Friday, July 04, 2008

July 2008 Book Club Selection: The Best Country, Satya Das

Satya Das reminds Canadians of its generous nature, welcoming arms

When Satya Das arrived in Canada from India at age 12, one has to wonder if understood how much immigrating would change his life.

Throughout The Best Country, Das promotes Canada as a model for the rest of the world to follow. While certainly not without its flaws and challenges, Das argues that Canada is the country best positioned to lead the future.

Das insists this is largely the result of Canada's generous nature, multi-cultural make-up (he notes that Canada was multi-cultural long before it was ever made official, as he traces the ethnic origins of the 2002 Olympic Gold Medal winning men's hockey team all over the world), and even the structures of its own politics.

In an argument that would certainly infuriate those most determined to portray Western Canada as racist and bigoted, Das makes the argument that it is in Western Canada -- a land settled largely devoid of pre-existing French or British cultural paradigms -- that Canada's model of diversity and tolerance remains most profound.

Das recognizes incidents long past, but notes that his own experience as an immigrant has demonstrated incredible change in Western Canada within the past 40 years.

Das notes that Canadian politics are mostly demotic -- in the sense that an overwhelming majority of Canadians seem to agree on the kind of society we want to create, but we have different visions on how best to achieve it.

In fact, Das notes how remarkable it is that, in a society beset by so many competing ideas regarding how we can achieve our common vision, Canadians have en masse rejected hatred and violence and are more prone to talk their disagreements out.

If Canadians are in want of a good reason to encourage our government to be more active on the foreign stage, a quick read through The Best Country will provide a myriad of them.

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