Monday, May 25, 2009

"Escape To Canada" - Must-See TV

Okay, I rarely see a documentary that affects me so deeply, but if ever there has been a moment wherein I've been prouder to be Canadian, I can't think of one.

I beg of you, see "Escape To Canada".

I actually burst into tears several times. Once was when several gay American couples came to Toronto in 2003 to get married, and n none of their family members had agreed to come to support them...but more than a thousand complete strangers from Canada turned up to throw confetti after they said their vows.

Once was when the mayor of Vancouver made an impassioned speech about how no other country is going to dictate drug policies to him, and that he wants to legislate the permanent decriminalization of marijuana, and control and tax it just like alcohol, and pour every tax dollar back into the B.C. health care system.

Once was hearing some American military deserters - all of whom had already served at least one tour of duty in the Middle East - explaining why they couldn't go back, and what would happen to them if they are (were) ever caught by Bush's government.

And just now I got teary-eyed again when it was shown that, in 2005, Canada's version of Webster's Dictionary changed the definition of marriage to be "the union between two people".

It's not anti-American at all (it's just anti-Bill O'Reilly and anti-Ann Coulter). It's as critical of our PM Harper as it is of Bush. One U.S. citizen summed it up very well by saying, "We're not in Canada because we don't love America; we're in Canada because there are more freedoms here than there are in the land of the free. You can love both countries for different reasons." And there's a lot of celebration of California, too, which seems to be a state that has been adopted as Canada's sibling somehow.

(Watching Pierre Berton explain how best to roll a joint, using one of his own hardcover bestsellers, is definitely a hilarious highlight. Hearing Jean Chrétien basically say, "Uh, non, screw the war in Afghanistan, merci," ranks up there, too.)

The whole thing is fascinating - I've learned more about my own country in two hours than I did in all of my years in high school. The push and pull over laws governing gay marriage, marijuana, even our "women can walk the streets topless" practice... I had no idea just how much has gone into all of this, and how hard people have been fighting, so quietly, for so long in order to get as much equality as possible.

So, to my Canadian friends, I beg of you: FIND THIS DOCUMENTARY. Revel in it! Hell, I've got it on my DVR, and I'll burn as many copies as anyone wants, whether you're Canadian or American or Australian or British...any nationality, anywhere... Email your address to me (below) and I'll send it to you. It is remarkable.

Email me HERE

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