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 polite. We’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.