“Most of you are probably planning to get wasted off your face (or take drugs) and watch fireworks to celebrate tomorrow’s midsummer stat holiday. But to really amp up the patriotic fervour, there’s really no better way to celebrate our great nation than some neurotic hand-wringing about what it means to be Canadian. Navel-gazing made this country great, and don’t you forget it.
Thankfully, just in time for your day off, Historica Canada commissioned an Ipsos-Reid poll to see how some classic Canadian clichés hold up in the harsh light of social science. These folks are the descendants of the organization whose Heritage Minutes convinced an entire generation of Canadian children that smelling burnt toast meant they were about to have a brain seizure, so you know that they’re legit.
They surveyed just over 1,000 people online and weighted the results by age, region, gender, income, education, and family size to make it as representative as possible. Most of what they found was about what you’d expect.
It turns out that almost 60 percent of Canadians are pretty big on hockey, and a full 18 percent believe it’s the greatest sport on earth. We can only assume that the 13 percent who said they’re “sick to death of hearing about it all the time” work for ISIS (and will be soon featured in a Conservative attack ad targeting Justin Trudeau) and have already been removed by the Mounties to an undocumented black site. Even the Soviets had the decency to enjoy hockey.
About 65 percent of people have seen Canada’s mascot—the noble beaver—in the wild, and more than half have also seen either a moose, a loon, or a bear somewhere in the great outdoors. However, people in Atlantic Canada or the West were slightly more likely to have gone outside (likely for nature in the West, or getting fucked up in the East). Those pulling in upwards of six-figure incomes were also marginally more likely than us plebs to have either seen one of our fine national animals in their natural habitat, or gone canoeing (88 percent) or dogsledding (16 percent). Indulging yourself in rustic Canadian authenticity takes a lot of money, I guess.
Speaking of national symbols, other surveys have shown that Tim Hortons is neck-and-neck with the Monarchy as a venerable Canadian institution. But I guess the pollsters figured that asking anyone what they thought about the great (mostly US-owned) Canadian doughnut shoppe this year risked triggering a flurry of racist threats on Twitter.
Celine Dion (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) was the artist 38 percent of those surveyed were proudest to call Canadian, and it spiked to 63 percent in la belle province. It’s tempting to read the fact that only six percent wanted to give the throne to Drizzy as a another damning indictment of the country’s whiteness, although then again, they didn’t ask about Rush at all, so maybe it’s just bad polling. I mean, how in the fuck you run a respectable survey about the Most Canadian Musicians without bringing up Geddy, Neil, and Alex is totally beyond me. Lord tunderin Jesus, indeed.
Close to 30 percent of people nationwide aren’t planning on doing anything to mark Canada Day, although this goes up to 49 percent in Quebec. Vive les patriotes!, and Moving Day and all that. Only 14 percent of East Coasters plan to skip the day’s festivities—proper thing given there’s shit all to do and the Holy Canadian Trinity (The Tragically Hip, Our Lady Peace, and City and Colour) are usually in town for the region’s One Big Show for the Year. Even in Newfoundand and Labrador, where we spend the morning in sombre reflection on the grotesquerie of war and the tragic folly of Man, we still manage to get the barbecues and beers going by the early afternoon. It may be less a celebration of Confederation’s birthday than giving the Rock’s lost generation an eternal Irish wake, but hey: a party’s a party.
A full 81 percent of Canadians have “eh” as part of their regular linguistic rotation, although only about a quarter drop it in everyday conversation. Half of us only blurt it out occasionally, and another six percent only use it when they want to play themselves up as a hyper-hoser dancing bear for Americans. This is actually the only question in the survey that even comes close to broaching the subject of anti-Americanism, which is weird, because kneejerk hate for the USA is actually the most defining feature of Canadian identity. Aside from constantly over-analyzing Canadian identity, anyway. Sorry.
Confederation was built on “not being American.” The Revolution in 1776 was a civil war and the British loyalists who carved a country out of northern North America never got over the loss. We chafe at these kitschy stereotypes of Canada as a nation of poutine-munching liberal lumberjacks, even while we wrap ourselves up in them. One of the highest watermarks in patriotism during the past 20 years was the Joe Canadian commercial, and that was just a dude disputing the same tropes Historica polled for in an effort to one-up the States. We need to neurotically preen ourselves for Uncle Sam because otherwise we have to get down to the brass tacks of working out exactly what this country stands for. Stuff like rectifying the fact that the country was built on genocide and stolen land, figuring out how the fuck we’re supposed to get along with Quebec, assembling a society that actually welcomes refugees and immigrants instead of cutting them adrift, or settling the cultural Cold War that’s been simmering between Calgary and Toronto for the last 60 years. You know, the fun stuff.”
What a lame country. When you hear “Canada” it always comes back to: hockey, beavers, maple syrup, being “nice”, not being American, and maybe Natives and the French (oh and throw in the Queen).
It just doesn’t get more lame. A country whose citizens pay more per capita for the upkeep of the royal family than the British do. The Queen doesn’t even live in Canada and she’s not unique to it (see: commonwealth). At least the Queen lives in England and Britain has a rich history of monarchy.
Beavers, maple syrup … really? A whole country’s identity is based on that? As for being “nice” – the only ones who say that are Canadians themselves! Hockey … a game Canadian teams can’t even win at. It’s always Americans taking home the Stanley cup, although I’ll concede the Canadian Olympic teams occasionally win gold.
Then there are the Natives … most Canadians consider them a nuisance or are outright disdainful; racism is rampant. The only time they come in handy is when we need some “culture” to feed the press or tourists from abroad. Many Natives live in third-world conditions. Canadians like to brag about their superiority over Americans when genocide was practiced against Natives here also, but is glossed over and white-washed even more than ‘American history’.
The Quebecois: the bastard child of England and France: not truly French, not ‘truly Canadian’, attempting to live in self-imposed exile and holding the entire country hostage (via referendum/separation threats), while forcing their language on the 90% English-country to the cost of BILLIONS per year.
Canada … not quite British, not quite French; decimated the Natives. No real culture to call its own minus a sad little coffee chain, production of maple syrup, and slavishly following ‘hackey’. Bitterly jealous of its brother down south who has sent man to the moon, created the internet, created an unparalleled republic and is known the world over. To make up for its lack of culture or interesting people, it calls itself superior to other countries because the people are “nicer”, “less racist”, and so on – none of which is true.
Possibly the only redeeming factor is that the country has natural beauty, which is no different from down south (USA) or Russia; most of it is a cold north (forcing nearly the entire population of the country to live along the American border). Only a developed nation thanks to the wealth and protection of the USA!
Canada or .. as should be better known: CA-NADA!