Friday, 20 February 2009

President Obama visits Ottawa

I am part way through The Audacity of Hope. It is an excellent examination of the American political system. I knew much, married to a political husband, but it highlights and provides much enlightenment.

I can see that President Obama's spirit will spread to others. He so clearly sees the faults and the ways that the political process has contaminated previous Administrations. His worldview is impressive. Many Canadians hold him up as a shining beacon. His visit to Canada's capital had not much pomp, but circumstance. I was impressed.

I have confidence. If not now, when? I know we have a role model. I read poetry, like Geoffrey Philp's, Have No Fear, Brother Barack, and my faith is restored.

This book illuminates the factors that confound progress. In a world of profit, at the cost of employees, bonuses and stockholders who demand an outrageous return on their stocks, RRSPs, and 401Ks, I am hopeful that sanity will prevail in this economic climate. Most Canadians are optimistic that things will turn around. I have great hope.

There are those who are skeptical, and trash the hype. E.g., Macleans pundits who are So. Embarrassed.
Or Andrew Steel: "The hype around President Obama's brief state visit to Ottawa can only be described as embarassing, overwrought and - amazingly - failing to live up to the importance of the day."

David Aikin, talks of The Beavertail Summit. He, however, lauds the photographers who captured the day. For official White House: "Working With Canada" photos. It is symbolic and it is important. Despite the shortness of the visit, and the limited questions, I have high hopes.

For what? I hope that President Obama understands Canada, and Canadians. With a brother-in-law living near Toronto, and a worldview that encompasses diversity and inclusion, I know that our Canadian fabric view will be respected, and understood, if not embraced. We have differences, but we have similarities.

While President Obama cites our issues, he does understand the American impact on the environment: with a population 10 times the size or ours. I have hopes. Alberta aims to make the Athabasca Tar sand process cleaner, with carbon sequestration. Ontario aims to reduce dependence upon coal-fired hydroelectric stations, and have begun putting in wind farms and hydro dams. The US dependence upon coal has a great effect, with pollution drifting our way. "We cannot drill our way out of a dependence upon oil", calls upon changes in behaviour, attitudes and R & D strategies.

Our health care issues differ.
We have gay marriage.
We are fighting to thicken our border, while keeping trade routes (upon which we are both dependent) open.

Our country he said, "one of the best countries in the world".

Our laws, our regulations, their Constitution, are a "living document", with improvements possible. All of our politicians, on either side of the border, must work together to move forward. I hope this will happen.


The Weaver of Grass said...

Well written Jenn. I too admire Obama and feel that at last there is some hope for the world. I too love your country - if we were younger we would seriously consider selling up and moving to farm in Canada - we know several people who have done so. I have been to Canada many times - I think my favourite part is probably maritime Canada - I loved Nova Scotia and crossing the Bay of Fundy was wonderful. This year we shall be in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto briefly before going on to New York and Washington. The people are lovely and so welcoming. You are right to have such high hopes of Obama - I, like you, refuse to listen to those who are so scathing in the Press. Best wishes.

Canadian Tourism said...

Canadian Tourism shot some videos of Canadian welcoming President Obama on the occasion of his first visit:

Welcome to Ottawa, President Obama!
What should President Obama do in Ottawa?
What should President Obama know about Canada?