The obvious slapped me in the face tonight. I’ve blindly scraped my jaw off the floor in reaction to American policy and mindset; too exasperated to focus on the reason in front of me. If pressured I might even admit feeling a little sheepish about my unforgiving stance. I doubt that sensation will stay for dinner, but the invitation was a break through. This is huge – I’m revisiting the basics to form a better understanding of why Canada and America are so different.
The nugget of insight leading to this state of enlightenment is devilishly simple – Americans become wingnut evangelists at the mere mention of the constitution. Blind, rabid defense of the constitutional bible; commanding free speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms. However crazy it makes me – I get it. They kicked out the British, wiped the slate clean, and penned some ideals. I’m not putting them down – rather astounding when you think about it.
Canada on the other hand, went with the flow. We made nice with the French, even allowing them to keep their system of civil law. The British North America Act of 1867 was the first hint at cutting our apron strings. Canada became Dominion of the British Commonwealth. The Statute of Westminster in 1931 released Canada as a British colony, although until 1949 Canadians could still appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain if they didn’t like the ruling from our Supreme Court.
While Americans held hand over heart, bellowing God Bless America, Canadians politely sang God Save the Queen. America arrived in a blaze of glory, while Canada limped towards sovereignty. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that monarchy made the difference.
Abortions were illegal in Canada until Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau decriminalized them in 1969. Abortions were then allowed provided a committee of doctors ruled it was in the best interest of the mother. In 1988 R.V. Morgentaler was the deciding case in which Canada’s Supreme Court struck down the 1969 law as unconstitutional. Since then there have been no laws to limit abortion in Canada. In Canada life “begins” when a foetus exits a mother’s womb.
Most certainly beyond pondering, I’m astounded by this backward slide. The State of Arizona recently voted in a law defining the beginning of life as “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman” in other words – before she is even pregnant.
A lot more attention should be paid to our governing bodies. If this isn’t a wake up call to ponder, I don’t know what is.