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Maxed out

Canadians are what we are not

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Sometime between now and the next time Pique comes out, it will be Canada Day. One of the uncomfortable things about writing for a weekly publication is you have to think… ahead. For example, it’s okay to write about something that won’t happen for another four, five or even six days but it’s not okay to write about something that happened the day before. At least not holidaywise. And Canada Day is a holiday; make no mistake about that. Most of the rest of the country and all the muni workers, except the really important ones, have the day off, which is more or less the definition of a holiday.

Canada Day is the day Canadians celebrate their Canadianess. From coast to coast to coast, Canadians rise and greet the day with affirmations such as, “Great to be Canadian, eh?” Or, “Umm, love the smell of back bacon in the morning, eh?” Or, “Where’s my damn EI cheque, eh?”

Except in Toronto where, like most of Whistler, people just get up and go to work. It’s not that they have tourists to look after in Toronto, which is the reason most of the workerbees in Whistler get up and go to work, tourists being a lot like babies, needing constant feeding and attention lest they break out in uncontrolled fits of pique. Torontonians just like getting up and going to work. It’s one of many reasons I left there.

Canada Day, ironically, comes just three days before America Day, a/k/a Independence Day, the Fourth of July. Ironic because America came first, countrywise. With the exception of Texas and the big, western states — generously donated by Mexico — the USA pretty much looked like itself shortly after the carpetbaggers got done rebuilding Atlanta after the country was forged from the fiery cauldron of the War Between the States, a/k/a The Civil War, a misnomer if ever there was one... well, maybe not considering they call all those government workers Civil Servants. There must be a language joke in there somewhere.

Canada, on the other hand, existing as a loose confederation of Have and Have-Not provinces, was busy trying to convince Joey Smallwood to join the “Great Experiment” back in 1861 when the U.S. Civil War came to a close and the slaves who hadn’t escaped to Canada were “freed” to become fully-integrated members of society known affectionately as “ex-slaves” or, alternatively, “undesirable elements.” Canada needed Newfoundland for both cod and to fill much the same societal role, making even the existing Have-Not provinces feel good about themselves in much the same way ex-slaves made inbred southern crackers feel superior.

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