I’ve been asked; what exactly does it mean to be Canadian? Honestly, the best answer I and many of my compatriots can come up with is; Being Canadian means NOT being American. Yes, we are a wee bit touch on that subject. Kind of like calling an Irishman or Scotsman a Brit. We certainly don’t mean any disrespect by it, we just know that we are different, on many many levels.
Being Canadian is like a nebulous red and white cloud that circles us yet moves ever so carefully and politely through the nationalistic ether. It will, however, solidify into something as firm as the Rockies when the need arises. Mostly during sporting events. Especially those events that involve sharp steel blades, hooked wooden sticks and a hard rubber 3 inch diameter disc, that when hit correctly with said stick, travel upwards of 150kms/hr. Or something like that. We will, also, stand shoulder to shoulder in times of crisis. Take the latest situation; The fire in Fort Mac. We, although spread across a great geographical area, will come together for a common cause. We will reach down and offer our brother or sister a hand up. We will form the ladder of human decency that will allow them to climb from the pit of despair.
Our country was not born of violence. In fact, our countries civil war was a 30 minute bar room fight that end with both parties enjoying a drink after the fisticuffs died down. Okay, there was this matter of the Red River rebellion and yea, we do have some colourful characters throughout our history. But for the most part, we are a peace loving nation, we are the first to raise our hands to enter those war torn areas that need peace, well, we used to be anyway. It is with great hope that the current government will bring us back to that prominence. Mostly we are Mick Jagger at Altamont; “brothers and sisters just cool out man.” While our neighbours and many other countries are akin to the Hells Angels that beat up the naked guy.
We are a polite nation. so much so that we are teased. “How do you know if someone is
Canadian? if you step on their toe and THEY apologize.”
Do not, however, mistake our politeness and peace loving nature as weakness. We will, unite and when threatened or given the dangerous job, get that shit done. We will kick ass and not take names. Because there will be nobody left whose name would matter. We do not brag about this toughness, we do not wrap ourselves in the flag or seek glory and dominance on the world stage. In fact e find it quite pretentious, overbearing and obnoxious. We have an understated strength which comes from living in a very tough land (except maybe Vancouver). We will prove our mettle only when the need arises.
We are by no means perfect. We have made mistakes throughout or great history, and we have owned most of them. The most recent was the catastrophic failure of a former PM; Stephen Harper and his band of…we will let history judge him and his cronies. As I was saying, we are not perfect but then no country is. We are, however one of the happiest people, one of the most generous of peoples, one of the most welcoming, compassionate, understanding and compromising of societies. Consistently ranked as one of the greatest nations in which to live, love and get educated.
There real is no simple way to describe what it means to be Canadian. We have, for
generations, tried to find that elusive identity. Perhaps we are better off being, and I say
this with pride, indescribable! I am proud to be a Canadian and I long for the day when travelers once again put our flag on their backpacks whether they live here or not.
Want to learn more about our colourful history and some of our national characters?
Bastards and Boneheads is a great start. There are many many other great reads out there. But if you want to know what it really is like, come visit, talk with us. We will be more than happy to take time from our very Canuckian day and explain the unexplainable, over a Tim’s or a beer. And, my friends, you may have noticed that not once did I use our national euphemism, EH!