Open Carry

 It’s sometimes astonishing that Canada and the US are in the same continent. The share so much history and culture and stuff, but in some gigantically enormous ways they are completely alien to us. Ya, there’s this whole douche-bagger or trash-bagger or tea-bagger thing; or whatever they call themselves. I can’t even being to understand what’s been polluting their drinking water. But that’s just a few really loud crazies. What always really strikes me is the American attitute toward guns.

This “open carry” thing in particular is mighty strange.  Open carry means you’re allowed to carry a gun, openly, as you go about your daily business. So you wear your Glock as you drop off the kids at daycare, get your groceries, go to the gym and on Sundays, you and hubby tuck your his-and-hers Smith & Wessons into your dressiest holsters and trot off to church.

This sounds so bizarre and foreign to me, but apparantly the majority of states allow “non-prohibited” citizens to openly carry a loaded handgun without any special licenses or permits. Other states allow citizens to carry loaded weapons openly or concealed with a state-issued permit. Only 7 states and the District of Columbia do not allow the open carry of firearms.

All this openess is relatively recent — I guess since terrorists started runnin amok in the USA.  There are a few groups protesting it, but two-thirds of Americans are not only comfortable with this regression to the days of gunslingers but believe their constitution should guarantee them the right to “bear arms”.

The FBI estimates that there are over 200 million privately-owned firearms in the US – that doesn’t include guns owned by police, military and security personnel. Approximately 80 million people in the US own guns and the average gun owner usually owns several firearms including pistols, shotguns, and rifles of all makes and models.

Interestingly, Canada has about the same number of guns per capita as the US.  We do not, however, have the inherent “right to bear arms” and most of our guns are not hand guns.  We need a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) to own a gun for hunting or target shooting or collecting, but it’s pretty much impossible to get a permit to own a gun for self-defense. Every gun has to be registered as well as licensed, although there are a few issues with our gun registry.

In Canada, only occupation-related circumstances are considered valid reasons to own and/or carry a handgun (i.e.: armoured vehicle personnel).

One of the segments of our physical education classes in high school each year was rifle-shooting, (we were all farmers). We had a small range under one of the stairwells. That’s about the only time I’ve ever handled a gun of any sort. It was fun to blast away at some paper targets, but the idea of wearing a loaded hand gun all day and walking around among a bunch of other people carrying loaded hand guns is freaky.

I don’t understand what these gun-toting people are so afraid of.  I don’t recall any time in my life so far (knock wood) where a gun would have come in handy. I know stuff happens to people sometimes, but what are the odds that even if you’re carrying a gun, that you’ll be able to use it successfully to defend yourself?

There are so many variables:

  • Could you shoot a human being even in self-defense? It’s easy to say yes, but not always easy to do, I understand.
  • If someone bigger and stronger than you or a group of people is attacking you, how likely is it that they’ll overpower you and take your gun?
  • Could you get your gun out and the safety off in time to defend yourself?
  • How likely is it that you’re the one who’s going to end up shot?

The level of gun ownership world-wide is directly related to murder and suicide rates and specifically to the level of death by gunfire. ~ Gun Control Network

Personally, I think we should all be permitted to carry small paintball guns which we can use against anyone who annoys us or pisses us off during the course of a day.

  •  The lady in the 8-items-or-less express line ahead of you has a cart full of groceries? Pop her in the back of her new perm with a purple paintball.
  •  Cashier is igoring you while talking on the phone to her boyfriend? Pop her in the forehead with a blue paintball.
  •  Cell phone dude finds out you still have a year left on your plan so laughs off your request for a phone to replace the one you just bought that broke right away? Pop him in the groin with a yellow paintball.
  •  Cyclist almost knocks you off the sidewalk as he’s speeding by? Pop him in the back with a big, black paintball.
  •  Drunken college gang hooting and hollering outside your door at 3:00 am? Hit them all with a mad volley of multi-coloured paintballs.

 I can’t tell you how many, many times I’ve wished I had something like that – just to emphasize a point when someone is being particularly belligerent or rude. I think it would really help to shape up the service industry and to make us all a little more polite.

