Canadians define themselves in terms of America. They’re even now defining the Conrad Black trial in terms of them and us, Canuck journos sneering at blue-collar Chicagoans when Toronto itself is a lower-middle-class city, looking down on the jury so much fatter than svelte Lady Black, almost glorifying the shoddy title Lord Black paid for by buying the Daily Telegraph, ignoring the history of Chicago as a pioneer in modern architecture and a city of great and varied restaurants–both of which outshine anything in Toronto.

Part of the invisibility of Canada [Hot Type, April 20] is that so many talented and articulate Canadians–and Canada has a deep reservoir of talent–have had to move to the U.S. to pursue their careers. (Canadians are the second-largest immigrant group in Los Angeles). Canada is a small country and for most of its history has had one point of view–the liberal (soft-left) one. Except for tabs, newspapers hewed the party line. Anyone who doesn’t find themselves in the liberal tent isn’t taken seriously. Lady Black herself was an anomaly as a journalist in Canada, an outspoken right-winger who was cold-shouldered by the chattering classes–until she moved to England where she was regarded as a bright strand in the diversity of opinion. Only after Conrad Black started the National Post did Canada have serious media diversity.

Of course, if the Americans weren’t there to keep them permanently distracted the Canadians would have to resolve their own intractable problem: the deep south of Canada, Quebec. Canada’s projection of its moral superiority collapses when it comes to Quebec, which is allowed to refute almost every principle Canada says it stands for.

Gina Mallet