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COLUMN: Our romance with Canadian institutions is fizzling

'So, those Canadian brands, icons, and hallmarks are slowly changing, disappearing, and evolving, much to the chagrin and disappointment of many.'
0101 Crouse file
Columnist Nolan Crouse

Many Canadians are concerned over the loss of some of the institutions that have helped define Canada.

For example, RCMP are being replaced with provincial police forces, municipal policing, and sheriffs. Additionally, the events surrounding the Nova Scotia mass murder and the RCMP's actions at the Coutts freedom blockades, along with Alberta's pursuit of its own provincial police force have brought the RCMP under scrutiny for its performance. This attention has been brought upon the RCMP, in part, because it hasn't seen enough new graduates from its training programs to fill the vacancies across the country. Canada's romance with the RCMP is declining.

Hockey has not escaped scrutiny. What was once seen as the squeaky clean, quintessential Canadian sport, providing virtually 100 per cent of the world’s professional players, has come under the microscope, of late. Allegations of sexual misconduct at World Junior tournaments have dealt a blow hockey may not easily recover from. Abuse in hockey has been exposed going back many years, but recent allegations have triggered a new level of scrutiny. Added to hockey's woes is the fact that soccer's popularity is growing. Our country's romance with hockey is also hurting.

The days of door-to-door mail delivery are over in most parts. It wasn't long ago when Canadian mail strikes were commonplace and crippling for many families and businesses. Now, a postal work stoppage is nothing more than an inconvenience. Canada Post has slowly become less relevant, when at one time was it was identified as an essential service. Whatever romance there was in seeing the mail carrier, or visiting a post office, has disappeared completely.

Not long ago, only two television networks controlled Canadian airwaves. CTV and the CBC were seen as impeccable media icons. Now, among some members of Parliament, there is talk of defunding the CBC. The federal influence on that news network is declining, and our long-standing romance with the CBC is quickly disappearing. CTV, too, has faced the public's scorn over the firing of one of its long-time favourite Canadian newscasters, Lisa LaFlamme. Her departure is a blow to the CTV brand.

Canadians now have a plethora of options from which they can get their news. We no longer rely as heavily on CTV or the CBC. One must also consider that there is a new generation of Canadians replacing the baby boomers — LaFlamme’s greatest admirers and news viewers. These television networks, long seen as Canadian icons, are no longer as attractive to Canadians.

Canada claimed Tim Hortons as ours. Now, options such as Starbucks and Second Cup have taken a strong foothold across Canada. Today consumers can buy Timbits in 15 countries. Canadians no longer have possession over the Timmy’s brand. Its origin and history is not known by most. The donut romance is all but gone.

So, those Canadian brands, icons, and hallmarks are slowly changing, disappearing, and evolving, much to the chagrin and disappointment of many.

One can only hope, now, that Nanaimo bars, maple syrup, and beavers will survive our ever-changing Canadian identity, eh?

Nolan Crouse is a former St. Albert mayor.