What’s your attitude or experience with guns? And for the Americans out there — do you often see people wandering around the streets wearing pistols?

Anti-Protest Protest

This isn’t going to be a popular post, but so many people have written triumphant posts about the anti-prorogation rally on the weekend, that I thought I’d talk about why I didn’t go.

 I have many of the same issues with protests as I do with strikes. And before I go on, I want to be clear that I’m just speaking from the viewpoint of someone in 21st century Canada. I know there are long lists of causes in other countries and in our own country, in other times, that were moved forward through public demonstration.

When people have very little legal recourse or when there is a severe and direct threat to individual freedoms;  demonstrations (peaceful or even violent) are the only way to go. None of the conditions that would legitimize or necessitate public demonstrations exist in Canada today. Protest is a tool that blunts with misuse and overuse.

What was the intended outcome of this protest on Saturday?  To change public opinion?   To force the Prime Minister to change his mind? To send the Prime Minister a message that “Canadians” aren’t as apathetic as he thinks they are?  Has any of this been achieved?

If we hope to persuade anyone of anything in a civilized society we need to use reasoned discussion and a well-crafted argument. Clever signs, witty songs and general outrage are not persuasive. They might be fun and they definitely generate excitement among the demonstrators and in the media, but they don’t persuade anyone of anything.

The people at whom this type of protest is aimed do not care about these things. They can not. Stephen Harper has protesters on his doorstep every day of the week in lesser or greater numbers. He doesn’t formulate policies or decisions based on what the mob-of-the-day is demanding. Yes, he’s slipped a bit in the polls because of media attention the protests and the Facebook group have generated;  but he also soared in the polls after he played the piano and sang a song in public. The general populace has a very short memory. And, when it comes time to vote, Harper is betting Canadians are not going to use this little break from Parliament against him.

While it looks great that thousands of people across the country came out to demonstrate on Saturday, it doesn’t necessarily translate into anything significant come election time.

Strength in numbers, in a case like this, isn’t real strength. Just because something is popular today doesn’t mean it’s right or good in the long run.  Eleanor Roosevelt said: what is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular.

Demonstrations continue all over America in opposition to same sex marriage.  Pro-life groups protest outside of abortion clinics all the time. Every time someone commits a particularly heinous crime, protesters gather and call for the reinstatement of capital punishment. It would be very wrong of our leaders to make decisions based on the size or volume of groups of protesters. If 3500 pro-lifers showed up on Parliament Hill next weekend, you would be upset if the Prime Minister were to second-guess abortion legislation over their protest. 

I’m not saying that Harper was right to prorogue parliament — though I am a bit curious as to why this particular issue is causing so much outrage when he’s done so many more outrageous things both before and since his re-election.  I am saying that just because a lot of people turned out for Saturday’s demonstrations doesn’t automatically make Harper wrong. Nor does it convince him, or anyone else, that he is wrong.

In fact, it may do just the opposite. Middle-of-the-road people tend to stereotype political protesters as “crackpot activists” (see PETA). So, a viewpoint taken up by these so-called “crackpot activists” might convince middle-of-the-road Canadians to take up the opposing viewpoint in order to disassociate themselves from the “crackpot” element. (And no, I’m not personally calling anyone who attended a demonstration on Saturday a crack-pot)

In 21st century Canada there are so many more effective ways to express outrage and so many better ways to attempt to promote change. We can, for instance,  use television, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, the legal system and/or letter writing to get our point across. All of these are more effective than standing in the cold with cardboard effigies.

As an example, writing letters to your politicians – rational, reasoned letters asking specific questions – guarantees that those letters will be read and responded to. Every letter that comes in with specific questions will be read by someone. If there are one or more specific questions in that letter, it will get passed on to the correspondence unit, who will then have to craft a response. The response and the original letter will get passed up the line for review, edits, input and a series of signatures, including sign-off by the person to whom you wrote the initial question.

All this costs politicians time, money and human resources. These things force them to pay attention. If they get enough letters about the same topic they can’t ignore that topic. They can ignore a protest rally. And they do.

There are many countries in the world where protests are the only recourse to injustice; where protests are a necessary medium for the voice of the people. Canada isn’t one of them.

