Canada Is Weird!

Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving.  It’s just the same as American Thanksgiving (turkey and everything) except we don’t celebrate it on the same day because – uh – we don’t have to.  So there!  And that kinda sums up Canada.  In the great scheme of things, we’re a nation like everybody else: we sit in the halls of power, we make treaties, run a decent international economy, send athletes to the Olympics, bitch about China and all the other stuff normal countries do, but … back home, we’re weird.  Here are just a few examples.

Canada is a bilingual country which means people here speak both French and English.  We don’t! The truth is, way back when (just so people would quit yipping about it) English-speaking Canadians promised to learn French in school and never think about it again (kinda like algebra) and French-speaking Canadians promised to continue speaking French.  As a result, the only truly bilingual Canadians are flight attendants and the woman who answers the phone for the federal government.   

For 30 years the CFL (Canadian Football League) had two teams with the same name – the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  When they played against each other it was practically impossible to tell who was winning.

We have this huge area that is still called the Northwest Territories.  It’s as if we showed up there sometime in the Age of Discovery, couldn’t think up a decent name and then just forgot about it for 200 years.

Canadians hold their hockey commentators to a higher standard than their politicians.  Last year, a hockey commentator, Don Cherry, was filmed pointing his finger and saying “you people.”  He was fired within 24 hours.  Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was photographed in “blackface” — not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions.  He was not fired; he was not even asked to resign; in fact, he was re-elected!

Canadians are politeWe’re not!  Yeah, we say “sorry” all the time, but all that actually means is we haven’t got time for your bullshit, so we’ll just give you this fake apology and move on.  Plus it’s a sneaky way to get a high ranking on all those idiot “Best Places on the Planet to Live” surveys.

You can buy marijuana pretty much anywhere in the country, but you can’t buy a bottle of wine anyplace but a designated liquor store.

Canada, like 99% of the world (I’m lookin’ at you, America) uses the metric system.  However, our athletes are still measured in feet and inches, our golf courses are measured in yards, and there isn’t a soul in this country who knows what a hectare is.  On the bright side, for six months of the year, it’s so cold it doesn’t matter whether we give the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit.

Our currency is called the loonie because our dollar coin has a loon on it.  (Oddly enough, our two-dollar coin, which has a bear on it, is not called a bearie.)  Anyway, international money managers must laugh themselves stupid whenever they’re told the Canadian Loonie is “unstable” or “fluctuating wildly.”

All time zones in the world are based on the hour — except for one: the Canadian province of Newfoundland which runs on the half hour.  And, BTW, it’s pronounced “Nufenland” – all one word, as if you’re in a hurry.

Since 1973 (47 years!) Canada has been in a border dispute with Denmark.  Both countries claim sovereignty over Hans Island in the Arctic Ocean.  However, rather than dig in and start shooting, whenever the Canadian military shows up on the island (Rumour has it they phone ahead) they take down the Danish flag, fold it neatly at the base of the pole and raise the Canadian flag.  They also leave a “Welcome to Canada” sign and a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey.  The Danish military does the same, except they leave a bottle of Schnapps.  When you’ve got civilized countries, who needs the United Nations?

But the weirdest thing about Canada is our schizophrenic attitude towards the United States.  On the one hand, we think of them as our best friends.  For example, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Canada was the first country to declare war on Japan — even before America itself!  There’s also the Iranian hostage crisis (Ben Affleck got that seriously wrong) and the Canadian response to 9/11 (They even wrote a musical about that!) and a ton of other stuff.  We vacation in America, we work there and thousands of us live there (including me, for a while.)  We’re basically North American siblings (English mother/father unknown.)  However, ask any Canadian about America and we come totally unglued: “OMG!  It’s like livin’ above a crack house, a biker bar, Westboro Church and a redneck trailer park — all at the same time.”  Then we’ll recite a litany of advantages to being Canadian — starting with the War of 1812 and ending with gun control and Universal Health Care — and the only reason we ever stop is we gotta pack cuz we’re taking the kids to Disneyland.

Common Sense – What’s On Your Plate?

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The War on Common Sense continues and, in fact, has opened up a whole new battleground – automobile licence plates.  (FYI: if you have enough money, you can choose what is printed on your automobile’s licence plate.  For example, according the BBC, in Dubai, the plate “1” sold for over ten million dollars. (That’s right – over 10 million US dollars!)  However, you have to be careful.  Let me tell you a cautionary tale.

