Sunday, July 02, 2006

Canada Day in Paris

After having lived in Montreal for many years, I was largely deprived of celebrating Canada Day in any meaningful way. Sure, the federal government would organize the obligatory Canada Day spectacles in Montreal (with who knows how much AdScam money), but the celebration was never heartfelt. This year, however, I am once again a proud Canadian. My daughter and I are on vacation in Europe and were invited to a big Canada Day bash in Paris, two blocks from the Arc de Triomphe.

The party was held at the apartment of a good friend who works in Paris. The invitees included his French friends and colleagues, ex-pat Canadians and Canadian embassy employees, with the odd American, Australian and Scot thrown in for good measure. With the champagne, wine and Canadian beer flowing freely, a good time was had by all.

Although we were there to celebrate Canada, there was no avoiding the World Cup, especially with France playing Brazil that evening. Fortunately, we were all hooked up, with the game projected on the wall in one room for all to see. France won, of course, with the celebrations continuing outside until the early hours of the morning.

On a political note, I got the impression that Canadian embassy staff is quite pleased with the decisiveness of the new Conservative government. I talked to one employee who works on the immigration side of things and he even went so far as to say that Stockwell Day is the best minister of public security they have ever worked for. It was certainly not what they expected, but Day has apparently won them over with his ability to listen, to consider their advice, make decisions and then communicate them. Good work Stockwell.