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Last updated on 8 June 2008

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Thursday, July 1st, 2004

And what’s more Canadian than Arthur Black, eh?

“Now let’s not get excited…” Canada’s slogan, according to Molly Ivans…

I’m home and celebrating Canada Day! It’s great to be Canadian, eh? So why is that…why are Canadians all over the country breaking out the red and white and actually being patriotic for a big 24 hours? It’s weird because we’re not usually a patriotic bunch. We are Canadian and we are pleased about it, but it’s almost as if we are afraid to share our love of country with others. But the last few years have seen a serious change in the way we think.

Jean Chretien, our last prime minister, grew a back bone during the last year of his rule, probably because he was retiring and didn’t have to worry about courting favour from the rest of the world. So he made a few changes…We didn’t enter the Iraq war, gay marriages became okay, there was talk about legalizing marijuana for personal use… all of these made us realize that we lived in a distinct country, that we weren’t just Americans with more snow, more bears, and fewer guns.

The big thing when I took Canadian Studies in university was “what is a Canadian” and we could never come up with an answer. All of the responses were generally “We’re not…” fill in the blank there. We defined ourselves as what we were not, as opposed to what we were. And now we are finally able to make some kind of statement about what being Canadian means…believing in universal health care, respecting diversity, and putting “eh” at the end of questions. Okay, so we’re still not sure what we are, but at least we are getting there.

See now as a Canadian I can see that this last paragraph might offend some people and I feel like I have to apologize to those who might not appreciate what I am saying. I think that’s the other thing about us…we worry about being offensive all the time. Praising my own country is not slagging yours, and I hope that you appreciate that, gentle reader, because I’m sure you live in a great country too about which you are proud. Okay, let’s just settle this…sorry if I’ve offended you. Sorry, sorry, didn’t mean to bother, I’ll take it all back if you like…I am indeed a Canadian today.

Top Ways Canadians plan to celebrate Canada Day

  1. Fireworks — only if they aren’t too loud or if you’re in Vancouver, you don’t get any at all because the police seem to think a gathering of more than three people equals a riot
  2. Eating back bacon, drinking Molson’s, and wearing toques — okay, these are stereotypes and aren’t, in fact, typical Canadian behaviours. Now where’s that bacon sarnie?
  3. Apologizing, saying “excuse me,” and “pardon me” — hey, it’s not a bad thing to be known as being polite
  4. Not tipping well in restaurants — apparently we’re notorious for it.
  5. Enjoying pancake breakfasts served by RCMP officers in Red Serge uniforms — or is that just what I have planned
  6. Thanking each other — we like to respond to “thank you” with “thank you” not “you’re welcome” or the ever popular “no problem” which drives me insane!
  7. Calling things by weird names…Chesterfield (sofa), Duo-Tangs (those foldery things you use in school to hold a few papers together), and holidays (vacations.)

So celebrate Canada Day and rejoice in being a citizen of the second largest country in the world. Enjoy being part of the cultural fruit-cake we call the Great White North (hey, we’re a mosaic of cultural influences, but we aren’t a melting pot…) and have a great day!!!

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