Tuesday, July 3, 2018

To Go, Or Not To Go

I have written elsewhere on this blog about the decision I and others have made to boycott travel to the U.S. as long as Donald Trump and his peculiar brand of madness hold sway. I am happy to report that Steve Paikin has come to the same decision:
[I]t’s been a Paikin family tradition for many years to travel to the U.S. for a baseball road trip with my dad and as many of my kids as can attend. We’ve done Boston, Cleveland, New York , Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and others.

We’re not going to do it this year.

....when President Donald Trump began slapping tariffs on Canadian goods for reasons of “national security,” it felt wrong. It was an intellectually dishonest move. How could the country that fought alongside the U.S. in World War II, in Korea, and in Afghanistan be a national-security threat? It makes no sense.

Even most Americans seem to recognize how misguided the tariffs are, given the negative impact they’re having on innumerable U.S.-based businesses. And when I saw the federal Liberal government and the incoming Progressive Conservative provincial government speak as one on the stupidity of this policy (with the support of all other major parties), I thought: Okay, that’s it.

America, you just don’t deserve our money.
Even though as individuals we may doubt we have much influence, money, as they say, talks:
We will not spend hundreds of dollars on your baseball tickets. We will not spend hundreds of dollars on your restaurants and hotels. We will not spend hundreds of dollars on your gas. We will not spend hundreds of dollars at museums or at the theatre. We will not spend hundreds of dollars on souvenirs and gifts.

I think it’s time I looked at product labels of all kinds much more carefully. California wines? Not anymore. I’ll try some local brands, from Niagara-on-the-Lake or Prince Edward County. And maybe I should make the extra effort to purchase groceries at local farmers’ markets rather than buy American brand-name stuff at the supermarket.
On a personal note, since Trump imposed those absurd and insulting tariffs on us, I have decided (reluctantly) to extend my boycott to bourbon, (there's no liquor like it) and will instead begin exploring some of our Canadian whiskies. As well, although it is impossible to avoid American goods, I am trying as much as possible to purchase Canadian.

In light of the deteriorating connection to our southern neigbours, we must ask ourselves a fundamental question:

Do we regard ourselves simply as citizens of a globalized world, or does being Canadian still mean something to us? Your answer will no doubt tell you whether taking a stand against what the U.S. now represents is a worthwhile endeavour.


  1. .. I no longer have any trust in the US border system and personnel. Of not all are goonish.. I bet there many fine pros. Just Toronto has many fine & outstanding cops. But our cops have hiring criteria that I suspect is highly flawed.. so same with American border guards and customs, plus ICE, Homeland Security etc. To repeat my standard manta 'they are not seeking thoughtful exemplars. I for one have never been busted for pot or alcohol.. and if asked if I ever smoked pot I will lie cheerfully.But why go there? The USA has nothing I need or want. So maybe I never see Yellowstone Park or snowboard Jackson Hole again? Well I have stunning Lake Louise, an astonishing terrain, Whistler.. Some of the best cross country skiing in North America is The Bow River at night.. coyote, lynx, moose ghost with you, sheep and mountain goat !

    We hit the farmers market kitty corner to East General Hospital, we have the Brickworks Market, St Lawrence and Kensington Markets. The Lake Erie White Perch slay.. and its 7.99 a pound.. so inexpensive & delightful I give friends 2-3 lbs and cooking notes.. My name aint 'Joe' .. but we are devouring skinny Ontario asparagus.. and have had fiddlehead green from at least 4 provinces this year - both wild picked and cultured - and who can top a dozen fat Canadian Malpeque oysters and some wild caught Lake Huron Lake trout. Of course it get tough in the winter.. but tomato from Leamington is always available.. and & & can find Mexican corn, jalapeños or corn tortilla etc. Our steaks are from across Canada, (potato finished PEI tenderloin !)turkey free range from Mt Forest.. So do we eat well? Are our apples fab or what? Our main dark sauce is 100& Jamaican (PikkaPeppa) and often we do fresh pasta from St Lawrence Market. Sweet potato, carrot all relatively local and know where the potatoes hide.

    The can have Trump, the swill that is the GOP..and maybe some day American Armed Forces won't be in 72 different countries

    The Salamanders have Spoken (and eaten !)

    1. Your comments gladden my heart, Sal. There is so much to be proud of in Canada, and you remind us of several reasons to delight in our own country.