Though there was a lot of talk about the undermining of “democracy” at the rally on Saturday, Canada, in fact, has a well-established democracy. Even Stephen Harper with all his games cannot threaten it. And we, the people of Canada, have many mechanisms for input into that democratic system and should make full use of them.

Though I’m quite sure that many of the people at Saturday’s protest were sincere and well-meaning people, their actions are seen as easily shrugged-off theatrics by those being protested against. Leaders cannot rule by angry mob. And, protests can have the opposite of their intended effect on the population at large.

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PS: For the record, I have never voted Conservative and never will. To me, right now, the most effective way to get Harper out of power is to support and work toward offering a strong and viable alternative at the next election. Because as long as there are no really good options…guess what…

Elbow Snot

It’s cold and flu season again/still. Actually it seems to be cold and flu season all year long, does’t it? According to Health Canada , cold and flu season in this country is from November to April (Only half the year! Phew!)

So lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of people coughing and sneezing all over their clothing. Sneezing and coughing on your clothing seems to be all the rage this cold and flu season. The Center for Disease Control advocates using your clothing to catch your coughs and sneezes. The “Sneeze Doctor”,  Dr. Ben Lounsbury has made an entire career out of shoving the “Sleeve Sneeze” (aka “Dracula Cough”) down our raw, infected throats with his  Why Don’t We Do It In Our Sleeves propoganda.

The break-through science behind this bold, new disease-fighting technique is that splattering your germs onto fabric contains the germs and causes them to dry up and die — right there on your sleeves.

How revolutionary! (From the root word, “revolting”)

So, here’s my thought. If you’re sick enough to be sneezing and coughing all over the place — stay home. Or, if you absolutely need to be up and about, I can recommend an amazing product generically known as FACIAL TISSUES. I don’t know what they were originally invented for, but I’ve been using them quite successfully for years to capture the phlegm and debris from coughs and sneezes[1]. And they’re disposable![2] Yes, I use them and then I throw them away like boyfriends. Then I wash my hands or use some of that hand sanitizer everyone who’s anyone carries around these days. And then I’m  good to go.

Of course  there are people who have no common courtesy and sneeze all over other people or sneeze into their hands and then go and touch stuff other people are going to be touching.  And there are people who put their hands in or around their faces without washing their hands after  touching the stuff the people without common courtesy have touched. These people have no common sense and will get the plague sooner or later and die anyway.  We are not going to be able to save them by sleeve sneezing, trust me.

I’m thinking, however, maybe I’m not the only one who grew up in Rational-Human-Being-Land[3], where we were taught to always carry tissues when we were sick and to wash our hands after blowing our noses and to not suck on our fingers after shaking hands with someone who just coughed something green and slimy into his hands.

These time-tested practices now seem to be passé. Now we can’t be trusted to retain such complex information, so we are instructed (with colourful, easy-to-remember and entertaining instructional videos produced by people much smarter than they think we are) to  just expel our germs and bodily fluids onto our clothing.

Good grief, people! Are we hillbillies? Have we really regressed to the point where we’re back to wiping our noses on our sleeves?

What if you’re wearing a tank top or short sleeved shirt?[4] What if you’ve got a mouth full of oatmeal and have to sneeze or cough? What if you’ve got a snout full of snot and have to sneeze?

Ewwwww. That’s what.

And the really extra stupid thing I’m seeing is people just coughing or sneezing into the general direction of their sleeves so, while the person in front of them is sort of safe from the spray of bacteria and mucus, everyone beside and/or behind them gets a full blast. 

At the last minute some shred of these people’s abased dignity must have surfaced and told them that clothing is not the right place for snot. They recall, perhaps, that when they eat, they wipe their hands with serviettes and not on their trousers. And then they wonder if perhaps somewhere out there is a serviette-type thing for snot so they don’t have to wipe that on their clothing either.

Once upon a time ladies used to wipe their nether regions with their undergarments if they had to do their business outdoors and/or because the toilet paper of the day was too rough for their delicate skin. If we all get too stupid or lazy to remember to use toilet paper, will there be an instructional video asking, Why Don’t We Do It In Our Underpants?

