We the North

One time I was talking to an Australian about how I think that Canada should develop stronger ties with the Nordic countries and our northern neighbours, especially since some of our traditional anglo-saxon allies are going a bit off the wall (see Brexit and Trump) and we may want some other friends to count on until they sort themselves out. The Australian proceeded to say that they too think of Australia as being like the Nordic countries and as potentially being eligible to join the club. I was a little surprised by this and replied that Australia is miles away and nowhere near eligible for that particular geographic club. Scotland and Canada can make their arguments but Australia is a bit of a long shot.

The sentiment behind this remark was that the Australian I was chatting with thinks Scandinavian social democracy is great and they want one. I get that feeling and it is part of what motivated me to go live in a Scandinavian social democracy to see what they are like in reality. However, I think that geographically Australia is a bit too much of an island in the south Pacific to join the Nordic countries or to claim a part of that northern identity. Canada on the other hand is very much a part of the north. We are on the Arctic Council and have an active territorial dispute with Denmark (who we are neighbours with). Despite the fact that most Canadians live within 300km of the American border and that the north is rather sparsely populated I like the idea that Canada is a part of the north. Somewhere along the way I became attracted to the north and have spent far more time living and traveling in it than most people do.

The book I mentioned previously 60 Degrees North has an interesting discussion of Northern identity and what it all means to be a part of the north. It’s something that I think is worth looking into more. The Raptors adopted ‘We the North’ as a slogan so why shouldn’t we embrace it to a greater extent.

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