Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Canadian Nationalism /or/ There are some things you just don't outsource

Canadian nationalism is rather subtle. It explodes into view occasionally - visit Ottawa on July 1st to see patriotism as you rarely see it - but for the most part it is a quiet and polite beast. Still, there are some areas where you're bound to get a nationalistic rise out of Canadians, and it's just not worth the headache.

A case in point is NDP MP Charlie Angus' outrage about the fact that the Canadian government's Canadian flag pins are made in China. Personally, I find Angus' rhetoric to be a bit shrill: "The maple leaf pin was manufactured by Canadian companies for decades. Now those jobs have been shipped overseas." But it was entirely predictable that this issue was going to come up. Angus raised it a few years ago with the Liberal government of the day. Indeed, just a few weeks ago, Ontario NDP MPP Peter Kormos raked the Ontario government over the coals for its Made in China provincial flags.

Is this a petty little nationalistic press release over what amounts to very few jobs and very small purchase orders, in light of the insane volumes of overseas-produced merchandise that Canadians purchase every day? Yes. But it's also an issue that a civil servant (or his overseeing minister) with the tiniest bit of political acumen could and perhaps should have circumvented.

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