Happy 135th Birthday, Canada

My country is officially 135 years old today. Not exactly a round or inspiring number like 100, 125 or 150, but reason to celebrate nonetheless.

Unfortunately, here in South Dakota, it's unlikely that I'll be seeing any fireworks, either now or on Independence Day. It's probably for the best. Everything is so dry here, and the Black Hills wildfire is only 35% contained, lighting fireworks would be the epitome of "asking for it".

How dry is it? Well, it's so dry, my eyes itch, my nose is plugged (but not runny) and my lips are chapped. The temperature is now 96'F (37'C), and I don't mind it one bit (if this were Ontario, I'd be crawling to the nearest refrigerator or shopping mall (same difference).

I've spent this Monday taking it easy. I'm still recovering from the three days of travel. We found a decent coffee shop in downtown Pierre, and I worked on Fathom Five for a good hour or so. The slower pace of life here takes a little getting used to, but I'm enjoying it.

The United States promises to have an interesting summer. Not only has a U.S. court ruled the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional (a violation of the separation of church and state), today another U.S. court has ruled the federal death penalty unconstitutional. It is about time that Americans take these issues by the horns and talk things out constructively. Vain hope, I know, (name me one country in this world that still talks things out constructively?) but still worth hoping for.

As for Canada, it would be nice if we could have something visionary to debate about constructively (vain though that hope may be). Instead, it looks like the only debate going is whether or not Jean Chretien or Paul Martin should lead the Liberal Party and thus this country. I'm getting bored with federal politics in Canada. Back in 1993, we needed a rest from the divisive policies of the Mulroney administration and, back then, Chretien fitted the bill. Now it's 2002, and I want some vision to vote for or against. Unfortunately, the opposition is divided, and the Liberals are lethargic. Our cities need federal and provincial help, but the public isn't motivated enough to hold the politicians' feet to the fire... yet.

Yet. There's always that hope. The summer of 2002 may be a boring one politically for Canadians, but we may have things to talk about come 2003.

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