Happy new year/bonne année 2020 .. (while trying to remember what happened in Canada, 1976–1992)

Dec 31st, 2019 | By | Category: In Brief

God only knows just what is going to happen to planet earth in the year 2020 that is about to begin.

Here in Canada we are bound to be paying a lot of attention to the US presidential election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. (Even if the companion Democratic presidential primaries do not seem as interesting as they ought to be.)

Then there will be the unfolding of Boris Johnson’s Brexit in the old mother country of the old British North America — and what may or may not be pressures to boost the nowadays quite modest Canada-UK trading relationship.

Then there is the continuing fascination with (among many other things he wrote) George Orwell’s 1947 speculation : “It may be that Europe is finished and that in the long run some better form of society will arise in India or China.” (As hard as this long run may currently be to see in the lands of Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping!)

We’ve taken some heart lately from stumbling across assorted remarks of the US Supreme Court associate justice Louis Brandeis (1856–1941), especially “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”

We’ve taken some heart as well from the recent 2019 Canadian federal election, in which the Justin Trudeau Liberals at least managed to hang on to a minority government (and new NDP leader Jagmeet Singh at least managed to show he is up to the job).

We’ve finally also taken a little heart from the good news that our esteemed colleague on this site, Dr. Randall White, has, as promised, finally finished the latest chapter of his current work in progress, tentatively entitled Children of the Global Village : Democracy in Canada Since 1497. See “New northern directions (and two lights that failed), 1976–1992.”

We once again caught up with Dr. White (and his alleged mistress in beguiling pig tails) at the local Tim Hortons, across from the Toronto version of Kew Gardens (also available in London, England and Queen’s, New York City). And he elegantly explained why it has taken him so long to complete his chapter on the 16 years of recent Canadian political history between 1976 and 1992 :

“A lot happened over this decade and a half — the first Quebec sovereignty referendum, the ‘patriation’ of Canada’s constitution from the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the new Constitution Act, 1982, the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (soon folded into the North American FTA that included Mexico), and the unsettling failure of Brian Mulroney’s two efforts to win Quebec’s signature on the Constitution Act, 1982, in the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords.”

Dr. White took a sip of Tim Hortons coffee (with one of the new paper cup lids that Justin Bieber has recently called “a damn outrage”), and continued : “It took me quite a while to get it all straight in my head. Whether or not I’ve succeeded is of course for readers to judge. This is in any case easily the longest chapter in the book so far. I am certainly hoping that none of the three chapters which remain will prove to be at all as long.”

The doctor paused again, for another sip of coffee from the outrageous lids, and then concluded : “I am also hoping that I will be very close to the end of the entire project by this time next year, in 2020. Meanwhile, [counterweights managing editor] Jeanne MacDonald and I very warmly wish everyone paying any attention at all a very Happy New Year — and to all a good night.”

(And this New Year’s Eve Day interview, btw, was conducted by Citizen X. Again, you can examine Randall White’s at last completed new chapter here : “New northern directions (and two lights that failed), 1976–1992.” You can also look at all so-far completed chapters in the larger Democracy Since 1497 project at “The Long Journey to a Canadian Republic”, and on the top bar of this page above. Et bonne année 2020! “M’introduire dans ton histoire.”)

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