Here is what we learned at the Winter Olympics: Canadians from coast to coast, women and men, in French and in English, can come together in a great common enterprise. We can be a great team -- a globally great team.
Our national government can provide the underlying bones of an inspiring common (dare we say it, public) enterprise. Our business community can contribute to the public good. Individual citizens can go through the doors opened wide for them, and achieve spectacular excellence.
The ice dancer in solitary communion with her mother. The brawling snowboarders pounding victory out of an outrageously fun course.
The chessplayers casting curling rocks to the inch. The skaters and skiers and people dedicated to hurling themselves down vertical drops in improbable vehicles.
And then there were our women's and men's hockey teams... And then there was Sydney Crosby... (waa hooo!!!)
These were two weeks for eastern Canadians to get a small taste of the spectacular beauty, smiling friendliness and enthusiastic (shall we say it?) joie de vivre of Western Canada. We saw what we can do together. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was representing all of us with his broad smile on television during Canada's golden moments.
Now the political life of our country resumes. The eyes of our country will remain on the Prime Minister. He told us he padlocked our parliament because he and his colleagues needed time to put together a Throne Speech and budget coming this week. Now comes the reveal.
The government, transparently, hoped to profit from the Vancouver spirit. It could work. Or it could be that Canadians will see in their Olympic team what we will now want of our national government -- and that Mr. Harper will fail to meet this standard.
Perhaps what Mr. Harper and his colleagues have to offer will no longer be what Canadians want from and for their country. We have now had a taste of the opposite on our West Coast. If so, Mr. Harper's second prorogation may prove to have been a fundamental mistake. He will have focused Canada on a vision of itself in Vancouver that he and his colleagues do not share and cannot incarnate.
Canadians may come out of the coming week knowing we can do better -- and, quietly, increasingly, determined to do so.
(Photo: Sidney Crosby is mobbed by his teammates after clinching Olympic gold for Canada on Sunday. Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)