Tag Archives: Canadiana

On “Being” Canadian, Part 2

So I was noodling, mulling over how I was going to fashion part two on “being” Canadian, when Barack Obama put his size twelve tootsies  into his  mouth, both at the same time, and provided me with the perfect fodder.

It seems that while giving a speech on Israeli/Palestine relations, Mr. Obama compared the two warring nations (question – Is Palestine now considered to be a nation?) to Canada and the U.S. What he meant was that Canada and the U.S. sometimes disagree about things but that we eventually figure it out without resorting to violence, and that Israel and Palestine should get over themselves and do the same. What it sounded  like was that we are at each other’s throats and that Toronto is Baghdad‘s sister city.

Twitter is beside itself with glee. The twittersphere is busy twitting, sorry, tweeting, about a movement called #TheCanucksAreComing. Sounds like a bowel movement to me.

Some of the comments are really funny. Some are just plain stupid. Some are using this incident as an excuse, oops, forum, to complain about Quebec. 

Remember my comments from part one about how we can be smug and arrogant and have a self-esteem issue all at the same time? Well, some people might say that this goes a long way to proving it. The Canucks Are Coming?? In what way, exactly? According to the twits, sorry, twitterers? tweeters? it’s going to look something like this (with my respects to the originators of these comments, I have taken some liberties and made some twits, er, tweaks):

Washington will need a wash after it has been set awash in a sea of poutine. [Will we need a pipeline for this??]

All U.S. hockey players are part of a sleeper cell. [Especially Tampa Bay.]

We will change the alphabet from “eh” to “zed.” [And add an indiscriminate “u” tu euery wurd.]

The Americans will face maple syrup bottle projectiles as militants of the Canadian Intifada cross Lake Erie. [We will cross with the guidance of the ice road truckers except by dog sled. More authentic that way. Waiting for Lake Erie to freeze, however, might be like waiting for, well, hell to freeze over.]

Wayne Gretzky is an embedded spy. [Which is why his hockey team can’t get to the Stanley Cup.]

There were lots of other comments about Tim Horton’s coffee and burning down Washington, all of which give some insight into the Canadian psyche. While many were quite funny, they also had something of a scathing edge to them.  A little hurt, maybe; maybe even a little bitter.  A little bit pissed off that the U.S. doesn’t pay more attention or isn’t more respectful or doesn’t turn to us more often for advice or help. After all, we have all the answers!

And we also need to grow up about it, too.

What do you think?

Barack Obama, President of the United States o...
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, with Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On “Being” Canadian, Part 1

So, it’s soon going to be spring and I live in Canada. I know that mentioning that fact will conjure pictures of palm trees and sandy beaches snowshoes, sled dogs and hockey players for you.  Oops. Sorry. I went off on a flight of fancy there. The fact is that this country is so big that you can’t make any generalized statements like that.  Actually, the same is true for small countries, which only goes to show that stereotyping is just a form of intellectual laziness and convenient labelling. But I’m digressing again.

I have never gone dog sledding in my life. Ditto snowshoeing.  I watch hockey now and then but have never played it.

I hate poutine. Worst of all, since I’m half French I’m supposed to like this crap and have secret family recipes for it hidden in the attic. Soggy  fries (I am NOT going to refer to them as French – they never were and never have been) buried under some sort of packaged sludge masquerading as “gravy”.  Would probably work as a below zero lubricant for your snowmobile.

Then this mess is further assaulted by a load of  “cheese curds.” Yuck. See attached picture. Jamie Oliver would choke if he saw this stuff. And yes, we let our kids eat it. Encourage them, even. Whoever invented this dreck should be buried in it.

I like maple syrup but I don’t collect it and turn my back yard into a frozen syrup arena.

Most of us do not live in igloos, but some of our first nations people are trying to hang on to the knowledge of how to build one, along with other knowledge that we attempted to either beat out of them or steal from them, including the game of lacrosse. We changed it, called it hockey and then wouldn’t let them play it.

Some of us get terrifying winters and some of us don’t. I live in a part that used to be fairly predictable but isn’t any more. Global warming, anyone?

Summers can be ridiculously hot in some places and beautifully temperate in others. We actually have “desert zones” and “rain forest zones.”

Not all easterners grow potatoes and wrangle lobsters. It’s true that some of them have a pretty strong accent, but so what?

Canada produces some of the best ice wine in the world. Go figure.

The Tim Horton’s coffee shops are really popular in this country. They’re named after a hockey player.  Some people think that this is classic Canadiana. I do not.

Sometimes, other nationalities think that we’re a sort of watered down version of the U.S.  I once heard Canadians referred to as “plastic Americans.” Ever mistaken an Austrian for a German? They hate that and can respond rather ferociously to it.  We feel the same way about the assumption that we’re Americans.

Some Canadians think that in order to be a “success” you have to go to the U.S.

We can often be a rather smug and even arrogant bunch about how great things are in our chunk of the world, but we have our problems, just like everyone else. I’m sometimes viewed with suspicion because I have a French name. Is she a separatist? (No, I’m not.)

What about the tar sands and the oil pipelines? An environmental disaster? I believe so.

Some people say that we have a self-esteem issue.

Our politicians leave a lot to be desired and they exploit holes in our electoral system that you could drive an aircraft carrier through. We aren’t doing much about it.

What say you? What’s your opinion? Where do you live? What stereotypes do you face?

Montreal poutine from La Banquise in Montreal
Montreal poutine from La Banquise in Montreal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)