Have you noticed when a big American personality visits Toronto, invariably the very first question goes something like this "so what do you think of Toronto, how do you like Canada?". We then get the "world class city" response, because Toronto is just that, and all our insecurities are soothed for another moment, we’ve been validated.
Now, before anyone who lives in another city pokes fun at Toronto’s insecurities, it bears mentioning that everywhere I’ve been, Toronto seems to be an unhealthy obsession. Tearing down Toronto is a national pastime, someone people feel better and it cleanses their own jurisdictional insecurities. It’s not a pride, so much as trying to be comparable. I don’t sense the same type of insecurity with say New York, London, Paris, but in Canada the hate on is almost required and it belies some commentary on relative worth.
Quebecers are insecure in Canada, that dynamic plays out in every debate, what seems rational is reduced to pride. When Danny Williams retires, he cites his main accomplishment as giving NFLD an equal voice, showing the rest of Canada that the province is no longer the poor sister of confederation, it is all about addressing the inferiorities . This mentality extends all across Atlantic Canada. Turn your gaze out West, the new pride is to often a "well show em" attitude, again the psychological underpinning of which is sheer insecurity.
I firmly believe when a nation, a province, a city, a demographic, has truly arrived, they no longer seek validation, they just are, confident and assured. Unfortunately, our confederation suffers because what motivates isn’t geniune confidence, but a true inferiority complex and all the handicaps that pre-disposition brings to the table. I’ll know Canada has arrived when we don’t react to not getting a Grammy nomination, when Alberta can display its pride without slagging the center of the universe, when Quebec can enter into a federal arrangement without a threatened disposition, when Brad Pitt comes to town and Toronto doesn’t require a head pat. Until then, we are arrested, divided, all because of inferiorities, both real but mostly just perceived.
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