So now I have to be afraid to sit too close to anyone or accidentally brush up against anyone in case I get elbow-snot transference. AND, the cherry on top of this whole nutty meringue is that they’re also trying, as Violetsky  recently pointed out,  to get us to stop shaking hands and kissing and to greet each other instead with — THE ELBOW BUMP!   

Egads!


[1] You’re going to need one to blow or wipe your drippy nose anyway.
[2] I know, not environmentally friendly, right? And having to do extra laundry because your shirts are stiff with snot isn’t?  What about good old-fashioned handkerchiefs? Oh ya, people decided it was gross to sneeze into a piece of cloth you were going to carry around in your pocket.
[3] Just south of I-Learned-Some-Manners-Land, neighbouring Don’t-Blow-Your-Nose-On-Your-Shirtsleeve-Land.
[4] I’ve seen a woman in a tank top lift up the end of her long skirt and sneeze into that AND wipe her nose with it afterwards. I’ve seen a woman carrying a baby sneeze into her baby’s blanket because she couldn’t twist enough to get her sleeve. My nephew sneezed into my mother’s kitchen curtains once because it was summer and he wasn’t wearing sleeves. And I’ve seen people spewing things onto their clothes and then wiping it off with their hands. Excellent!

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UPDATE

The question arose: why are we worried about germs on door-knobs and other hard surfaces and encouraged to hack germs all over our clothes? The Sleeve Sneeze people tell us germs just up and die on our clothes, but this didn’t make much sense to me so I did some research and found out that in order to thrive germs need moisture and food (just like us). Heres’ what else I found:

But even frequently handled hard surfaces like water faucets and door handles are not as big a source of infections as you might think, because germs don’t thrive on, or transfer well from, hard surfaces.

Germs transfer easily from the moist damp surface of the skin. The greatest risk of infection is from your hands touching someone else and then touching your face.

No bacteria or virus can live on dry surfaces with a humidity of less than 10 percent. Any sort of nutrients-food particles, skin cells, blood, mucus-helps microbes thrive…bacterial spore can survive for weeks on dry clothing using sloughed skin cells for food.

News from Around the World

AUSTRALIA –  Now that we’ve sort of forgotten about swine flu, maybe we could start worrying about Hendra Virus. This virus doesn’t bother to just make you really sick; it just kills. It’s killed 4 people in Australia already and is contracted by close contact with the bodily fluids of infected horses. Horses become infected with the virus by close contact with flying foxes. It’s only a matter of time before it gets us all!

NEW ZEALAND –   Eighty-two year old Polly Pollock has spent the last 16 years turning a dump near a housing estate into a green space. She’s planted about 3,000 native species trees and had to haul water in buckets to the site because there’s no running water.  She bought or grew all the trees herself. Now that she said the planting is done,  the Navy, who owns the land, told her she can’t use the land anymore. They said they said they’d look after it themselves now that it’s a popular park, walking and jogging trail. Polly is worried because their track record in greenspace maintenance isn’t good. Not to mention they’re a bunch of dickheads.

PollyPollock

SCOTLAND – Okay, here’s this story entitled  “Drink a Factor in Surgery Deaths”. It goes on to say that, “Alcohol abuse was a factor in the deaths of one in 15 patients who died in hospitals last year while under the care of surgeons. A total of 3,461 people died in surgery in 2008. The report found that alcohol was implicated in the deaths of 194 patients, representing about 1 in 15 of of all surgical deaths.”  I can’t figure out from this article if they mean the patients were alcoholics or if the surgeons were all drunk while performing surgery. Can you?

IRELAND – So there’s this 19 year-old-kid who was dying of cirrhosis of the liver and was admitted into hospital with only 3 weeks to live if he didn’t get a transplant. Some people were a little ticked off that he might get moved to the top of the transplant list when they reckon it’s his own damn fault that his liver failed. His dad says the kid didn’t really drink any more than most kids his age and that he deserves a chance. While the debate raged on, liver boy, Gareth Anderson, snuck out of the hospital to go across the road to the pub for a pint.

