A Yankee-Canuck Looks Back: One Damn Thing After Another




Cover of A Yankee-Canuck Looks Back -PaperbackCover of A Yankee-Canuck Looks Back

As a dual national with an American father and a Canadian mother, I've lived my life on both sides of the border. As a child, we'd regularly drive over Detroit-Windsor's Ambassador Bridge to visit my grandparents in Canada. As an adult, my wife Jean and I went in the opposite direction to visit our parents from our home in Canada.

Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario

Photo by James R. Martin of Detroit's Ambassador Bridge, the link between Canada and the USA., October 2015.

Looking back over my life, it's been one damn thing after another, on both sides of the Canada-United States Border. Born in a New York City, I grew up as a country boy fishing and hunting in a small Illinois town called Danville in a dysfunctional family. Like many, the unhappiness in my family is still vivid. But my childhood was also filled with the happiness of small-town life.

I went to the nearby University of Illinois to study political science and ended up a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War. Drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War like many of my classmates and just married to my high school sweetheart Jean, I became a draft dodger. Instead of going in the Army, we moved to Canada where I attended graduate school at the University of Toronto and came out an economist. While there, I learned more about Canadian life and how it differs from American.

I wanted to be a professor but Canadian universities were already stuffed to the gills with Americans. Instead, I got my first job at Canada's central bank, the Bank of Canada. Attracted by the idea of public service and being able to help implement some of my then liberal policy views, I joined the Canadian Finance Department, Canada's equivalent to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

However, I gradually discovered that I wasn't comfortable in big organizations like the Government. After I'd had enough, I put my shingle out as an economic consultant. This opened up opportunities to work for many large organizations and learn all about how they function from the inside, while remaining outside and independent. It also allowed me the freedom to speak out and write on the political and economic issues of the day.

As a private citizen and not a public servant, I was able to participate in Canadian federal elections as an economic advisor to the Liberal Party gaining an insider's view of the political process. However, as my politics became more conservative, I gradually became disillusioned with the Liberal Party and drifted away from involvement in politics. My memoirs document my experience in Canadian Federal politics and my involvement in the issues of Quebec separation and immigration.

The world beckoned, and I embarked on a career as a global economic consultant, working for international organizations like the World Bank, IMF, and the UN. I learned a lot about global issues and had many exciting adventures in the developing world.

Shocked by the attack on the World Trade Center and the Defense Department on 9/11, I sought to renew my ties to the United States. After I reclaimed my U.S. citizenship, I got a 5-year personal service contract with the Office of Technical Assistance of the U.S. Treasury Department. This taught me about how the U.S. Government functions, as well as a lot about Central America where I mostly worked.

As my career wound down, I developed a strong attachment to Florida where my wife Jean's mother lived. We spent so much time in the Sunshine State that it's become my home for the last 12 years. After an absence from the classroom of 40 years, I taught economics at Florida Southwestern State College. My book "Florida Dreams" is my homage to my new home state.

You may be thinking, "Who wants to read something as dull as the life story of an economist?" That may not sound exciting but I guarantee that my memoirs are filled with unexpected and entertaining happenings that will make you laugh and maybe even cry. And you will see that the book's subtitle "One Damn Thing After Another" is a pretty accurate description of what's happened to me over my life.