Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Mar.  6, 2006)

Mediocrity should not be a Canadian value

  By John Martin

The lackluster performance of the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team comes as a great disappointment to many.  After all, hockey has long been one of those institutions Canadians are proud and passionate about. 

But if we examine the decline in, and dismantling of the other institutions and ideals that have historically defined this country, the Olympic hockey team free fall is quite consistent with the recent erosion of Canadiana on a number of fronts.

Consider the things that Canadians identify as making us unique and proud.

Our system of universal medicine was once the envy of many a country.  But it is now raised by numerous nations as an example of how not to provide health care.  Surgery line-ups, lack of doctors in many communities and patients suffering and even dying on wait lists are common. 

Less than a generation ago Canada’s armed forces were among the world’s strongest military contingents.  But after years of neglect and attack by government, our military is a sad shell of its once mighty self.  We once had the third largest naval force in the world.  Today, the West Edmonton Mall has a bigger and more sea worthy fleet.  Our helicopters can’t fly and our subs can’t submerge.  The Canadian Airborne was the best such squad in the world.  We shut them down.

There was a time when the CBC did what it does better than any other publicly funded broadcaster on the planet.  Today it is irrelevant to viewers and exists for little reason other than to showcase Toronto’s ethnic demographics, profile great Canadian socialists (now there’s an oxymoron for you) and bash Americans.  No wonder no one tunes in.

Not too long ago we led the world in peace-keeping, humanitarian missions and foreign aid.  Now, our leaders frantically lecture the United Nations and other countries about these priorities all the while thumping their chests, but we continue to punch well below our weight. 

We’ve also fallen from grace in the eyes of those organizations that monitor human rights, government corruption, environmental protection and fighting child poverty.  To put it bluntly, we’re all hat and no cattle.

And how about the great, made in Canada virtue, “multiculturalism”?  We continue to pride ourselves as the most accepting, tolerant and diverse nation in the world.  In truth, you won’t find another country where so many engineers, doctors and other professionals are driving cabs and pushing brooms because we continue to reject the training and education our immigrants bring with them.

Cheer up hockey fans.

The woeful performance by the men’s hockey team does not represent the end of an era.

That process has been underway for quite some time.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

Prime Time Crime current headlines

Contributing Writers