Opinion » Maxed Out

Running back to my Saskatoons


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"Time to get a gun, that's what I been thinkin'

I could afford one if I did just a little less drinkin'"

- Fred Eaglesmith

I haven't actually been thinkin' about getting a gun. Okay, that's not entirely true. I have been thinking about it, at least in terms of wishing one were handy. But even in the absence of the long-gun registration, I have no idea what would be involved in legally acquiring one. I'm pretty sure it would be enough to put me way more on the radar of assorted Canadian law enforcement bodies than I really want to be. And then there's the fact I have no idea where they even sell guns in Canada, unlike the U.S. where they sell them everywhere. The local Wal-Mart stocks a larger arsenal than the Canadian Forces.

Why, you might ask, do I want to get a gun? Well, this is a little embarrassing. While I wouldn't want to do anything to put my Canadian citizen in good standing status at risk, there are a couple of beavers I'd like to... to... you know, kill is an unseemly word and in my defense I'd like to say if I could just make them disappear that would be entirely satisfactory but barring sudden magical powers, kill will have to do.

Yes, I want to kill Canada's national emblem.

Now before you start sending me more hate mail than usual, let me remind you the beaver has only been Canada's national emblem since 1975. And even that honour was more an act of contrition — some would say a joke by Prime Minister Trudeau, whose mischievous grin bore a striking resemblance to a beaver — than a real honour. After all, it was Canadians and their predecessors who nearly hunted the rodent to extinction by the early part of the last century.

So why, you might also ask, do I want to kill beavers? Let me start by saying I don't want to kill all beavers. Not even kill beavers randomly. There is, however, a family of beavers with whom, well, it's become personal.

Strife has visited the usually placid waters of Sulphuric Lake. For years it was a beaver-free sanctuary. The last beavers on the lake were trapped out long before I arrived and for the past 10 summers life has been idyllic. Oh sure, there was the occasional rogue muskrat chewing the floatation out of my neighbour Chainsaw Al's dock but with the exception of gophers in the garden — caught humanely in a Havahart catch-and-release trap, don't ask about the release part — and deer munching on raspberry shoots, the local fauna and I enjoyed a live and let live relationship.


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