One of the things out of office travel affords me is a chance to catch up on my reading. I load my carry-on up with my recent magazines and read and discard as I go. And it is amazing the trivia I collect that lends zest to my day. Without prioritizing any of these, I learned of the death of Wally Ollins the brand guru (more on that for another post,) the bandit of broadcast, how a generation of old people is about to change the global economy and how crowd-funding is improving journalism.
But here is one that really got me revved. As if it wasn’t enough that Rob Ford made Toronto a worldwide joke, now Vancouver has become the butt of The Economist humour. The subhead reads: “New building rules will help old folks – who now risk being eaten by bears.” Of all the stuff going on in this country, this was the only thing The Economist could find to write about us for the week of April 16th. According the leading international newspaper, Vancouver’s ban on doorknobs in all new buildings set off a chain reaction across our native land as jurisdictions throughout Canada pondered whether to follow Vancouver’s lead. To quote them: “The country is on tenterhooks.”
The story goes on to report that old people find doors with handles easier to operate but so do bears. As bears do occasionally break into homes in BC it can be an issue. The reporter urges that those living near woods would be wise to invest in “some sturdy locks before installing the doorhandles.”
As a country Canada has long enjoyed a positive balance of trade in the export of comics from Wayne and Schuster to John Candy, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, Mike Meyers and a long list of others. So how did we suddenly become the fodder for international laughs? What’s gone wrong?