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Canadian Miracle - The Canadian Pacific Railroad


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I'm on page 480 of 574 of The Impossible Railway, by Pierre Berton. I am almost finished reading this book. What can I say? This book is overlooked epic of the building of a great country as much as the building of a great railroad and a great nation.

I'll start with the shortcomings of the country highlighted in the book. Quebec demonstrated its ability to dominate Parliament out of proportion to its numbers, And also, in a mixed socialist-capitalist system, the potential for corruption.
And the love/hate relationship with Americans and the U.S.
 
Now for the greatness. It is obvious. A destitute country that was barely in existence (six years) when it embarked on a Herculean nation-building project. Think what you will about the Riel Rebellion but it demonstrated the need to be able to move across the country expeditiously. And Canada built the railroad successfully through some extremely hostile terrain. Frankly, it dwarfs my country's accomplishment in building its railroad.
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1 hour ago, jbg said:
 
I'll start with the shortcomings of the country highlighted in the book. Quebec demonstrated its ability to dominate Parliament out of proportion to its numbers, And also, in a mixed socialist-capitalist system, the potential for corruption. And the love/hate relationship with Americans and the U.S.

Which both continue to this day. Quebec's insular attitude and tribal vote have given it considerably more power within confederation than Ontario, despite the latter's larger size and wealth. And Quebec has always been the most corrupt of our provinces.

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 Now for the greatness. It is obvious. A destitute country that was barely in existence (six years) when it embarked on a Herculean nation-building project. Think what you will about the Riel Rebellion but it demonstrated the need to be able to move across the country expeditiously. And Canada built the railroad successfully through some extremely hostile terrain. Frankly, it dwarfs my country's accomplishment in building its railroad

This must be quite an old book. The Canadian chattering classes (artists, writers, academics, media) no longer talk about Canadian greatness. Instead the narrative is Canada is a horrifically awful country populated by the racist descendants of cruel, evil, exploitive, murderous, racist, homophobic butchers and barbarians. There is nothing good about Canada's past and if you try to say otherwise you're obviously immoral.

Welcome back, btw.

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31 minutes ago, Argus said:

Which both continue to this day. Quebec's insular attitude and tribal vote have given it considerably more power within confederation than Ontario, despite the latter's larger size and wealth. And Quebec has always been the most corrupt of our provinces.

My general view as a history buff (and former college history major) is the more things change the more they stay the same. There are revolutionary developments such as the development of steam, electricity, telecommunications or the Internet. But they engraft themselves onto established cultural habits.

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This must be quite an old book. The Canadian chattering classes (artists, writers, academics, media) no longer talk about Canadian greatness. Instead the narrative is Canada is a horrifically awful country populated by the racist descendants of cruel, evil, exploitive, murderous, racist, homophobic butchers and barbarians. There is nothing good about Canada's past and if you try to say otherwise you're obviously immoral.

The book is 1972 copyright. There are many old-style aspects to the book. The book is not "ra-ra" pro-Canadian. But it is balanced and objective. The modern fixation on self-flagellation bothers me to now end.

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Welcome back, btw.

Thanks. I do pop in every now and then and spend time on the Canadian sections of other boards.

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6 hours ago, jbg said:
 
I'm on page 480 of 574 of The Impossible Railway, by Pierre Berton. I am almost finished reading this book. What can I say? This book is overlooked epic of the building of a great country as much as the building of a great railroad and a great nation.

I'll start with the shortcomings of the country highlighted in the book. Quebec demonstrated its ability to dominate Parliament out of proportion to its numbers, And also, in a mixed socialist-capitalist system, the potential for corruption.
And the love/hate relationship with Americans and the U.S.
 
Now for the greatness. It is obvious. A destitute country that was barely in existence (six years) when it embarked on a Herculean nation-building project. Think what you will about the Riel Rebellion but it demonstrated the need to be able to move across the country expeditiously. And Canada built the railroad successfully through some extremely hostile terrain. Frankly, it dwarfs my country's accomplishment in building its railroad.

A great accomplishment balanced by a great disaster: Some win, some lose. 

http://activehistory.ca/2013/12/an-unsettling-prairie-history-a-review-of-james-daschuks-clearing-the-plains/

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1 hour ago, jacee said:

A great accomplishment balanced by a great disaster: Some win, some lose. 

That's the way of the world.  And we have institutionalized this by allowing trade to decimate industries, for the greater good, by playing off one win over another loss.

 

Manufacturing goes down, other industries gain... if they have a competitive advantage etc.  And now it's time for oil to die... I'm sad for those impacted but...

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8 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

...Manufacturing goes down, other industries gain... if they have a competitive advantage etc.  And now it's time for oil to die... I'm sad for those impacted but...

 

...except for the Canadian Miracle that is moving far more oil by rail:

 

fg-c6-eng.jpg?w=590&quality=60&strip=all

 

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/will-more-pipelines-stop-oil-trains-and-the-growing-risk-of-derailments

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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7 hours ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

...except for the Canadian Miracle that is moving far more oil by rail:

 

Perhaps the Progressives will make the oil industry die in Canada, but oil is far from dead, as there is no replacement, not even close, and America is now producing over 10 million barrels a day, exceeding the previous all time high in 1970.

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17 hours ago, jacee said:

A great accomplishment balanced by a great disaster: Some win, some lose. 

http://activehistory.ca/2013/12/an-unsettling-prairie-history-a-review-of-james-daschuks-clearing-the-plains/

Generally in a confrontation between primitive and advanced societies the outcome is tragic for the more primitive ones. It's sad but true.