ENGLAND – There’s an art installation in Trafalgar Square that consists of a plinth where people can get up and do anything they like for one hour at a time, as long as it’s legal. Justin Holwell decided to get naked, horrifying all sorts of men on behalf of their women and children. There’s a video.

CANADA – Our craziest story is the weird incident between former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant and bicycle courier, Darcy Sheppard. Apparently the two had some sort of altercation after Bryant’s car collided with Sheppard’s bike. Bryant took off and Sheppard went after him. At some point Sheppard grabbed the car, got smashed into a mailbox, then a tree and then got run over by the back wheels of Bryant’s car. He’s dead and Bryant’s in big trouble. I think. I’m not sure. They seem to be trying to make a case that Sheppard wasn’t a very upstanding guy and that he brought it all on himself.

USA – Baptist pastor Steven Anderson delivered a sermon recently entitled “Why I Hate Barack Obama.” He went on to tell his congregation that he prayed that the president would die.

If you want to know how I’d like to see Obama die, I’d like him to die of natural causes,” said Anderson.  “I don’t want him to be a martyr, we don’t need another holiday. I’d like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer.

I’m pretty sure god is rolling over in his grave.

The Back-to-School Edition

Eleven years ago this week, I dropped XUP Jr. off for her first day of school. She was almost 6 years old. The rule in Nova Scotia is that the child has to be 5 by October something in order to start school and her birthday is in December so she’ll always be a bit older than her peers. But that’s okay because she wasn’t really ready for school until she was almost 6.

As a youngster she was thoughtful and curious and bright and intelligent and independent and eager to learn anything and everything. If I’d had a choice I probably would have home-schooled her until she was a bit older. Because it wasn’t long until the school system drained most of the curiosity and brightness and independence and eagerness out of her.

She’s still her own person and still pulls off good marks and everything, but I don’t think she’s actually learning anything anymore – hasn’t for quite a few years now — and doesn’t seem to care all that much about it. Once she learned to read, write, add and subtract, things sort of leveled out.

Teachers get a program they have to follow. There are certain milestones the school has to prove it has achieved every year. School boards have to report back to the province. It’s all about numbers. And numbers can be fudged. Kids get an “A” for mediocre work because the class/school/board needs a certain level to maintain its funding.

There are provincialstandardized tests every few years, but kids are coached and primed to within an inch of their lives for a couple of days before the tests, so they produce inflated results.

A lot of teachers just seem bored or under too much pressure from their principal or school board to actually teach anymore. Teachers in Ontario have a starting salary of about $40,000 and go to over $90,000 after about 12 years. (High School teachers earn slightly more).

That’s not bad, though there are schools where I’m sure they’re earning every penny. But I can’t say I’ve been really excited about a lot of the teachers my daughter has had. Worse, she has not been very excited by many of her teachers. In fact, some of them just seem to go through the motions and it’s been like pulling teeth to have to sit through hours of listening to them drone on every week.

I don’t entirely blame the teachers. Most of their incentive and creativity has been stifled as well. There’s very little room/time/funding for individuality or different styles of learning/teaching. There’s just a set amount of stuff to be gotten through in a certain amount of time. Kids  (and teachers) have to conform to the institution if they don’t want to get by.

No one fails. Failure is no longer allowed in schools. Everyone just gets pushed through like a grommet on an assembly line.

Students are graduating high school with 99% averages yet universities report that “most of their students demonstrated a lack of the basic skills necessary for university” and that 42% of Canadians are semi-illiterate.

We have one of the highest post-secondary enrollments in the world, (approximately 10% of our population has a university degree) but we aren’t able to compete on an international level, especially in the science, mathematics and technology sectors.

These functions are being outsourced at ever increasing levels. Canadian-based companies cannot find the expertise locally to compete on the world stage.  The trend-watchers are advising parents to encourage their children toward futures in the arts and humanities sectors.

I know it’s really easy for us oldies to look back and say we knew so much more than kids today, but I still have some essays I wrote in high school and although they somehow look a lot more literate and intelligent than the stuff my daughter is turning in and she’s getting much better marks. Not that she’s unintelligent or illiterate. Once upon a time, she used to put a lot of effort into her school work and into meeting deadlines, but she’d end up with the same marks as people who handed in crap and handed it in weeks late. (Teachers are no longer allowed to deduct marks for lateness, apparantly). So now she just does the bare minimum and her marks are still very good.

