Finger Pointing

Hello again from the land of whales, Wallys and wetness!

I’m about to tread some dangerous water. I had two different topics I
considered writing about this week. The first is a lighthearted look at
relationships which would probably get me a couple of sweet emails from
friends. The second is the sort that  would prompt a few 
"take me off the list immediately"  emails. I’ve chosen the second
topic. Why? Because the first topic is one that I
can write about and the second topic is one that I should write about.

I begin with a caveat…

I like Americans. Among my many American friends are some of the most
intelligent, kind and ethical human beings I have ever met. I am
eternally thankful for having them in my life.

The story begins like so…

Recently I had a good little e-debate with my friend Steve (one of the
Americans I just wrote about) about war, politics, and
American/Canadian relations. He expressed his unhappiness with
Canadians pretending to be such great friends and neighbours and then
bad mouthing America to everyone else. I found this a little
disturbing, especially when I considered that recently I’ve caught
myself saying, "F-ing Yanks" in regards to some activities going on at
the docks here…but more about that later.

The poet Robert Burns wrote, "
Oh would some power the gift he give us, to see ourselves as others see us"
and with that in mind I decided to try and paint a picture of how
Americans might see Canadians and vice versa ( I could be totally off
base but here goes):

Americans see us as enjoying all the benefits of living next door to
the world’s greatest super power without ever wanting to ‘get our hands
dirty’. Sure the world loves Canadians, we’re so polite, we’re so
peaceful but it’s the U.S. doing all the nasty jobs it takes to truly
keep the true north strong and free. And in return for all this Canada
goes around abusing our neighbour to all the other countries who will
listen. Some friend, huh?

Canadians see Americans as the big, tough kid we happen to live next
door to who always seems to be getting into a fight and trying to drag
us in with him. Sadly, the stereotype of the loudmouth, not-so-bright,
rude, rich cowboy is alive and well in Canada. Canadians believe that
the Amercians feel they can go into any country and do whatever they
want, whenever they want knowing no one will stop them.

Which brings me to the docks of Ucluelet.

Whether people want to face it or not, the world’s oceans are in big
trouble. In BC, it’s been a long, tough, struggle to bring the salmon
stocks back up to where they should be – and we’re a
way from being there still. Regulations for recreational and commercial
fishers in this province are quite strict (although I feel they should
be even more so) and we are slowly starting to see some results. The
salmon is an important, almost totemic, part of our culture and the
majority of locals – though they may whine – respect and adhere to the
DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) regulations when sport fishing
for salmon. Still, the Prez and I (mostly the Prez) see a lot of
illegal activity going on around the docks and the offenders are almost
always…sorry to say this… American.

DFO regs state that
you cannot can fish anywhere outside of your permanent residence and
yet there are a whole whack of RV’s with U.S. plates and canners going
full steam ahead right here, right now. And that is just
example of the crimes being committed here. The local DFO officers must
be itching to put the Prez on their "block caller" list as he has
called in to report
many times. Unfortunately, the DFO simply does not have the manpower to
enforce all the regs all the time. One day the Prez had had enough and
confonted an American at the dock with some illegal (non-hatchery)
Coho. "You know that’s not legal right?" says the Prez. "Yep. Oh well,
they’re dead now" says the American. And so, my friends, the stereotype
lives on.

But wait, the story takes another interesting turn…

I like to do my
homework before I write anything factual so I hopped on to the internet
to surf among DFO regs, salmon stats, etc. and came upon an
"enlightening" article on the David Suzuki website (David is my hero)
regarding McFishing, my place of employment. If you want to read all
that was written, I’ll send you the link but basically Suzuki slams
McFishing and it’s parent corporation for essentially running a
commercial fishing operation under the guise of a sport fishing resort.
Gulp. Then came the little voice in my head, "
You knew they were unethical when you went to work there, didn’t you?" and
that voice is never wrong. I learned a little phrase when I went to
Alanon after my divorce from my alcoholic husband, "Every time you
point a finger, there are three more pointing back at you." Ouch.

So I’m still angry
with the Americans who come to this town to poach fish and break laws
and thumb their noses at us…but I’m a little less self righteous now.
I guess I’ll have to work on cleaning up my own back yard
first, then see what I can do to deal with my neighbours.

And just to set the record straight before the angry emails…

Are Americans the
only ones who fish illegally here? No. Do Canadians ever break the law
in the U.S.? Yes. Isn’t illegal sport fishing just a drop in the bucket
compared to the many other factors threatening the salmon stocks? 
Sadly, yes. Have
ever broken any fishing laws, local or otherwise? No, not that I’m
aware of. Doesn’t it bother me that I work for a scumbag company?
Sigh…yes. Do I still like Americans? YES.

Check out David Suzuki’s website – it’s enlightening.

Until next week (well those of you who return), I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!

The Princess

This entry was posted in News and politics. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Finger Pointing

  1. County says:

    I just happened on your space, and I really like it! And I think you\’re dead on with the views of Canadians on Americans… but I dont\’ know about vice versa! Anyway, I think I\’ll keep stopping by.

  2. Kristene says:

    Thanks Christine! Stop by anytime. I post once a week, usually Monday or Tuesday. Yes, it is tough to know exactly what someone else thinks of you. I based my comments on feedback I\’ve gotten from some of my American friends.

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