I read yesterday that during World War II, thousands of German soldiers were brought to Canada and sent to six POW camps up by Lake of the Woods (not far from where I was last week). I had known about this, but what I didn't know was what life was apparently like for the German soldiers emprisoned there. It appears they spent their days logging and chopping wood, canoeing, fishing and...get this...sometimes they borrowed the guards' guns to go hunting in the woods. Many of them ended up falling in love with Northern Ontario and stayed after the war, and they and their descendants settled in that area.
So I think Canadians have a long history of expecting to live in peace. Our guards and police aren't always armed, and our border is largely unpatrolled. I learned last week that people paddling canoes across Rainy River from the U.S. side are expected to just wave their passports in the direction of the guard, who apparently has camera surveillance but doesn't really require anyone to come see him/her directly. All very relaxed and polite and trusting. Canadians tend to be laid back and put their best face forward, and they expect other people to do the same. So it is all the more shocking when someone turns around and shoots us in the back.
In spite of recent events, I sincerely hope Canada can remain laid back and imperturbable. That's what I like about this people. Their humour, their charm, their down-to-earth way of looking at things, and how it takes a lot to rile them up. As Prime Minister Harper said, we can be vigilant and prudent, but we won't run scared. I might add, We won't run, period.
Next week marks my 25-year anniversary of immigrating to Canada. I have not ever regretted that choice.