Opinion » Editorial


I Am Multinational



Pique Newsmagazine just got a new toilet. One of those water saving, two-flush jobbies that are all the rage in water-strapped European countries.

Ordinarily I’d be excited about that kind of thing, given my penchant for all things sustainable, but I must admit I’m having a hard time dealing with this new toilet on a personal level.

That’s because every time I use the facilities (and that’s a lot when it’s 30 degrees outside and I’m chugging water like it’s going out of style) my gaze always drifts to the little sign on the toilet seat that reads ‘Caroma, Australia’.

No doubt my Aussie co-worker Adam Daff feels a surge of patriotic pride whenever he uses the new ‘dunny’, but the experience always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Okay, bad choice of words there.

What I’m trying to say is that the mere presence of this Australian-made toilet is an affront to my sense of national pride.

Is there really no ‘Made In Canada’ company out there that can manufacture a simple two-flush toilet?

Did we really have to purchase a toilet that sailed across 5,000 kilometres of Pacific Ocean to save four to eight litres a use?

Apes are walking upright in Chinese zoos but in Canada, the same nation that invented the telephone and the polio vaccine, we’re reduced to importing our basic bathroom appliances.

It’s bad enough that the Australians are now dominating us in just about every sport except hockey, but now they’ve taken the lead in the plumbing sciences as well? Has the world gone topsy-turvy?

Relax, you say. It’s just a toilet, you say.

Well it may be just a toilet to you, but for me it’s a symbol of Canada’s growing impotence, a gleaming white ceramic and plastic reminder of everything that’s wrong with this country.

Let’s see. We import most of our cars from the U.S., Europe and Asia, despite the fact that we are a major exporter of steel. We import wooden furniture from Sweden, despite the fact that forestry is one of our leading industries.

Last week B.C. Ferries requested an exemption from a federal tariff on ship imports from Europe because they said there was nowhere left in Canada that can build large boats. Canada has the longest shoreline of any nation in the world, we’re a net exporter of raw materials like oil, timber, ore and wheat, and we still can’t build a big enough ferry to haul a few tourists and their camper vans across the Georgia Strait?