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Toronto – the homeless nation

Friday, November 24, 2006

Earlier this week, the Bloc Quebecois introduced a motion calling for the recognition of Quebeckers as a nation. The motion was scheduled to be debated next Tuesday and its timing was set to coincide with the Liberal leadership convention that begins later in the week.

Not to be outdone by the separatists, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives introduced another motion to be debated on Monday that calls for Quebec to be recognized as a nation within a united Canada. The Conservative motion has gained the support of all of the federalist parties within Parliament. The Bloc are not happy campers.

The Conservative motion will either mark the end of Canada as we know it or be a completely meaningless gesture depending upon who you happen to be listening to. Part of the problem is the difference in meaning of what the word “nation” means in English and French. While the French interpretation gives the word a rather narrow meaning, it is used more broadly in English. As the National Post pointed out, we have the Red Sox Nation, the Queer Nation and various other nations that of course are not really “nations”.

All of which brings us to the city of Toronto. If baseball fans in Boston can constitute their own nation, then it’s only fitting that Toronto become a nation. Let’s face it; we’re not called the centre of the universe for nothing. Mayor David Miller should immediately issue a proclamation that Toronto is indeed a nation.

The only “uniqueness” about the province of Quebec is its French speaking population, as if no one anywhere else in the world speaks the language. Big deal. But the city of Toronto is truly unique and if anyplace is deserving of nationhood it is the Big Smoke.

Now, we will have to make it clear that Toronto will become a nation within Ontario and within Canada. Complete independence would deprive Miller, the city’s chief panhandler. from being able to do what he does best; beg money from the other two levels of government. If Toronto became a truly independent nation, the city would go bankrupt. Money doesn’t grow on trees, although apparently Miller and his fellow travellers on council seem to think that it just sits around Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill waiting to be handed out to the country’s largest city. It sure beats having to take a serious jab at serious budgeting. No, Toronto must define itself as a nation within Ontario, within Canada and within North America (hey, might as well hit the U.S. and Mexico for some bucks).

During the last municipal election campaign, 58 per cent of those polled said that it was time for a change in government while 57 per cent of the voters voted for incumbent mayor, David Miller. Wanting change and voting for the status quo is one of the defining characteristics of the nation of Toronto. We’re a nation that won’t rest until every street has a couple of bicycle lanes and every side street comes equipped with speed bumps, or as the beautiful people call them, traffic calming measures. We’re a nation where the proliferation of gun crimes means that we don’t have enough basketball courts. We’re a nation that is defined, not by its people but by its street furniture. We’re a nation where the number one priority is the look of the waterfront that most people can’t see through all of those lakeside condominiums. We’re a nation who proudly allows some of its citizens to live on the street until some other level of government buy them all their own homes.

The nation of Toronto – the home of the homeless and the land of the teeny toonie token.

The nation of Toronto – an idea whose time has come.

Arthur Weinreb Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Toronto Free Press. His work has appeared on, Men's News Daily, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck and The Rant.
Arthur can be reached at:
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