LETTER: Canada lacks real progress

A letter to the editor by Esther Darlington

To the editor,

I have never been made more aware of my country as I have since I’ve aged.

I am aware of its lack of progress, compared to the progress of other countries; particularly the Nordic countries of Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Their progress seems a light year away from Canada’s.

In the area of natural resources, such as mining and forestry, Canada seems fettered to the practices of the 19th century. We are still sending whole logs to Japan, for example. We are still clear-cutting vast tracts of our forests. Our open-pit mines, with their ponds of highly toxic waste, are left to the management of the mining corporations. Forest licences are given to the largest corporations, similar to the vast areas of land given to the Hudson Bay Company more than three hundred years ago. The development of secondary industries in the forest industry has been minimal.

Canada doesn’t harvest its forests; Canada mines its forests. So-called “selective logging” has also been fragmented, and the monitoring by government has been minimal.

In the area of social welfare, Canada must be the most backward of the G8 countries. Both in pensions and in the care of the elderly, resources are stretched to the limit, both in personnel and in funding. In the care of children, likewise, lack of government funding has ever been the excuse for some of the more notorious episodes of suicide, neglect, and sexual abuse.

Canada does not produce enough medical doctors, enough nurses, enough social workers, enough trained personnel dealing with the care of children.

Too often lip service serves as the antidote. The little girl from Sweden who shows an angry face to the world at the United Nations provokes condemnation on social media, reflecting, no doubt, the old adage “Children should be seen and not heard.”

These are just some of the conclusions of an old Canadian woman who has tried to keep herself informed. She won’t be forgiven for not being aware of mitigating factors that might reflect a brighter picture. But I am fully aware of, and I am grateful for, the freedom to express what I think.

Esther Darlington

Ashcroft

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