Friday, June 25, 2010

National symbols

When you think of Canada, what is the first symbol that pops into your mind? The flag? The maple leaf? The beaver? The Canada goose? Hockey? The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, has taken up a challenge during this week leading up to Canada Day to find out what Canadians think should be the symbols that represent our country.

Here's an excerpt from the article:
Canadians don’t like to be rushed, it seems. And we don’t like anyone feeling left out or ignored. So we choose our national symbols slowly and often, after much debate.
For a long time, Canada has had an official coat of arms, motto, and royal symbols. But the country didn’t have its own flag to fly until almost a century after Confederation. It took three tries by parliamentary committees, starting in 1925.
O Canada became the official anthem in 1980, a full century after it was first sung. This was five years after the beaver was given the coveted official animal designation. It was only in 1996 that the maple tree was officially recognized as a Canadian symbol. In 2002, the Canadian horse won official status as a symbol.
Canadian horse? I didn't even know such a think existed. Maybe we really are in need of some new symbols. The Globe and Mail's survey attempts to find answers in five categories: If Canada had a national animal, what would it be?, What should be Canada's national plant?, What should be Canada's national dish?, If Canada had a national uniform, what would it be?, and Which team would best represent Canada? If you want to participate, take the five-question survey and vote for your top choices.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Do you want to live in Canada?

Being Canadian - and proud of the fact that I was born and grew up in this country - I've often wondered how many people from other countries would like to live in Canada. Today I found out. Apparently, according to a Globe and Mail article, "more than half of people around the world say they would abandon their homelands and move to Canada if they could. Given the choice, 53 per cent of adults in the world's 24 leading economies said they would immigrate to Canada, according to an international survey commissioned by the Historica-Dominion Institute in partnership with the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Aurea Foundation."

Interested? Want to learn more? Check out the intriguing graphics below, or read the article.

The most surprising thing I learned after reading the article and results of the survey was that a whopping 30 percent of Americans said they would move to Canada. I was amazed. I never thought the number would be so high.

Edit: Here are the results of the survey.

In another fascinating survey result, mentioned in a subsequent article, Swedes were the last people in the world (with the Japanese next in line) wanting to move to Canada. Experts suggest several theories for this, one being that, "Rather than express strong admiration for Canada, Swedes might be inclined to say something non-committal. 'It's not necessarily that they think negatively, they're just not going to express a strong opinion,'" said Canadian-born spacecraft engineer Nils Pokrupa, who has lived and worked in Sweden for the last six years. Curiously, in spite of this non-committal attitude, "years of hockey dominance may have influenced one of the few positive impressions Canadians have made on Sweden. They rose all the way to the middle-of-the-pack on the question of whether Canada has athletes who are among the best in the world."

Note: I guess the Globe and Mail doesn't follow proper AP style. They split percent into two words: per cent. That's a definite AP style no-no. Then again, it is a Canadian newspaper so I guess they probably follow CP style. Maybe I should invest in a CP stylebook...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Helping or hurting?

When a disaster - natural or otherwise - takes place, North Americans and citizens of first-world countries usually respond in a big way, either financially or by sending volunteers and equipment. But in the case of the Haiti earthquake, all the free healthcare flowing into the country in recent months might not have been the best way to handle the situation.

According to a UPI article, volunteers and supplies to Haiti are causing some local doctors' practices and private hospitals to shut down. "'Healthcare is free now' from volunteers, Savain 55, a radiologist and third-generation physician, told the Morning News. 'And so, unless something changes, the private Haitian medical section will not be able to survive.'"

Maybe the best thing first-world countries can do after a crisis is provide financial help and wait to see what else the locals need, before jumping right in to get involved where they might not actually be needed.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Historic lighthouses

Have you ever wanted to live in a lighthouse? Well, yesterday almost 1,000 Canadian lighthouse were declared surplus and now risk being shut down unless locals take them over. According to a Globe and Mail article, "Under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, which came into force May 29, individuals and communities can apply to take over surplus lighthouses for tourism or other uses."

Too bad I'm going overseas soon or I might consider it.  Many of these lighthouses, like the Peggy's Point lighthouse in Peggy's Cove, NS, are Canadian icons and historic sites.  As the plan stands currently, these tourist destinations could be replaced with new, automated metal lighthouses.  And who wants that??  Certainly not me, and I'm not alone.  So, if you're Canadian and feel inclined to keep up a lighthouse, here's more information.

At Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Global Peace Index

According to a UPI new story, New Zealand was ranked the most peaceful nation for the second year in a row, with Iceland and Japan coming in second and third place respectively. The statistics in the story come from the fourth annual Global Peace Index. To check it out, click the picture below. It's pretty interesting to see the differences between countries and look at data from previous years.