Here’s a May 2009 letter (subsequently published) responding to an old friend.
Re: “Celebrate international experience,” May 22
While I can appreciate the comments made by my friend JanaLee Cherneski in her op-ed piece (“Celebrate international experience,” May 22) on the importance of cosmopolitan experience, I respectfully disagree with her inference that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s self-imposed exile abroad for his entire adult life should not be criticized politically.
By his own volition, Mr. Ignatieff has had limited-to-no first-hand experience with the following events: the FLQ October Crisis; Paul Henderson and every subsequent Canada Cup; the introduction of bilingualism; the patriation of the Constitution and the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; two referenda on Quebec separation; the National Energy Program; Free Trade; Meech Lake; Charlottetown; Oka; the birth of Reform; the Wayne Gretzky trade; CFL expansion and contraction; budget cuts in the 1990s; Ipperwash; the Nisga’a Treaty; the creation of Nunavut; the 2002 Olympic gold medals in hockey, and; Canada’s signature to the Kyoto Accord.
And now he wishes to lead our nation’s government? No wonder this is the same man has the temerity to write a book that informs us that Canadian patriotism is simply an act of “imagining” itself.
I agree that it is important for Canadians to get out and experience the world. That said, it is just as important, if not moreso, for Canadians abroad to experience their own country first-hand, especially if they wish to lead this great Dominion some day.
Janalee’s piece was first published in The Mark.