The world needs more smugness

In a classic "Dreamland" piece (see Roy Rempel's book of the same name from Breakout Educational Network) in today's Ottawa Citizen, former PM Joe Clark says as the world becomes more changely in its changingness, Canada should use its diversity to bring diversity out of diversity or something. Perhaps I am unfair. But here are his own words: "As the world's religious, cultural and economic divides grow deeper, our diversity and our diplomatic abilities have become more relevant. The critical international skills needed to shorten these divides include prominently the ability to draw differences together, to manage diversity, to generate trust -- the traditional and genuine signature qualities of Canada." He praises the Harper government for spending more on the military but reproaches it because "our diplomatic and development resources are being run down now as steadily and certainly as our defence resources were run down in earlier decades."

As for why we are just what this diversely diversified world of the diverse 21st century needs, he says "Let's list just five of our assets as Canadians that can be most relevant in this changing world: 1. Our diversity at home.... 2. Our ability to bridge differences.... 3. The different North America.... 4. Our multilateral instinct.... 5. Our ability to work with non-state actors...."

At the risk of a chilly reality check, here's a plan. Given how fortunate Canada has been geopolitically and historically, how minor our governance problems are compared to those in many parts of the world, let's use these five splendid qualities to overcome Quebec's alienation within Canada before we strut onto the world stage in a cloud of self-congratulation.

Or is that too much like hard work?