Way back in 1990, in my country, Canada, a guy by the name of Lorne Grabher bought a “vanity plate” with his name on it – GRABHER – no space, no lower case, just GRABHER.  For the next 26 years, he drove his car around the streets with his last name in full view of the unsuspecting (and, I’m assuming, unconcerned) Canadian public.  This all came to a screaming halt in 2016 when the government received an “anonymous complaint.”  I don’t know what the complaint said, but the government shot into action, and Mr. Grabher was informed that he had to surrender his licence plate because it was a “socially unacceptable slogan.”  I can only imagine the conversation.

Grabher – “It’s not a slogan, you idiot: it’s my last name!”
Bureaucrat – “We’re the government, and we don’t care.”

Anyway, our boy, Grabher, decided he wasn’t going to surrender his last name without a fight and took the government to court.  The government, who has more taxpayer money than brains, replied with the bureaucratic equivalent of “Okay!  Bring it on!” and called in the big guns.  They retained an expert, Dr. Carrie Rentschler, Associate Professor of Feminist Media Studies at McGill University, to deliver a report on the subject.  In the report, Rentschler maintains that, among other things, the questionable license plate is an “act of violence,” “supports violence against women,” “endangers women” and implies “by the pussy.”  Strong stuff!

However, Mr. Grabher also retained an expert, Dr. Debra Soh, who has a PhD in Sexual Neuroscience from York University. In her report, Dr. Soh wrote, “Mr. Grabher’s plate is not offensive or dangerous to women by any means, and I have found no evidence to support the idea that a license plate bearing his surname would increase rates of sexual violence against women or encourage societal attitudes supportive of sexual assault.  To suggest that Mr. Grabher’s surname is ‘a statement in support of physical violence against women’ is completely unfounded”

The battle rages, and the court date, after much jockeying by both sides, is set for April, 2019.

I’m no expert either way, but this is totally nutsy!  A two-year court case over a license plate that existed for a quarter of a century before it offended anybody?  I’m pretty sure the courts have better things to do with their time, like – maybe — hearing cases of real domestic violence?  Plus, it’s the guy’s last name, for God’s sake!  Which, according to Dr. Carrie Rentschler, means his very existence “supports violence against women.”  If that’s the case, where did the guy work?  There are not a lot of companies around that want an employee whose name implies “by the pussy.”  Who were his friends?  How did he ever get a date?  “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.  My name is “a statement in support of physical violence against women.”  Is Betty ready to go to the Prom?”  Yeah, that works!  And it goes on and on.  Given this kind of round-the -bend logic, postal workers should refuse to deliver Mr. Grabher’s mail just because it’s got his name on it.  Think about it!

Here’s the deal, folks.  Our society hasn’t lost its common sense: common sense is under attack, and we’d better start defending ourselves before it’s too late.

Canada Day — Eh (2018)

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Sunday, July 1st is Canada Day.  (On the map, we’re that big pink bit on top of the United States.)  Living next door to America is a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand, we can wander around the world, spouting all kinds of pie-in-the-sky nonsense because we’re pretty secure under the American military and economic umbrella.  On the other hand, nobody pays much attention to Canada because we are permanently stuck in that shadow.  As a result, a lot of people around the world have some serious misconceptions about Canada – what we do and how we live.  So in honour of Canada Day, here are a few myths about my country that need to be straightened out.

We all live in igloos. – Not really, but given the outrageous house prices (Vancouver’s average is $1.1 million) it’s becoming a viable option.

We all say “eh.” — Actually, like “aloha,” we only do it for the tourists.

We don’t lock our doors. — Michael Moore said we didn’t in one of his “documentaries” and the world thought that was cool — although Canadians laughed themselves stupid.  “Hey, Mikey!  You jackass!  Just because we’re not Americans, that doesn’t mean we’re idiots.”

Nous parlons tous francais. – No, nous ne parlons pas tous francais.  The fact is, only about 20% of Canadians speak French.  The rest of us try to get by on the French we learned in school — with various hilarious results.

Our police wear bright red uniforms and ride horses. — Yeah, right!  And Dutch people all wear wooden shoes!

We don’t have guns. – Actually, Canadians have a lot of guns (3 for every 10 people in the country.) We just don’t whip them out every time we have a social disagreement.

Canadians are obsessed with hockey. – Just because the entire country shuts down when Canada plays for Olympic Gold, that doesn’t mean we’re obsessed!

We say “sorry” all the time. — Sorry, we don’t.

You can legally grow and smoke marijuana in Canada. – Nobody really knows, but we do it anyway.

Canadian dollars are called “loonies.” – This is true, but we only do it to make the pompous asses at the IMF sound silly.

And finally:

Canada is always cold.  — Canadian winters are no joke, but it’s really only mind-numbing, soul-eating, kill-me-now cold for part of the year.  The second week of August is usually quite balmy.

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So Happy Canada Day — when Canadians all over the country forget their differences and remember the only thing we all have in common – we love to make fun of Americans.