PRIME TIME Book Tour Final Leg — Toronto

I flew to Toronto last Sunday and did one interview after the other on Monday and came home Tuesday!

Let me tell you something about Canada. When I step across the border it feels different — safer, softer, rounder at the edges. It was Michael Moore’s documentary, Bowling For Columbine, that helped me understand why this is so, and why it was the same in Norway when I made a film there in 1972. These are countries in which the governments look after their people. Everyone gets full health care, no matter what; pregnant women who need it receive milk, and so forth. Canada is no more a socialist country than the U.S. It’s just that here, different interests are protected by the government. Here it’s the rich, it’s agribusiness, it’s oil companies—they’re the ones who benefit from government largess. In Canada, it’s regular people who feel they are cared about and that makes all the difference in the world. People who feel safer act differently. There are those who believe the United States is such a violent country because of our media. But, while the media likely plays some role, Michael Moore’s documentary showed that people in Canada watch the same video games, movies and TV shows that we do. In fact, they own the same number of guns per capita as we do in the U.S. But there is far less violence in Canada. In that documentary, he interviewed people who seemed somewhat shocked at the notion of having to keep their doors locked. So I am always happy when I go to Canada. Doubtless, there will be people reading this who wonder why I don’t just move there if I like it so much. I’ll tell you why: Because this is my country and I want to stay here to help try to make it better.

Globe & Mail event crowd

Globe & Mail event

Okay, onward with what I did in Toronto: Johanna Schneller interviewed me for the Globe & Mail. Bev Thomson interviewed me for Canada AM tv show; earlier I spoke and signed books at the Indigo Manulife Bookstore. One nice man in the audience pointed out to me that I had been there “5 years, 4 months and 1 day earlier.” I remember well. My ex, Tom Hayden, on his way to a meeting of some sort, stopped by that store and we spoke together. It was fun.

Jane for CTV

Indigo Books Toronto

I did several more radio interviews including one very interesting one for CBC Radio/Q with the drop dead gorgeous Jian Ghomeshi.

With Jian Ghomeshi

With Jian Ghomeshi on CBC

At night I went to the headquarters of the Toronto Film Festival and spoke to about 350 people followed by a Q & A supervised by columnist Sarah Hampson. I was struck (once again) by the diversity of the crowd —young, old, men and women. I can’t remember how the topic came up but I told the story of when I woke up one morning and said to Richard, “I studied Latin in high school. I bet I’m the only person you know who can sing a song in Latin,” and I launched into Gaudeamus Igitur. To my astonishment, Richard began singing with me. HE KNEW IT TOO!!?? Then, suddenly, Richard left the room and came back carrying a CD. He put it on and —I swear this is true—it was a doo wop version of Gaudeamus that Richard had made after college when he had a doo wop singing group. Gotta love the guy!

Anyway, back to the Toronto speech. In the front row there was an elderly man, maybe 90 years old, with an oxygen tank and tubes going into his nose. I said to him, “I bet you know Latin.” He nodded ‘yes.’ “Do you know the song,” and he nodded again, whereupon we sang it together almost all the way through. “Gaudeamus Igitur” Everyone, including me, left the event feeling happy and younger!

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10 Comments
  1. I agree, Canada does feel safe and less self concious than the USA, they are both amazing countries though in different ways. I really look forward to visiting Toronto again someday, hopefully soon now that I am back in USA and in Michigan which is pretty close to Toronto, haven’t been there since I was there with you in 88! LOL Niagara Falls, Cirque de Soleil, I saw great film Bagdad Cafe there on my own in a small movie theater, so many great memories 🙂

  2. You’re so brilliant. I wish once I could interview you myself. 🙂 I guess I stick to my school paper at the moment and wait until the beautiful future. 😀

  3. Get it, Jane. You’re right to stay at home in the States and work to make it better, not run away to another country where it’s easier to live. That wouldn’t be of any real help to the people here who need it. I have a friend here in Florida who is from Montreal, he’s a Canadian citizen who gets hassled a lot by the INS when he flies back and forth, but he stays here, gets involved in the battles for health care reform and marriage rights for gay people (oh, and luxuriates in our tropical weather! He’s earned it!)

    Keep on keeping on, Jane.

    sa

  4. Reading your first paragraph was like a breath of fresh air. I had spent a wonderful morning in the South Georgia/North Florida woods on horse back with some fun people. Upon returning to the trailers that fun mood was broken by the spewing of the ultra conservatives. Who after stating their mantra of elitism looked at me and smiled ‘don’t you think so laura’ …. no…. Anyway, thanks for your blog!! I couldn’t agree with you more! Enjoying the book!

    • VERY GLAD, LAURA, AND THANKS FOR YOUR WORDS. HOPE YOU’RE NOT TOO HOT DOWN THERE.

  5. That entire blog was so uplifting. Great that there are people like you in the world. It would be a much poorer place without you.
    Take care
    Jason

  6. Toronto is a very nice city! And Canada is a very nice country. The United States also has its bonuses. I do agree that health care continues to be a huge issue in the United States. I believe all people should receive quality health care. Also, I believe there is so much more we should be doing for the less fortunate in our country. On the positive side, we do take care of those in need in many ways. I think of our most recent hurricane. The government is hopefully sending help their way! (I hope that we learned from those devastating mistakes of Hurricane Katrina.) The United States also reaches out to other countries in need . . . . not always, but often. Jane, I am glad that you are looking at ways to help our country become even better and stronger, looking at ways to help those who so desperately need it. That is what I call patriotic, when we are looking at ways to help our fellow citizens. The biggest thing that we, as Americans, need to remember is we do have the power for change in our country. We just need to use it. Let your voices be heard! Get out and vote on Election Day. Also, reach out to those who are in need. It takes a village . . . .

  7. You “left the event feeling happy and younger!” and just take a look at you in these images…you look 35! And you have the most beautiful hands.

    I am going to share this with my blogging friends in Canada. I do not think that sharing what another country does well is a slam on the U.S. I felt the same about Canada when I visited. We share a border with an amazing country, and aren’t we fortunate? 🙂

  8. Wanted to be at the signing breakfast at Book Passage but had other obligations. BP is one of our treasures in Marin County, California–almost as much as our coastline and the natural beauty. But Marin is even better because you graced us with your presence.

    I reread your “faith statement” and was struck by how that fits with the Catholic theologian Karl Rahner’s statement that “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.” I, like you, have a long path on the spiritual quest. Words are all we have to express ourselves, but the experience of the Sacred is beyond–as you have eloquently expressed.

  9. Great blog, Jane, as always. I especially appreciate you mentioning Jian and his radio show Q. Love love Jian. Thanks for speaking with him. Best to you always
    Carol

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