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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Achtung, Vorsicht

It appears that in their haste to return reports on the Canadian election to an eagerly awaiting German public, some writers and commentators merely translated Liberal press releases.

Canada turns more closely toward the USA

The other America

And, best of all:

Bush’s Canadian half-brother

Germans are now just as scared as people living in Eglinton-Lawrence, pressing concern for Kyoto and recycling (Gruene Punkt, as the German like to call it) now at risk of diminishing.

On the plus side, this is yet another display of Germans’ terribly comfortable fluency with English. 

Posted by Andrea Mrozek on January 24, 2006 | Permalink


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Von dem turm kann mann die umliegend landschafte gesehen....

Posted by: EBD | 2006-01-25 12:04:08 AM

"Der Gruene Punkt" is actually what the Conservatives would love. It is a "business controlled" recycling system. Basically the Government told the companies to recycle and they invented "Der Gruene Punkt" which is a LTD to which they pay money in order for them to collect and recycle packaging material (that is the only thing that is covered there, nothing else).

That thing had more than it's fair share of problems, like "exporting" the Garbage to Eastern Europe and throwing it in Landfills there (okay, maybe it's a Liberal thing).

As for the links you provide:

The first one leads to the TAZ, which is one of the leftmost news papers in Germany. The article itself is rather balanced though, it does paint Harper as the "devil incarnate" it mainly points out the challenges Harper is facing and the promises he made. Nothing like a Liberal bias (heck, the thing clearly explains how the election came to pass with the sponsorship scandal).

The second link leads to the Tagesspiegel which is a center right publication in Germany. They mainly are drawing parallels between the changes that happened in October in Germany with the election of Angela Merkel and Stephen Harper and the fact that both are acting the same way, making the same promises and both don't hold as much power as it seems at first. It also concludes that there won't be a "move to the right" in the end.

The third link goes to the Berliner Zeitung, which you could consider center left. The article retraces Harpers history, how he got where he is and the fact how he has changed. He is not demonized either, but rather pointed out that he is torn between the right and the left and the fact that Canadians (for the time being anyways) trust him.

Do me a favour: If you got out and cite foreign language media at least speak the language and know the cultural and historical context in which it was written instead of going out and just jumping on some things that you grasp from a machine translation.

If anybody is interested in a translation of those articles drop me an email.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-01-25 12:37:04 AM

Agree with Snowrunner. Fairly balanced. Seen worse in the Toronto Star.
I've been checking many German language online news sites before and after the election. Did not notice any Harper bashing or untrue statements. Just that sometimes what should be a news article, ends up to be a commentary with the usual polemic that can be found in German leftist circles or among foreign correspondents living and breathing among Democrats in the U.S..
I think the worst I read so far, was a comment in the tagesschau.de that 'Harper just barely can manage to hold a baby without having an accident'. Now that's offensive for a young family man.

Posted by: Mike | 2006-01-25 1:34:01 AM

"Canadians choose Mulroney again, Reform party 'evolves' into old PC party"

is what the headlines should have read.


Posted by: justin | 2006-01-25 6:44:01 AM

The articles may not be bad: the left-wing slant in German media is not, however, any different from other media outlets worldwide. The majority of Germans will not see the headline of “Bush’s Half Brother” as anything other than cause for concern.

On the recycling front: I have no problem with recycling, Gruene Punkt or otherwise! What I do have a problem with is a European environmental obsession.

There’s no point in pretending that Germans are well-disposed towards America at this point. Amongst young western Germans there's little goodwill. The number of times I was treated poorly in Germany, France, or the UK for that matter, only to have those austere measures dropped when it was discovered I was Canadian, and not American as they had guessed—-well, I can’t count ‘em. Would that I had a dollar for each such occasion, as it was frequent enough.

Posted by: Andrea | 2006-01-25 11:31:15 AM

I spent five years in Germany in the 80's and the attitude to Canadians was variable but mostly friendly. But there was and, I presume still is, a large hard-left element hostile and resentful of the Allied forces on German soil. If these people now seem more receptive to Canadians than to Americans perhaps it’s because Canada’s military pulled out 15 years ago while the Americans still retain a relatively large presence there.

While living there I experienced some of the hostility up to and including being spat at and invited to leave on the next available conveyance. They knew I was a Kanadischer. At one demonstration at a NATO headquarters a protester’s sign read “Americans go home - and take your cheap Canadian cousins with you”. We had few illusions about Canadians being more “loved” than Americans. It was a myth (propagated mostly by Canadians at home).

As for recycling, the Germans were decades ‘ahead’ of Canada. The recycling we do even now seems a little mickey-mouse and inefficient compared to Germany 20 years ago. They’ve no doubt become even more ‘efficient’ since.

Posted by: JR | 2006-01-25 2:16:59 PM

> On the recycling front: I have no problem with recycling, Gruene
> Punkt or otherwise! What I do have a problem with is a European
> environmental obsession.

How so? Because they actually want to preserve the environment (the little that is left)?

I was out in the Rockies quite a bit over the course of the last year and going up a not very busy trail and finding garbage strewn along the way I find revolting. Yeah, it is only a "small" thing, but it is symptomatic I think. There is so much "wilderness" here that we don't realize how much of it we destroy / consume / alter daily.

In Europe people are sitting closer to each other and every little thing that goes is instantly felt.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-01-25 9:08:04 PM

> If these people now seem more receptive to Canadians than to
> Americans perhaps it’s because Canada’s military pulled out 15
> years ago while the Americans still retain a relatively large
> presence there.

Having grown up in Stuttgart, which had quite a few american bases, I can't say there was an outright hostility towards the americans, if anything it was fun to go to the base on the 4th of July for the Fireworks and BBQ.

Having said that, it was always interesting to see the guys in their american cars utterly disregarding things like speed limits etc, knowing that the worst that would happen would be that the cops would round them up and hand them over to the MP.

As for today's dislike.... Well, I've been gone there since '99 but after 9/11 the Americans started utterly segregating themselves from the rest of the populance, they built walls etc. suddenly being overly afraid. I don't think that was doing anything to make them appear more human.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-01-25 9:10:53 PM

> Kanadischer

Um, you said you spent 5 years in Germany? I am Kanadier, not Kanadischer. I don't know about you. And I also don't see what they're trying to protect by recycling. I don't think they have much nature or wilderness (maybe the beach in winter??) I think we are lucky to live in such an expansive country, even if it does take 8 hours to drive anywhere.

Posted by: barb | 2006-01-26 1:12:33 AM

If you want to learn more about German zeitgeist look into davids medienkritk.


Very interesting!

Posted by: PGP | 2006-01-26 5:42:32 PM

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