One of the things that I look forward to in The Economist is that they have a little “Canada beat” with usually one article per issue on something that’s been going on here. It’s never something that I don’t already know the details of. What is interesting is just hearing an outsider’s perspective. Sometimes what’s interesting is seeing what people outside the country consider the biggest news story going on here. Often, however, what’s interesting is that they describe events in ways that Canadians never would, because we’re too wrapped up in things, or because our own national discourse is somewhat distorted. (For example, The Economist will typically describe the Liberal Party of Canada as a centre-left party, or even just a left-wing party, because any party that is, on most issues, to the left of the U.K. Labour Party strikes them as appropriately designated “left-wing.” Canadians, by contrast, tend to situate the national political parties by comparing them to one another.)
Anyhow, I got a chuckle this week, when they chose to describe the federal government’s income-splitting proposal in the following terms:
The prime minister, Stephen Harper, defends traditional family values and recently announced tax incentives for women to look after their kids at home.
Bam! Just like that.
I guess we should stop kidding ourselves.
(Of course, for all I know the articles are written by domestic stringers, in which case it’s a matter of the audience being catered to rather than the perspective of the writer.)