Erin's Journals

Monday, January 17, 2022

Just a thought…

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack in everything 
That’s how the light gets in

[Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”]

You can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

I don’t believe in Blue Monday. Any day can be bright or blue and a lot of it depends on you. But some travel company came up with it as the day the bills come in, the holiday cheer is but a distant memory, and so on.

Because I find this stuff fascinating, I thought it would be positive to shine a light on something about which you may not have heard: Canada coming in first overall (up two spots from 2020) on a large independent ranking of Global Performance. Yes, as you probably figured out, that’s among all countries in the world.

If you just said, “Oh, really? Because….” and you fill in the blank, you may not be in the mood to hear how well Canada ranked. But stay with me; it’s worth reading. Our primary focus for negativity, at least anecdotally here, is our healthcare system which, as you well know, is stretched to the max. The system for which we are renowned among other nations has failed us again and again of late. Not the people in it; the people who run it. Cutbacks and more cutbacks. Putting politics or party lines ahead of people.

Nurses, doctors, hospital staff are pushed to exhaustion and then have the added insult of being harassed by idiots. Patients with life-threatening illnesses are not getting care because resources are taken up by those suffering from Covid: some who did everything they could to protect themselves, and others who waved off a chance for protection from it because they “knew better.”

My own aunt was recovering from some surgery complications when she was bumped out of the hospital room in Calgary she’d occupied for almost two weeks this month. She ended up sleeping in a hallway. I can only hope she got all the meds she needed to help her. Thank goodness she’s home today and hopefully catching up on a lot of sleep. But seriously?

Of course, while there are huge negatives, there are also the positives that if we suddenly are hit by a major health crisis, we won’t lose the roof over our heads. We do have that for which to be thankful and it is that reason for which Canada is recognized as fourth in the world in health care.

When it comes to the #1 spot for Quality of Life, which we have held for six straight years, let’s break it down: Canada ranks first in having a good job market, second in being politically stable (I guess the last election with nearly no change at all proved that, huh?) and third in having a well-developed public education system. A lot of people will disagree with that, especially with this being a back-to-school day in some parts of the country, but the ranking is backed up by independent research and likely has a major asterisk next to it for Covid times.

Where we also ranked at the very top was in Social Purpose, a new metric in this annual survey. What, you ask, is that? According to and the entire article, it means that we as Canadians can come together to support causes we feel strongly about. These include human rights, the environment and religious freedom. When we unite, it gives us a feeling of cultural cohesion and thus a shared sense of purpose. A “we are all in this together” kind of feeling.

Also, Canada ranks highly for being open for business, which may clash with what we’re seeing on storefront signs, but refers to being welcoming to capitalists and corporations. Sure, come on in. But pay a living wage, okay?

Elsewhere, we rank third behind the US and Australia for a new subcategory called Agility. That describes Canadians as being adaptable, dynamic, modern, progressive and responsive.

Yes, there’s a lot to unpack in this whole ranking and survey of some 17,000 respondents. For example, in the category Adventure, we come 12th after Brazil, Italy, Spain, Greece, Thailand, Mexico and so on, in terms of where people want to visit to feed their wanderlust.

My wanderlust is running rampant right now; when I sit quietly, all I do is think of going somewhere. Anywhere. It’s not that our lives here aren’t full and happy; I just miss warm breezes, palm trees, swimming pools, sweltering humidity. You know, like almost any Canadian in January, Blue Monday BS or not.

But while I – perhaps we – may want to get out of Canada, our reasons for that longing are far different than most of the residents of countries low on the list to which I refer today. And for that, we can be – should be – grateful.

I hope your week is gentle and that you stay safe and warm. I’ll be back with you on Thursday.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, January 17, 2022