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O Canada!

In response to:

Notes of a Neolithic Conservative from the March 26, 1970 issue

To the Editors:

I was struck by Paul Goodman’s point [NYR, March 26] that Canada is a great modern nation not too far gone in modern mistakes, and that if we could cut the great American corporations down to size, we would get a flood of excellent immigrants from the south.

We are already getting a flood of excellent immigrants—nonpolitical draft dodgers and deserters. We are also getting a flood of American intellectuals; the Americanization of Canadian universities is a big issue here right now. I wish Paul Goodman, or someone they respect, would explain to these people that they have come to a country where such freedom as we have has been achieved through English common law—freedom broadening down from precedent to precedent—and through a slow boring process of constitutional reform. Our social fabric has not been torn by revolution. New citizens must still swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth and her heirs and assigns forever, though everyone knows that the Queen is not allowed to have anything to do with our government. Our social injustices—and they are many—must be dealt with by constitutional means, if we are to preserve our integrity as a nation.

American intellectuals find our politics boring and our history uninteresting, and I feel they are importing into our political life a style and rhetoric which is both alien and threatening. I strongly suspect that if Sir George Williams University in Montreal had not been a haven for New Left intellectuals, the great computer burning of last year would not have taken place. Symbolically, this was an exciting event, but in fact it widened the generation gap, and set back the causes of improved race relations and student power in Canada.

It is just insofar as we have so little exciting history—wars and rebellions—and so much boring constitutional history that we are a happy nation. I wish the United States would send us more people like Jane Jacobs and fewer hotheaded revolutionaries.

Jocelyn Dingman Fulford

Toronto, Canada

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