Who Canadians Are–and Aren’t

Do you remember this commercial?

It was a big hit in the mid-2k. What lovely irony that it took a beer commercial to spark off a wave of Canadian Patriotism, eh? More than once in my life, I’ve had conversations where my interlocutor has responded with “You keep saying what Canadians aren’t. Who are you?”

If I were generous, I’d say that we’re the peacemakers, the voice of reason and those attuned to nature. We are the world’s liberals, in the true sense of liberalism, but without the finger-wagging. That’d just be rude.

Were I less generous, I’d say that we’re the thick-rimmed glasses wearing middle managers walking on the egg-shells of world politics, the co-dependants of the globe. Now that you know that, do you still like us? We are Anne of Green Gables living among a biker club, optimistically hoping that maybe, just maybe, tonight, we won’t take it up the butt.

We are those who live with Russian winters, but without the breadlines. Our cynicism melts just long enough in a four-month summer to prevent permafrost. Our military is as strong as an hard-frozen igloo and we rely on the American red-necks to keep the foreign bears at bay.

We take care of the trees and the mountains and the water, except of course for the Alberta shale-sands, which, while ruining our land, keeps us in the good graces of those folks with guns.

We are the land where a politician showing a shoulder or misusing a mere hundred thousand dollars is a genuine national scandal. Call us milquetoast and the hockey jersey comes off, but we’ll shake your hand after a game.

How does a foreigner recognize a Canadian? We’re always speaking about the weather.

When walking, we don’t cross the street when the light is red. Even when nobody is looking.

We open your door and say thank you.

We apologize to you when you bump into us.

We do say “eh?”

We don’t say “aboot”–unless we’re from the east.

Who are we? We’re Canadian. Try as you might, you can’t peg us to a simple description.

No Canadians were harmed in the writing of this post.

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