Field Notes: Canadian Observations

Posted on 14/01/2011 by


Well, I have returned safely from Canada, and I have a few thoughts and observations to convey. This isn’t anything cohesive, but rather things which have been kicking around in my brain.

1) Victoria BC is proof that zoning works.
2) Canada is, in fact, better.
3) There is something dreadfully wrong in the US.

Beyond all that:

The first thing I noticed after getting ashore at Victoria, is that people are not nervous and twitchy. Quite the opposite: they seem confident and focused, even the pan-handlers.

Fuel is pushing the equivalent of $5 a gallon in Canada, and the economy seems to take it in stride. Some vehicle maintenance (eg  squeaky brakes) is probably being deferred, but by and large the price is being paid. Imagine what would happen in the US if fuel was that price.

As a welcome change from Port Angeles, there were no DHS agents wandering about looking for problems to solve. Instead I saw a handful of police looking busy, some Commissionaire passing out tickets, and one plainclothes guy who was probably RCMP.

Apparently it isn’t well-known that the PATRIOT Act created the 100-mile “Constitution-free” zone. Those of you who have friends who don’t know, or don’t believe, refer them here:

The grapevine suggests that US citizens were fleeing to Canada in droves during the Bush presidency. That rate has gone down right now, but I suspect that the Obama presidency will be taking certain actions to drive the flight of ‘ethical refugees’ back up, perhaps to new heights. Don’t believe any US statistics which suggest that the emigration rate is stable; the outflow of native-born US citizens is only countered by an inflow of non-native-born Canadians.

And, finally, on the ferry back this evening, I saw an interesting sight: a US supercarrier, out on manoeuvres. She was probably the USS Abraham Lincoln, the supercarrier which hosted President Bush and the infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner.
Regardless her identity, the interesting thing was that her manoeuvres were tight corkscrews in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I didn’t see any jets or helicopters, nor surface escorts; it seemed to be just her, running around in little circles, probably on a ten-mile run moving out from Sequim toward the US border in the Strait.
Hmm… Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Hormuz. Both are naval chokepoints, one happens to be near Naval Station Everett. The other isn’t.

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Posted in: Field Notes