"I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That’s why we have Canada." (Bill Maher in the article Please Stop Apologizing)
I don't want you to think that I don't have a sense of humour or can't take a joke, but mocking my country even in good fun really bothers me (because sadly, many people believe the jokes). Canada is frequently the butt of jokes on TV, the worst offenders shows like South Park* and How I Met Your Mother. ** I figure if it bothers me this much, maybe I should try informing rather than scowling and moaning about it. So here goes...
1. Canadians are nice and never offend anyone.
Ha! If only this were true. The population of jerks per capita in Canada probably equals that of most other countries. I've lived in Germany, spent a whole summer in Scotland, and visited many places around the US and Europe and have met many nice and polite people in all of these locales. Canada does not have a monopoly on niceness. Capiche?2. We all talk in this wacked out accent rife with aboots and ehs.
Wrong. I will admit to saying 'eh' on occasion, but it's not a conversational crutch for me, nor is this the case with most people I know. The only place in this country that you might hear about pronounced aboot is Newfoundland and it's such a tiny percentage of our population. Sure you might know someone from Canada who speaks like this, but then I also know Americans who say y'all. Do all y'all say y'all? Do all English folk say "Jolly good, pip pip, cheerio, my good man"? No? Didn't think so.3. We hate Americans.
Again: wrong. Man, we hate you so much that we share tons of things with you like "the largest bilateral relationship of any two nations on Earth" (Source). We also watch all your TV and movies, buy products from all your companies, and frequently travel to visit your beautiful country on vacation. Not exactly something I'd call hate. More like friendship.4. It's always cold here (Canada = The Great White North or a polar icecap).
Sure we get more than our fair share of chilly days in the winter, but we also get very hot temperatures in the summer as well. Every summer for as long as I can remember we have hit 30°C (86°F) or higher. There are places in Canada that see far more rainfall than they do snow (like the Western coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island). We don't live in igloos, ski season does end, and most of us have never seen a polar bear (except at a zoo).5. Our national anthem (O, Canada) is to the tune of O, Christmas Tree.
Not even close, actually. There are plenty of versions (most of them cheesy) on YouTube. Here's one with pretty pictures of our very pretty country (P.S. It has a polar bear in it).6. We all know so and so from [fill in the blank] in Canada.
I promise you I don't know that person you know from Canada. Canada is BIG****. Our population is only four times that of New York City, but as far as sheer landmass, we are the second largest country in the world. We're just spread out a lot. However, 90% of our population lives within 160km (100 miles) of the USA/Canada border (see #4).7. Our national security and/or military stinks.
Untrue. Did you know that Canada was involved in WWII from the beginning? To this day, Holland sends tulip bulbs every year to Ottawa, our nation's capitol, to thank us for being so instrumental in their country's liberation. We also established a beachhead at Juno Beach during the invasion of Normandy. We've been involved in a number of other military endeavors since then, but more recently, our troops were involved in the war in Afghanistan. Our armed forces are frequently among the first to provide aid in times of emergency and natural disaster globally. CSIS, our Intelligence branch, works with both the CIA and MI5 in stopping threats to national security. They also work in conjunction with our federal police service, the RCMP. Side note: the Mounties aren't always dressed in the Red Serge. It's just their dress uniform. Normally, they dress like normal police officers, which we also have all across Canada as not all of our cops are Mounties. I worked for a local police force myself for a while (here's proof).8. We all speak English and French.
English and French may be Canada's national languages, but not every Canadian can speak both. Some places in Quebec (our French province) people speak only French, and many Canadians either don't speak it at all, or know very little. Canada is very diverse with groups of people from all over the world, and just as many different languages.
|Watching my brother-in-law carry the torch.|
Canadians are patriotic, we just aren't loud about it. Except for this one time where we unleashed the beast and let the world know just how proud we are to belong to this country (think Vancouver 2010). As a nation, we'll never be the same again, and that's a good thing.10. We're all hockey, beer, and maple syrup fans.
Okay, this one is mostly true. Go Edmonton Oilers!!
Like I said, I'm not trying to be all ranty or snarky, but the only way to clear up some of these misconceptions is to share a little about this wonderful country I'm proud to call home.
*The South Park movie had a song entitled "Blame Canada" that was nominated for an Oscar.
**Cobie Smulders (Robin) is Canadian, but does this give them license to crack jokes about us?
***See, I have a sense of humour :-)
****Canada has a total area of 9.9 million square kilometres (3.8 million square miles) and touches three different oceans--the Atlantic, the Arctic, and the Pacific (Source).