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winterriver

Winter River

Happy New Year to old friends and new!

A while ago, I read Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island, in which he travels about Britain, often revisiting places he had written about in his 1995 book Notes From a Small Island. Many of the charming places he originally visited have since been overcome by “progress” and are sad shadows of their former selves. In concluding his updated travel journal, Bryson writes:

May I tell you what I would like to see? I would like to see a government that said:
‘We’re going to stop this preposterous obsession with economic growth at the cost of all else. Great economic success doesn’t produce national happiness. It produces Republicans and Switzerland. So we’re going to stop trying to be a powerhouse and instead concentrate on just being lovely and pleasant and civilized. We’re going to have the best schools and hospitals, the most comfortable public transport, the liveliest arts, the most useful and well-stocked libraries, the grandest parks, the cleanest streets, the most enlightened social policies. In short, we’re going to be like Sweden, but with less herring and better jokes.’ Wouldn’t that be delightful?

My wish for Canada would be much the same. In the case of Canada, we could perhaps add politeness and kindness, and a deep regard for the well-being of our natural world. May our politicians find the honesty and strength to do the right thing. To put people before corporations. To erase the need for food banks while weaning Big Business from the public nipple. May we move forward into a better world in 2017.

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