Canadian-ness [was Re: American-ness ]

Gary Lawrence Murphy garym@canada.com
28 Mar 2002 13:40:01 -0500


>>>>> "O" == Owen Byrne <owen@permafrost.net> writes:

    O> Gary says:
    >> will favour Graham Townsend over Pete Townsend (or even Geddy
    >> Lee).  Thus my 2/3rds figure.

    O> Who's Graham Townsend? 

Who /was/ actually, and thus it's clear to see in which 1/3rd you sit ;)

Go ask your mom. (or Google)

Ashley McIsaac indeed :P

    O> I bet the Dominion Tavern probably had bigger attendance for
    O> the Super Bowl than the Grey Cup.

I'll bet your local hip-dude 3l33t Americana Cafe has even more than
both for the Stanley Cup.

    O> ... I can go to the trendiest club in Halifax ... and the
    O> bouncer will politely inform me of the dress code and refuse me

I said Toronto.  Halifax is well known for it's intolerance,
especially of the Maroons.

Then again, maybe it's only me they tolerate in TO.

    O> I spent four years at U of Manitoba - and I don't remember any
    O> reference to anything Scottish

Ah the ivory towers.  Try going into any bank or insurance tower at
"Por-tedge" and Main and check the office listing for the most senior
names.  Count the Mc's and Mac's.

    O> ... Most people seemed to be of Scandinavian background

Check statscan.  Most are British Isles (still), then Ukrainian, then
German, then French, then Scandinavian.

   For those tolerating this thread who don't know, Louis Riel was the
   first revolutionary hero of democracy in Canada; he led the 1869
   rebellion against the draconian Scottish/English rule, and
   established a democratic government which subsequently tried and
   executed the British commander for war crimes against the Metis.

   As a result, Riel had the distinction of being our first duly and
   democratically elected member of Parliament who could not take his
   seat because, to enter Ontario, he would face trumped up treason
   charges, a kangaroo court and a hangman.

   They did catch and hang Riel, and just last year, or perhaps the
   year before, Ontario and the Government of Canada formally
   apologized for this error in their judgement and now allow his name
   appear in the Ontario-authored textbooks.

   Since Manitoba did not produce its own school textbooks, I too
   never heard of Riel until our high school drama club decided to
   present a play based on the trial.  The only other reference was a
   twisted statue erected by the Manitoba Legislature, enclosed by a
   concrete cylinder so it "could not be seen" ... presumably because
   the memory of the loss of their absolute power over the settlers
   and Metis still troubled the dominant proportion of the upper
   crust (if the common man did know Riel, as Owen suggests, then
   why would they care about the statue?)

    O> a lot of people there really wish they were Cape Cod 

so why then, when times are tough, do they move to Toronto instead of
Cape Cod?

    O> I'm living in Nova Scotia now and I have talked to people who
    O> given the requirement of leaving the region to find work,
    O> preferred Boston to alternative locations like Toronto,
    O> Alberta, etc, because it felt the most like home - 

Again, check statscan.  The figures don't support your observation. Or
do they just talk like this, but when push comes to shove, they choose
Toronto?

    O> it may just be proximity though.

That's believable. Family ties seem exceptionally strong in the
Maritimes; at least that's my outsider observation.  In Muskadobit
Harbour, my friends had not been there two weeks before their
neighbours knew everything about them and had coaxed them into church.
They said the community pressure was very clear about this.

    O> ... I do think that Canadians struggle for an identity
    O> other than the rural, Canadian Tire, shinny-on-the pond images
    O> of our past and the current "inoffensive Americans" image we
    O> adopt abroad.

I think the poor unarmed-american-wannabees struggle. The rest of us,
which I still maintain is the most of us, think such talk is silly and
go back to work.  We don't join the national town hall debates because
we all know you'll all understand by and by.  Be wary of media surveys
because they are highly self-selecting.

Here's a quiz: Why does Quebec get special status for it's language,
schools, culture and legal system? (Hint: We repelled the Invaders
thrice)

Here's an exercise: Walk in to your nearest retirement home, Rotary
Club or even a Legion Hall (except 360 Queen in Toronto) and ask
anyone in the lounge if they struggle with their Canadian identity.
See if they laugh at you.

-- 
Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@teledyn.com> TeleDynamics Communications Inc
Business Innovations Through Open Source Systems: http://www.teledyn.com
"Computers are useless.  They can only give you answers."(Pablo Picasso)