I’m not one to engage jingoism, even in its more subtle forms, and I can usually get my head around the larger issues which are wont for my attention, in a pragmatic way. It’s the smaller more insidious things that invade my space which usually get me unduly annoyed. For example: A few days after my beautiful Bloomfield Christmas I received by mail an unsolicited, full colour, forty-four page advertising catalogue entitled “IMAGES of CANADA: Distinctive Apparel and Gifts”.
Typically, at least from my experience, the front cover featured a fine specimen of the female form, showcasing some garb, and a few small pictures of jewelry and chatskis. Normally I would have chucked the catalogue directly into the recycling bin, but for some reason it piqued my curiosity and I decided to give it a goin’ over. After poring over this document for an hour or so I came to the conclusion that it represented an insulting pretense and some disturbing elements of our deteriorating environmental reality that we can no longer afford to ignore.
For starters, the catalogue was printed in U.S.A. for a south of the boarder Company, for whom “Images of Canada” is simply a Company name created in Canada as a “marketing partner”, clever. For my non-North American readers, NO, CANADA IN NOT A STATE OF THE U.S.A., at least not yet. We are FREE TRADING partners (!stop laughing!). There is an Oakville, Ontario P.O. Box address on an attached order form. Think Oakville, the city with the highest per capita income in Canada, again, clever. Of the 191 product ads contained in the catalogue only four were distinctly Canadian images and of those only one, a children’s game, was identified as being made in Canada. One of the product ads was for Canadian hockey team jerseys, manufactured in the U.S.A. (“isn’t it ironic, don’t you think”). The other two did not indicate place of manufacture. As well, of those 191 product ads 76 were identified as imported (think latitude west across the Pacific Ocean from California as a Crow flies, or in this case an Albatross).
Speaking of California, on the snail mail order form stapled in the centre of the catalogue, is the following disclaimer: I quote,
“CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS PROPOSITION 65 WARNING; The use of certain ceramic, lead crystal tableware and other items such as those sold in this catalog will expose you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Now that inspires confidence! Of the other product ads, one was manufactured in Canada, as I mentioned, three in the U.S.A., one in the U.K., and the rest, jewelry and chatskis were not identified as to place of manufacture. Three of the items, two art prints and a ceramic ornament, did mention the names of the artists who created them, all born and raised in the U.S. of A.
Given the looming energy crisis and Climate Change, I hardly think we can afford to be importing any of the items in this catalogue, particularly when we have so many able makers of these type of items right here at home, children, neighbors going hungry, rising unemployment, etc.etc.. And, if you are compelled by some obsessive-compulsive disorder to purchase items of this sort, you can find them at local stores which at least gainfully employ locals. But wait! You can get an enameled Polar Bear statuette for only $19.99.
Could just be me, but I’m of the opinion that this money could be more appropriately spent on conservation efforts to save the real remaining Polar Bears from extinction. I can’t help but think that resources devoted to the transportation of these items should be better used alleviating suffering in this world. As well, I lament all of trees that were sacrificed in the making of this catalogue, which more than likely were harvested from Canadian ‘carbon sync’ boreal forests.
David Norman, Rogue Primate of Bloomfield
Filed Under: Letters and Opinion
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