“I fear that I have not got much to say about Canada,” Henry David Thoreau said. “What I got by going to Canada was a cold.”
But like so many Americans who ask, “Do they speak American up there?” Mr. Thoreau likely didn’t bother to do his homework before heading into the Great White North.
Canadians know more about the United States than Americans know about Canada. It is from this basic premise that we Canadians perceive ourselves to be better than, and morally superior to the United States.
Our universal health care, well-paved roads, subsidized university tuition, overall social conscience and tolerance allow us a smugness that rivals the wealthiest Mainliner.
Indeed, Canada is better than the United States for several reasons.
We are more astute and educated than our Southern neighbours. If you doubt this, simply note the spelling used in this article–we choose to spell “neighbour” with a “u” because it makes us feel more intelligent.
Surely, the way to become more intelligent is to begin by doing things that make you feel smart, and we Canucks have the market cornered on pinky up tea-drinking and CBC listening (that’s Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for all you Yanks).
If you think socially conscious Americans are into National Public Radio, try asking a Canadian about the CBC–you’d better be prepared for a half hour lecture on the virtues of public accountability and good government.
Canadians are simply more cultured than Americans. Just look at the way we handle your frequent bullying of us.
A few years ago, Jonah Goldberg of the National Review wrote an article entitled, “Bomb Canada,” encouraging the US to smack “Soviet Canuckistan” out of its socialist abyss and into the age of individualistic American values.
But when a Canuck is pushed around by an American, we retaliate by writing masses of letters to the editorial staff of The Globe and Mail, our national newspaper.
We protest via the power of the pen and the milieu of the mind. We don’t descend into an archaic din of physical force.
If you threaten a Canuck, you can be sure to receive a tongue lashing rather than a pistol whipping.
One might go so far as to say Canadians are lovers, not fighters. The proof is in our laws, which embrace all people, regardless of colour (notice the “u”), race or sexual preference.
In 2003, Ontario (Canada’s most populated province) declared gay marriage legal. Homosexuals from across the continent began flocking to Ontario city halls for state-endorsed marriages. In the months that followed, several other provinces (what you here call “states”) endorsed and legalized gay marriage.
What did the 60% of the population who didn’t endorse the new law do in response? We all shrugged our shoulders and embraced the plurality that enriches our culture.
Similarly, the legalization of marijuana has been publicly endorsed and politically embraced. Ross Regbliati, a British Columbian (yet another Canadian province), won the gold medal in snowboarding a few winter Olympics ago, only to have his medal yanked for testing positive to marijuana.
Once the Olympic committee resigned itself to the fact that toking and riding the slopes are synonymous, Regbliati was re-awarded his medal. He became a national hero, landing endorsement deals aplenty. The lesson, of course, is that Canadians are accepting, tolerant people.
We’re gay-friendly, peace-loving (or at least anti-warring), gun control-embracing, beer-drinking and hockey-watching folk. We’re an enlightened intellectual hybrid of cross-cultural richness.
If you’re sold, perhaps one day you can join the thousands who have fled the individualistic, ruthlessly capitalistic USA for the wintry shores of pluralistic Canada.
Terence Hassanally is a graduate student in urban economic development