News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 9, 2013

RONN MOTT: Oh, Canada!

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — I was in the country of Canada to witness my youngest grandson’s high school graduation. Their graduation event, at least at Claremont High School, is more like a senior prom. They don’t wear caps and gowns. Instead, the young women are all dolled up in their long gowns and the young men are in suits or dinner jackets. It’s a very colorful stage presence. Each graduate writes something and the mistresses of ceremonies, both young ladies of the class, read the statements as they are crossing the stage to receive their diplomas.

It’s often hilarious. Even when it isn’t hilarious, it isn’t boring. The planning committees have a large, all-night dance with games and prizes and a breakfast when they head toward dawn. A period of time after the ceremony and before this huge party takes place, you gather outside the theater for picture taking.

All of this happened at the University of Victoria, which is smack-dab in the middle of the city of the same name. And it is the oldest and largest university in Victoria. I was a bit shocked when we were walking to our car after the ceremony and I saw many deer rambling about the campus seemingly not paying any attention to us.

My youngest grandson, Alex (the graduate), received cheers and a round of applause as he crossed the stage. It was the largest applause for anyone and it made his family very proud.  

I’ve always liked Canada. They have lived next door to the most aggressive nation in the world and we haven’t invaded them, not even once, since the American Revolutionary War. They still consider us friends and allies and they manage to keep their independence. It would be a little like sleeping in the same barn with a huge elephant and managing not to get hurt in the process.  

The United States has debated this situation for some time, but Canada has gone and done it. What they have done is eliminated the penny. No more Canadian pennies and if you have some Yankee Doodle pennies in your pocket, you cannot use them. (But since they’re so nice to us Yankee tourists, they do it just to be polite.)

Our neighbors to the north have also eliminated the paper dollar bill as well as their paper two-dollar bill. They replaced them with coins. The dollar coin has a famous bird of the north engraved on it, the Northern Loon, so the dollar coin is called a “Loonie.” Their two dollar coin is copper with silver on the edges and it’s called a “Toonie.” I think this is a good idea but I don’t expect it to be done here … our Congress can’t agree on what toilet tissue to buy.

Victoria is the second largest city in British Columbia (Vancouver is the largest) and Victoria could be even larger but there are eight, small municipalities surrounding the city. They all have mayors, councils, police departments and fire departments. It’s a very “taxing” situation and it’s the one thing they have done I do not like. They, mostly, in their governmental duties, get along and that’s nice to see … working together for the good of the country they occupy.

Please tell Congressman Bucshon about this so he’ll take it back to Washington and perhaps, like a virus, it will spread and maybe our Congress can do something worthwhile for our country.  

In spite of the good time I had, I remembered the old saying, “There’s no place like home.” And, after a 16-hour day of flying and making connections, it was really good to see Indiana again.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.