I don’t think Canada has fully realized the value of giving our kids a good education. They get shuffled through elementary and high school. If they can find a way to pay for an increasingly costly post-secondary education, fine, they go on to “higher” education. If not, they’re go find a minimum wage or factory job or something. Which is a shame, because there might be some very bright people out there who simply can’t manage tuition fees. At least in the US they have state colleges.

When we watch the Jeopardy Teen Tournament, my poor child is totally lost. Ya, I know these kids are the cream of the crop, but XUP Jr. doesn’t even understand the question half the time. And she’s an “A” and “B” student.

Sometimes we watch Reach for the Top (the Canadian School Egghead Competition) and the questions are ridiculously easy by comparison.

Thank goodness neither I nor the kid have any aspirations for her to be the second coming of Einstein and that she’s been all about visual arts since she first picked up a crayon. Because we do the arts pretty good in Canada. The kid is going to an arts high school. We have some excellent arts colleges and universities. The country has produced some outstanding painters, writers, visual artists, actors, comedians, photographers. Musicians, film-makers, designers, dancers, etc.

Maybe we should stick to that and really put a lot of funding into producing the world’s best artsies?

Still, it would be nice if they knew the capital city of France or how many centimeters in a meter or what a zygote is.

Lessons from Away

c233_emigration_poster_520

Continuing on the immigration theme, did you know that Canada has the second highest population of foreign born citizens in the world? (Only Australia is higher.

The 6.2 million foreign-born people in Canada came from over 200 different countries: 58.3% from Asian countries; 16.1% from European countries; 10.9% from Central and South American; 10.6% from Africa.

Canada is also widely thought to be the second easiest country in the world to which to immigrate. Australia again wins out because they have a wider range of skills qualifications than Canada. Canada also has a greater disconnect between credentials and actual jobs.

Seventy percent of immigrants chose to live in either Toronto (40%), Montreal (14.9%) or Vancouver (13.7%).

Ottawa-Gatineau is home to over 200,000 foreign-born citizens.

One of them is Guillermo.  Some Ottawa bloggers have met Guillermo. He’s a charming young man who immigrated from South America to Canada some years ago with his family.

Guillermo maintains two blogs. On The Tired Prop he practices his English and rants and comments about every day stuff. His other blog, Los Ziegler en Canada, is in Spanish and has become a source of information and discussion for and with other immigrants and people wishing to immigrate.

Guillermos’s current project is a bridging exercise between native Canadians and foreign-born Canadians. His readers were recently asked why they chose to make Canada their home and whether this country has met their expectations: have their been any surprises or disappointments?

The answers are so touching I asked if I could quote some excerpts here (crudely translated by me using Google Translate).

Alfredo says:

My wife found a job without a problem. Equality at work is a reality here. She has had no difficulty because of her age, or the fact that she has children or because she is a woman

For me, Canada gave me back my family; gave me the opportunity to discover and re-invent myself; gave me the freedom to become a happy person. Thank you Canada for giving me the opportunity to be here.

 Jaime says:

Compared to the US, Canada allows you more freedom of thought; allows you to be proud of your country of origin unlike the US where you are expected to assimilate completely. In Canada people want to know about you and your country and can have an intelligent conversation with you about it.

Paola says:

We were expecting to have a hard time fitting in, re-adjusting and getting settled, but Canada proved us wrong in every single way. I was expecting friendly but distant people  – not the case. I was expecting to have a hard time getting a similar job  to the one I had in Argentina usning my experience and education – I got a job only 2 weeks after I got to Canada and in a better position.  And, I LOVE THE WINTER!! I still can not believe our luck.

Enzo says:

I had the chance to visit Toronto as a tourist. I literally fell in love with Canada, actually I think we had a mutual infatuation, to the point that I did not want to return to Argentina.

Canada has been extremely generous with me. I always have high expectations of this country, but Canada is always a step ahead of my expectations.

