I was a military brat and so we traveled a lot as kids. For three years, my dad was stationed in Washington D.C. at the Canadian embassy. We lived in a suburb…Annindale, Virginia. I remember that I didn’t know the meaning of differences between countries or anything like that and so being in America didn’t make any rational distinction in my mind. Me and my twin brother went to grades one, two and three there, so basically, our first real learning was American. I remembered how these girls in my grade two class were trying to make sense of me coming from Canada and yet NOT living in an igloo! Stereo types have evolved more since then.
There is a tendency in our country to attempt to encourage some of the stereotypes that you guys so far mentioned. Unfortunately, it is an attempt to grab at some identity rather than nothing at all. Unlike you guys, most of us lack a nationalistic belief in our country. Our history and politics are quite embarrassing in my opinion and I am skeptical of a certain positive future for us politically and economically. We do a lot of contradictory things that appear like good things but are either bad or will eventually become bad. So the images that the rest of the world has of us is misleading and nobody, even our own people, aren’t paying attention. (We’ve all got our eyes focused on you as much as you do of yourselves.)
Here are some facts:
Although Canada acts as a representative democracy, in official legality, we are a Constitutional Monarchy. We Canadians are obligated to the orders of the royalty of England, at present, the Queen. Legally, if she wanted to, she can choose to block any law that we propose, for instance. You guys vote your president in to be not only a politician, but a personality that the royalty, or sovereign, represents. So you vote on him or her uniquely. We on the other hand, don’t actually vote for our leader directly. Instead, we vote for our regular legislative house as you would your regular house of representatives. Whichever party holds the majority or plurality of seats in the house, gets to allow their party president become the prime(first and foremost)minister [ministers are minors to the king or queen]. They do not get a separate vote on all laws like your president and are equal to every other minister. They just get to create a cabinet, as the president does, which then controls all the other federal government offices.
The history of us is based on England and France’s colonial failures to secure the prized lands of what is now America. For all intensive purposes, all Canada was originally was just an English post, called York (thus naming New York) in the colony of Ontario, and one or two in a French colony, called Quebec. Basically, they were entrance posts that first, the French, and then the English, settled going down the St. Lawrence in the search of the middle of the continent. The French continued through the continent to the Mississippi all the way down to New Orleans claiming land all the way through. Since the English were late, they colonized the coast even subordinating the Dutch that were already present in places like New York.
The wisdom of the Enlightenment hit us and the majority of settlers everywhere got sick of the controls of a distant monarchy limiting the successes of the American colonies and weakening them. Thus, The United States came to be. The loyalists to the British monarchy were either killed or had to run somewhere…but where? North, to Ontario, of course. Now you guys know that France was having their own political turmoils there and they admired the concept of Republicanism too. So they supported you. The traditional Catholic French colony of the Quebec posts were abandoned by their home country since they supported the old monarchical regime. Another disenfranchised group at the time were the native Indians whose lands were being claimed on them. The remnants of loyalists in Ontario negotiated with the French in Quebec to act as a unit, a ‘dominion’, that along with the local natives, enabled them to stave off the Americans from completed eliminating a place for them on the continent.
Thus Canada was formed, in my opinion, as a defensive agreement or union merely to save the asses of aristocratic, monarchical mindsets that were totally non-democratic, conservative, and religious. To this day, we are bound to agreements that these groups of people made in perpetuity to themselves without the concern of posterity.
We have a constitution that was only made officially in 1982 by the majority government in power that entrenched us a contractual obligation to uphold, maintain, and secure the original peoples at formation, gives consolation or pretense of freedoms to others, but then has a final clause that enables the government to cancel any of those rights for a term that can be continuously renewed! In other words, it’s useless.
We have something called, “Multiculturalism”. Be warned: this is a trademarked term and is meant to seem warm, fuzzy, and open-minded. And we are told that we all believe it! Having any controversy with it is tantamount to admitting that you’re a Nazi! And we, unlike you guys, can and do get charged by the government for speaking such opinions. Multiculturalism is sold rhetorically as and acceptance of ‘diversity’ of different cultures, religions, their views, and politics. It is actually a political means by which particular established pluralities that struggle with each other can at least maintain their status qua by giving sufficient select groups legal unique rights and laws that won’t interfere in their own, give themselves the same justification to move on, and alleviate the burdens of any of their own particular ancestral debts to the public at large.
Our geography isolates us severely in pockets. It’s like the Greek city-states of ancient times. They had different individual beliefs and ways of life because they were physically isolated by mountains that kept each more to themselves. We’re always growing more diverse as we continue to have an extremely open and high rate of immigration. Many people from other countries like the idea of coming to a country where they are allowed to restrict their communities and enable them to have their own cultural and religious laws respected. But we are divided east-to-west and our lesser populated areas get dominated in general areas where they are somewhat very inappropriate. For example, the historical and political concern to placate the French Quebec people resulted in creating the constitutional law that the whole country must be bilingual. But Quebec is one of the eastern-most provinces in Canada and represents hardly any sufficient numbers of people anywhere else in the country. In fact, besides English, French would be a minority among minorities of languages anywhere else. But because of this constitutional law, many government job positions anywhere in Canada require by law you to speak both languages—even if 0% of your province’s population speak it!
Oh yah, and I hate hockey!