As Canada Day slowly comes to an end in Germany, I can't help but wonder what it is going to be like for me the next time I am in Canada?
By now, most of my friends and family in Canada have found out about what I am doing in Europe. None of them have said anything negative about the Tar Sands Demonstrations Europe Project, but I have had some experiences in the past which lead me to believe some may misinterpret my efforts as anti-Canadian.
The opinion piece I wrote last December about the damage the tar sands were doing to Canada's international reputation (see my 2nd post) enraged one reader so much that he told me to hand in my maple leaf. To test out the waters I sometimes tell Canadians in Berlin I am organizing demonstrations in five European cities to raise awareness about the tar sands. There is always an awkward silence afterwards.
Personally, I don't get it. As far as I can remember Canadians have always been openly critical of things Canadian whether they were our hockey teams, hospitals or governments but I lived in Canada during the Mulroney and Chretien years. Has it become a taboo in the Harper years? I sometimes get the impression the tar sands are like a dirty family secret that you just are not supposed to talk about outside of the family. That would explain the awkward silences and the enraged reader.
The thing is, the Tar Sands Demonstrations Europe Project is pro-Canada. I created the project to be in solidarity with Canadians who are concerned about the destruction caused by tar sands development (and they are giving us lots of support right now!). I began the project in the belief that if we do not do something about the tar sands quickly Canada's international reputation as a clean, green, environmentally friendly country respectful of human rights will be shattered.
I will be back in Canada in September for a friend's wedding. I guess I will find the answers to my questions then.
Happy Canada Day everyone
Tags: tar sands demonstrations europe