. There are already a lot of out of province license plates and rental RVs populating the town.
Had a bit of an epiphany today with regards to Definding Canada and Strategic Paradigm. I’ve been reading a most excellent book “How Did We Get Into This Mess” by George Monbiot and it occurred to me that most folks today are drawing an imposed identity Peace Order and Good Governance = POGG) that has nothing to do with who we really are. Whether it’s the state, or corporate power brokers, we’ve, most of us lost our way – as individuals, as communities, as nations. The idea of Strategic Paradigm, on which I am basing Definding Canada, is that real identity is based on your relationship with your strategic and biophysical environment. In short, where you live (or choose to live) is directly connected to your identity. It determines what you do for living, how you live, what your values and priorities are, what your world view is. Unfortunately, in Canada, we have no real sense of identity beyond that imposed by government (or by simply stating that we are not like the United States and then running out of further descriptors). Canada was never intended to be a nation. Our geography is rich in resources. We were established as a resource extraction enterprise, at great cost on the part of Indigenous Canada and the disenfranchised settlers brought in from Britain, Scotland, Ireland, France, and the Ukraine (etcetera) to provide cheap labour and solve the problem of displaced tenant farmers as industrialization reduced the need for manual labour. We continue to be governed from that perspective even today (take a look at the current Ontario and Alberta governments) So if I could take back our identity from POGG and reconnect us with who we really are as a marvelously diverse collection of humanity defined by the land we call home, Canada, maybe we could move forward to a government that is more representative. Maybe we could adopt a stronger stewardship role for the land that supports and shelters us. Because I have to say, as the world climate changes, with more and more places becoming less and less habitable, Canada will be pretty appealing to a lot of people. Without a clearly defined national identity, there is no framework for new comers to adapt and become “Canadian”. Instead they will be hyphenated Canadians.
We are so rich and take this wealth so for granted. I’ve driven across Canada many times. This trip to the north is long overdue. So very much of this incredibly beautiful geography is empty of humanity (not a bad thing) but the resource extraction mindset of government and corporate Canada seems determined to destroy it all int the name of short-term profit. Maybe, just maybe, if I can help us reconnect our identity with the land, we can begin a grass roots movement to displace POGG and evolve governance that is inclusive, one that fully embraces the responsibilities of stewardship that are vital to a sustainable future. It would be so nice if the Queen was no longer head of state for Canada.
I am very weary of this colonial identity.