I now live in a country where my rights are respected (and my obligations enforced), people are educated, kind, respectful. I live in country where I make my living out of my hobby, and just for that I kiss the soil every time I return to this country after being away.

On Easter weekend, during a family dinner, someone asked me if I was thinking to retire in Argentina (because my money will be more profitable there). My answer was no. I never have never felt about a country the way I feel about Canada. No other country makes me feel this. I am here to stay (for good or for bad)

I also love the snow, driving in the snow, all the fuss about snow storms and then nothing happens. I LOVE IT!

It’s not all roses, of course. Some of the disappointments people noted were the poor quality of our roads (of all things), our health care system (no surprise), and our general lack of culture. Aside from some areas of Quebec, we apparantly seem to take little pride in creating beauty – in our architecture, our food, clothes,  lifestyle, etc.

I’m sure with the vast and varied foreign influences we welcome into the country, our culture will improve over time.  Adopting ethnic foods, clothing, art and even lifestyles cannot help but enrich our young country and give it dimension and beauty.

Just hearing from people who appreciate living in Canada so much already makes me see this country through different eyes.

America’s Just Not That Into Us

Um… hey, Americans?

Why aren’t you visiting Canada like you use to?  Sure, we know you’re having a little cash flow problem at the moment, but if you really, really liked us, you’d still want to find a way to spend time with us, wouldn’t you? We’re only a few miles away.  Texans drive further to the Piggly Wiggly every day than it would take for a New Yorker to come up for the weekend.

According to the people who keep track of this stuff, US to Canada tourism is at a 36-year low !

Why? What have we done?

Haven’t we always been nice? Haven’t we harboured your draft dodgers? Don’t we send you all our best comedians and hockey players and super-models? Didn’t we just spend over $3 million[1] to show your President a good time AND give him free cookies which everybody in the world now wants just because your President bought some? (Seriously, are people totally insane or is it just me?)

So, anyway did the President say anything about us when he got back?  What did he say? Does he like us? Did he say anything bad about us? He said something, didn’t he? What? What was it? He hates us, right?

We knew it. We know you all hate us, don’t you?  A 2007 study said that Americans think Canada is boring!

O.M.G.! Is there anything worse than being called boring?  A relationship can recover from a lot of things, but not boring.

We don’t stand a chance next to exciting, ultra chic New York with our dowdy little matronly Toronto. And how could we ever compete with hotsy-totsy Vegas?

No wonder you can’t stand being around us. We’ve only got Niagara Falls.  Sure it’s got all the kitchy trash of Vegas and a couple of casinos, but no showgirls, no quickie wedding chapels and no Wayne Newton.

 wayne20newton

We don’t blame you for preferring glitzy, glamorous LA or hot, steamy, sultry Florida over our southernmost place: Windsor, Ontario — the genital scab of the country, where the mullet is just now coming into fashion. And it’s not even warm there.

Oh! Is that it? Is it because we’re frigid? Frigid and boring? Is that what you’re saying about us? Is that why you’re staying away?

We are working on it, you know.  We’re all over this new global warming therapy, for instance. So, if it’s beachy you prefer…. well, we could get beachy, we really could.

And how can you call us boring when we’ve got Cirque du Soleil, “the hauntingly beautiful circus full of whimsy and wonder that nourishes the child within you?” Eh? How?

And you’re always saying how clean and pretty we are. Doesn’t that count for anything?

No?

Fine. Stay away. We still have the Japanese and Chinese and Germans and Dutch and those bloody Scots. We’ve got plenty going for us and they know it! And they appreciate us!

So we’ll be just peachy, thank you very much. Will you?

Because every time a frosty wind blows down from the north, you know you’ll think of us. And you know, even as the goosebumps rise on your forearms and your nipples stiffen in the chill breeze, you’ll suddenly be filled with an excruciatingly unbearable yearning for our beavertails. Oh yes you will. 

beaver-tail

 


[1] I know! THREE MILLION. I couldn’t believe it either. That’s just for security and policing. For 6 hours! It doesn’t include firefighters, paramedics, road closures and buses during the visit. Holy crap!