On April 28, I will be going to America again. We go to Seattle to compete in the Emerald Cup. I always like to go to America. Being in America gives me exciting feeling. I feel their energy and their pride in being an American.

We will be at the border crossing again and I will see the Peace Arch. Canadians and Americans are from the same stock. The first people here walked across what is now the Bering Strait. They were the first humans to find the Americas. They were here 12,000 years ago, long before the rest of us. Just over 500 years ago, Europeans, looking for a passage to the east of Asia, found the Americas. These people were truly recent immigrants. No passport or Visa required. No health check. You just had to survive a long ocean voyage.

So how have the Euro-migrants performed, since their arrival in what is now Canada and the United States of America?

Well, until 50 years ago, one would have to say our European ancestors did not distinguish themselves. We in Canada cannot be passing judgment on Americans.  Our track record is no better than theirs.

Lets do a brief reveiw of the ignorant, racist, bigoted Euro-Canadian- American migrant populating the Americas 1500-1960. Mercilesly pursued the aboriginal peoples, massacaring  the women and children[Wounded Knee], slaughtering their food supply [the Buffalo], infecting them with diseases to which they had no immunity, confining them to reservations on the poorest land.

And how about the Canadian idea of the residential schools; taking the children from their aboriginal parents and confining them to the schools, not allowing them to speak their language, stamping out their traditional beliefs? Confining the children in poor living conditions where 6,000 died, mostly of Tuberculosis?

The European, considering themselves educated and "civilized", using their newly invented firearms, set about indiscriminately killing off the wildlife which had co-existed,  with the aboriginal people, for centuries. The Grizzly almost exterminated. Wolves wiped out. The Cougar disappeared . I already mentioned the Buffalo. There was "Buffalo Bill Cody" eulogized as a great killer of the Buffalo [ Over 4000 in his career, 68 in one day as part of a "contest" with another hunter] For what reason?  Lets not talk about the sad chapter of the Passenger Pigeon.

Meanwhile, the Europeans who settled north of the 49th parallel were not doing much better, continuing bad behaviour well into the 19th century. They used and abused my Chinese countrymen, during the building of the CPR. A steamship carrying 350 East Indians, hoping for a new life in Canada, was refused permission to disembark in Vancouver harbour. Our Prime minister of that time, Henry Borden, stated that "Canada was for the Caucasian race"

So, what can we Canadians, and our neigbours to the south, say for ourselves? Well, I think we can all say quite a bit.

The descendants of the European colonists of the Americas have moved the goalposts in the past 50 years. They have moved them a lot. As the man sung [Bob Dylan], "The Times They Are A'changin' "

The Americans, with a great leader, fought a great war over the issue of Slavery. Although slavery was abolished, persecution, exclusion and intolerance continued and is still lingering today. I remember when Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play Major league baseball [1947]  How far has America come since those days.

Every day, I watch the amazing athleticism of African Americans. I see them in a role as leaders, quarterbacks and coaches, I see them as commentators, articulate anf looking very fit , after their playing days. Americans appear proud of their African athletes; As entertainers they have risen to the top, musicians, singers, actors and actresses; and Oh yes, President of the United States.

I would be very slow to criticize the American military and their leaders.  When Japan tried to destroy America's Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor, this was like kicking the sleeping bear. America responded with a great energy, courage and determination. Great sacrifices and victories followed in the south Pacific. I do not judge the Americans for ending this conflict by dropping two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. If you are Japanese citizen and old enough to remember these days, and you are angry about the bombing, you need to reflect on what you knew about  your leaders expansionist plans, and what you were prepared to do about it.

America stared down the Russians in the "Cold War'. This was another time that I was happy to have the United States as a neighbour. I do not judge them in hindsight for going to Iraq. Iraq was amply warned. Do not pretend you have WMD's if you do not. Do not deny free and total inspections if you have nothing to hide.

The United States leads the world in science and technology. How wonderful, how exciting are their accomplishments. NASA and the space program!  Words cannot describe. The Hubble telescope in orbit, sending back images of distant galaxies. Probes to the outer limits of the Solar system, fantastic pictures of Saturn's rings and Neptune's moons.

Since the recognition of DNA and its structure by Watson and Crick in 1953, there has been a massive expansion of understanding in related sciences,  particularly Paleontology and Embryology. Many of the scientists and laboritories working in these fields are in America.

The United States still has a problem with religiosity. But there is hope for them in this area. The clearest evidence for this is what has happened with same sex marriage, and with the issue of homosexuality. How far have the Americas come with acceptance. This is a great inroad into the bastion of Religious rigidity.

No country in this world is getting it perfect with ignorance, human rights violations, racism and religiosity . But Canada and America are moving. Moving fast.  Far better than in other countries {which I need not list}, where there has been no progress [or actually backslide] in the last 1000 years.

I cannot wait to go again to America, where I will feel that great pride and energy.