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.

Canada Day — Eh (2018)


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.


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.

7 Things I Love About Canada and 1 More

Today is Canada Day — Canada’s Birthday — and, in honour of the day, here are seven things I love about my country and one I hate.

canada arm

1 — Aside from the Brits, Canadians have the coolest flag on the planet.

2 — My country is incredibly beautiful.  For some strange reason, cameras love Canada the way French pigs love truffles.  I suppose it helps that 90% of the country doesn’t have any people in it, but for drop-dead gorgeous, even our slums aren’t that bad.

3 — Canada is safe.  Yeah, yeah, yeah! There are places in this country where you don’t want to be stranded, drunk off your ass, at two in the morning.  The thing is, though, those places are 2 — maybe 3– hundred kilometres outside any established urban area, and the local inhabitants there don’t want to rob you — they want to eat you.  In general, to get killed, beaten up or even pushed around in my country, you really have to work at it.

4 — Hockey

5 — Go to any city, town or village in Canada and you will find a library and anybody — ANYBODY — can go there, get a book, sit down and read it — for free.

6 — We’ve got the whole world in our backyard.  Walk 2 or 3 kilometres in any direction in any city in Canada, and you’ll hear at least four different languages.  Keep going and you’ll eventually hear them all — even the dead ones.  You can eat in a different ethnic restaurant every week for two years and never repeat yourself.  You can dance, sing, read, write, paint or practice the fine art of Bulgarian nose knitting in my country — and everybody thinks that’s cool.

7 — Butter tarts, Terry Fox, Toboggans, Norman Bethune, Cheezies, Poutine, David Suzuki, Leonard Cohen, a warm parka on a cold morning, nothing between me and the horizon, Spring, Tim Hortons, Rene Levesque, mitts, John McCrae and all those other things that are so uniquely Canadian I can’t even explain them to anybody who doesn’t live here.


Unfortunately, most of our “unique Canadian identity” is taken up with one overwhelming idea — we’re NOT Americans.  This crap is really tiresome.  We spend huge amounts of time looking over our shoulder, checking and comparing and waiting for the Americans to do something stupid so we can feel inherently superior.  When George Bush was president you could cut the smug in this country with a knife.  Now that we’ve got Donald Trump to kick around, we’re on the verge of a national orgasm of auto-erotic vanity that may never be equaled.  This is not healthy.

But what the hell!  If it wasn’t for the Americans playing silly bugger all the time, we’d have nothing to bitch about except the weather.

Happy Canada Day!