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21 minutes ago, jbg said:

Generally in a confrontation between primitive and advanced societies the outcome is tragic for the more primitive ones. It's sad but true.

That might have been a foregone conclusion in the past but nowadays so-called primitive societies are figuring out how to use the legal systems of so-called advanced societies meaning the outcome is still a moving target.  To everyone's betterment.

The only way out for advanced societies is to go back to being primitive and doing things the olde-fashioned way.  Tragic but true.

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1 hour ago, eyeball said:

That might have been a foregone conclusion in the past but nowadays so-called primitive societies are figuring out how to use the legal systems of so-called advanced societies meaning the outcome is still a moving target.  To everyone's betterment.

The only way out for advanced societies is to go back to being primitive and doing things the olde-fashioned way.  Tragic but true.

The better approach would be for the non-primitive societies to be more self-confident and less self-destructive. There is no reason to let hijackers, for example, use an airplane they couldn't have built to destroy buildings they couldn't have built.

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22 minutes ago, jbg said:

The better approach would be for the non-primitive societies to be more self-confident and less self-destructive.

True enough.

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There is no reason to let hijackers, for example, use an airplane they couldn't have built to destroy buildings they couldn't have built.

Well....there was a reason for that and I guess a non-primitive society that persists acting primitively is taking it's chances in today's world.

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1 hour ago, eyeball said:

Well....there was a reason for that and I guess a non-primitive society that persists acting primitively is taking it's chances in today's world.

Echoing Chretien's views. And by the way I finished the book on the train riding into NYC today.

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On 3/2/2020 at 7:40 PM, Michael Hardner said:

Manufacturing goes down, other industries gain... if they have a competitive advantage etc.  And now it's time for oil to die... I'm sad for those impacted but...

We have no replacement for fossil fuels either as an energy source or in the source for the petrochemical industry whose products are in 95% of the things we build, own and wear. Wind and solar make up less than 1% of world energy, and most of that is heavily subsidized. No one seems to want nuclear, despite it being a far 'cleaner' energy source, and hundreds and hundreds of coal plants are continuing to be built around the world. One presumes that eventually those plants will be replaced by oil or natural gas.

The blithe predictions of the end of the need for oil are many decades in advance of any reality. 

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6 hours ago, eyeball said:

That might have been a foregone conclusion in the past but nowadays so-called primitive societies are figuring out how to use the legal systems of so-called advanced societies meaning the outcome is still a moving target.  To everyone's betterment.

The only way out for advanced societies is to go back to being primitive and doing things the olde-fashioned way.  Tragic but true.

Or we could just change the constitution to remove all special native rights. That'd be good too. Natives could then be just Canadians like the rest of us.

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29 minutes ago, Argus said:

Or we could just change the constitution to remove all special native rights. That'd be good too. Natives could then be just Canadians like the rest of us.

Ok. We'll have reached the end of the need for oil by then so...planet saved. Thanks.

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3 hours ago, jbg said:

 I finished the book on the train riding into NYC today.

I read his book, The Last Spike: The Great Railway many years ago. Back when I was still reading things... I don't recall much about it, but it was a good read. I do recall the references he makes to the connections between nation building, and the railway. Rails of steel united the provinces, allowing for the convenient trade of goods and the movement of people. In one sense the railway is the very backbone upon which this country was built. And that is also why, when Mohawk natives choose to block the rails they understand all to well the effect of what they are doing. Evidently a history lesson about trains we have forgotten, but they haven't.

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On 3/2/2020 at 12:03 PM, jbg said:
 
I'm on page 480 of 574 of The Impossible Railway, by Pierre Berton....

The CBC made it into a TV series:

The National Dream

William Hutt was a good gin-drinking Macdonald.

====

PS. This series should be available for the world to see, without paywall. Heck, I paid for it years ago. 

 

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11 hours ago, August1991 said:

The CBC made it into a TV series:

The National Dream

William Hutt was a good gin-drinking Macdonald.

====

PS. This series should be available for the world to see, without paywall. Heck, I paid for it years ago. 

 

One of my favorite songs, Canadian Railroad Trilogy, I believe was written for this show:

 

 

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8 hours ago, August1991 said:

 The CBC, once upon a time, created content.

They still do - Baroness Von Sketch is a good show and they currently create it.

The problem with the CBC is that the executives have created a culture in which it's almost impossible to create a good show.   

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On 3/5/2020 at 10:28 PM, August1991 said:

Palm hit.

Gordon Lightfoot did not write this song for a video.

The CBC, once upon a time, created content.

For what was Gordon Lightfoot commissioned to write this song?

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3 hours ago, jbg said:

For what was Gordon Lightfoot commissioned to write this song?

Uh, he wasn't commissioned.

In Canada, in Quebec - indeed America - people write such songs because they are free to do this:

 

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On 3/2/2020 at 7:40 PM, Michael Hardner said:

That's the way of the world.  And we have institutionalized this by allowing trade to decimate industries, for the greater good, by playing off one win over another loss.

 

Manufacturing goes down, other industries gain... if they have a competitive advantage etc.  And now it's time for oil to die... I'm sad for those impacted but...

 Oil is not dying. I hope the kids realize that if oil does goes, their new phones will be 20 grand each. lol

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