  2. I had friends waking up at gunpoint on the beach in Morroco.. or pick pocket skinned them in Prague or Rome.. That year, same time.. we hiked up to spend Thanksgiving in Sentinal Pass.. all night the small ice & snow slides echoed.. we had people from around the world sharing hot chocolate at our tiny Coleman heater, Kalhua, jelly beans.. and surprise surprise I pulled out a huge bag of marshmallows.. The Swiss hiker were astonished.. next day we descended to exacly where the 20 $ bill was 1st sketched.. we were lucky.. no large bears overnight & worked through Larch Valley to the Sunshine Village upper terminal, hitched our way back to my pickup truck.. The payoff came on the Tueday.. Banff Springs hired by as senior bartender, running the Clubhouse down by the golf course.. and Dylan's mom was hired at Banff Centre, Dir of Comms.. Otherwise it was back to Calgary to try harder for a toehold into Banff. That was probably my 6 or 8th experience in Banff & never skipped hitting the ferry, then Long Beach and the outstanding Tofino seafood chowder.. Hell, my first & unpublished novel is set there for good reason, the sequel underway set in Banff

    My other mantra is 'always support your local small business.. so butcher, baker, mechanic, beef farm, turkey range, aparagus.. fresh stuff.. my fiancee makes a ground turkey pasta sauce people cry and weep for more.. freezes 1/2 and larks it with her frozen jambalaya.. which is simply sick.. her crab cakes are stupid good.. but both take forever to get all the ingredients. Toronto is a cornucopia.. a wealth of wondrous foods.. and there is a rythmn to the hunt and peck.. many small operators to chat with and learn from.. food that schmecks ! Do I need chicken wings from Buffalo ? my buds at hockey & and I were the very first customers of St Louis wings.. now a multi-million $ family run enterprise.. now why would I blow a tank of gas and go to Buffalo ? We have gems here in Toronto.. thee unlikely named Paul's Spaggeti on Cosburn is an epicurean delight.. Just as Gratzi at Yonge north of Eglinton sts the benchmark so hi. Always pick the brains of waiters or other hospitality staff.. they know the winners.. !

    1. Even more reasons to stay home! Thanks, Sal.

  3. My first point, Lorne, is your fondness for bourbon. Face it, it's ethanol with a splash of corn syrup aged in oak casks. First time I tasted it I was reminded of nothing so much as the last time I had siphoned gas out of some stranger's tank. Gawdawful.

    Like Sal, I've reconciled to parting ways with America and its products. I was so hoping to get one more motorcycle odyssey down the Pacific Coast Highway then left into Joshua Tree. By the time anything changes I'll probably be too old for that craziness. Hell's bells, I probably already am. Still I'll always have the memories of many great rides at insanely high speeds around those coastal hairpins. I used to approach a corner, measure it out and figure, "I think I can do that at 60, maybe 65." And then you commit to it and you so hope you're right because there's no guardrail and a near vertical drop to the sea a couple of hundred feet below. Maybe it's a good thing those days are over. The sheer exhilaration of surviving was addictive. It lives on.

    I too find I can get by without American products. There's a lot of fresh seafood out here. Great produce, poultry and lamb available straight from the farmers in the Comox and Cowichan valleys. It's not much of a sacrifice to go with tinned or frozen goods when fresh isn't to be had. I like my wine either Chilean or from BC wineries. I haven't bought American vino in years. I will miss visiting friends in Washington and Oregon but they know how to get up here when they feel the urge (hint - they're extremely unhappy with what's going on).

    I've heard there's an independent streak that comes with island living. You disconnect from the larger world off-island and instead turn to your local community. I sometimes wondered if that was a handicap. Guess what? It's not.

    1. Mound, Mound. First of all, you have my condolences about your bourbon experiences. I can only assume from your reaction to this often superb intoxicant that you were sampling something like Jim Beam which, in my view, is but a sad pretender to the throne of real bourbon.

      Your reference of the Pacific Coast Highway reawakens a yearning I have had to drive it for many years. I visited Southern California a couple of years ago, and I had hoped to go to the north and drive the highway to savor the geography that I know only from movies and pictures. I have serious doubts about whether I will ever realize that dream now, in whatever time I have left, for reasons outlined in my post. That being said, l can live with that sacrifice.