CANADA DAY: CANADA’S ANNUAL ORGY OF DRUNKEN PATRIOTISM AND GUILTY PRIDE. YOU GOTTA LOVE IT
There are some things Canadians love above all others. We love our Timmies in the morning (or any caffeinated beverage for that matter, regardless of where it comes from), we love hockey at any and all levels and the Grey Cup. We love believing we’re humble and then bragging like it’s going out of style when a native of the Great White North makes it big abroad. We love to judge our American cousins to the south during their Black Friday insanity, pushing and shoving each other for half price toilet paper and then we lose our collective minds over half price DVDs come Boxing Day. And we love complaining. We love complaining about the weather (I am truly amazed by how many people seem to think they’re living in Bermuda come January, their Facebook statuses proclaiming that snow must portend the end of the civilized world), about our politicians, our TV and movies (“this is so bad it must be Canadian”), our money, our justice system, our military and on and on and bloody on. It seems our favourite thing to complain about though is, well, Canada. But we have 364 days a year to do that (and we do it quite well), but this is Canada Day, a day to remember that Canada isn’t just one of the best countries in the world, it is THE best, and in case you forget why in between your two-fours, well let me remind you (you may want to play the Canadian National Anthem in the background. Or a Molson commercial.).
We’ve been bombarded by a lot of political scandals over the past few years, but when you look around the world right now, man, we’ve got it good. The robocalls scandal is a clear and obvious attempt at voter suppression, but the architects of that particular political faux pas are rank amateurs compared to the strategists in America’s Republican party, who without shame or apology try to convince people not to vote or deny them the right to (if you can’t get enough people to vote for you, try to get people voting against you to stay home). And while we’ve seen our Senators play it fast and loose with their expense claims, playing pinanda with the Canadian taxpayer, the United States government lost nine billions dollars in Iraq. Give your head a shake and read that again if you need to. That’s nine billion greenbacks. Not wasted. Not squandered. Lost. It wasn’t even like losing a bet, like when your brother-in-law comes over after you’ve a had a few drinks and he brings a blank Pro-line form with him. Nope. They put it down and when they came back, it was gone. You could buy Toronto with that kind of coin (or pay for Rob Ford’s monthly crack supply).
And while it’s politically fashionable to pounce on Conservatives in Canada and paint them as bigots and fascists, have you seen the GOP in the United States lately? Take it from a guy who’s wasted many an hour debating American conservatives online, you can at least carry on an intelligent conversation with most Canadian conservatives, whereas their American counterparts are proudly represented by the likes of Sara Palin, Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann. These people are barely literate and running amok talking about “legitimate rapes” and marrying power tools. Alex Jones thinks homosexuals are chemically engineered by the same government that possesses a tornado making machine. Man, I wish I could make this stuff up. Marriage equality became a legally accepted fact in Canada years ago, but when the Supreme Court of the United States paved a similar way in the U.S. last week, a lot of people over fifty but with an IQ lower than sixty suffered from either an aneurysm or a severe bout of apocalyptic diarrhoea. This particular demographic, also known as Fox News audience, collectively prayed for Americas soul while scarfing down Chic-fil-A and cleaning the guns they need to keep the mailman from stealing their freedom. You want to see really scary Conservatives? Take a look at Greece and their growing Golden Dawn Party. They’re turning Olympus into OMG real fast, and they’re doing it with baseball bats and torch-light rallies that make Klu Klux Klan meetings look like Fourth of July picnics.
The Canadian Parliament has taken a heavy dose of criticism lately for its deteriorating civility, but I’ve lost count of the countries where politicians settle debates with fist fights. And while that may sound cool at first, does anyone really want to see Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair throw down? Really? Because you just know it’ll degenerate into a contest of slapsies and purple nurples, and nobody needs to see that. OK, maybe Alex Jones. And when you vote in a Canadian election, there’s at least a little bit of suspense who’s going to win. In Russia for instance, there ain’t much. I’ll give you a hint; it’s Vladimir Putin. In fact he’s already written his acceptance speech before the election is called. He could be dead, and he’s still going to be on the ballot. And win. Plus, Canada invented peacekeeping. That’s right, everyone else hides behind stuff and shoots at you, but not Canadians. Oh no, we stand out in the open between the people shooting at each other and. . .wait, on second thought forget this one, it might not be a good bragging point.
Hockey is our national passion, a sport that sees grown men (and increasingly women) streak down a sheet of ice a wearing knives on their feet. And sure, you may need to wear armour while playing but you can’t run out-of-bounds, you don’t have to have a shot clock to make it more exciting and when was the last time you saw a baseball player hit a winning home run with a broken leg? Or a broken anything for that matter? And speaking of injuries, do we really need to bring up professional soccer? The only guys I’ve seen take more dives are Olympic swim teams.
Captain Kirk may have said he was from Iowa, but we all know that deep down he was Canadian (and so was his toupee), and that guy scored with green aliens and holograms. Think about that next time you’re getting shot down at the bar on a Saturday night. We gave the world Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne and Nickelback; in return we ask the world one very considerable favour, please don’t give them back. We’ll beg if we have to. And the truth of the matter is, if you were born in Canada, you won the lottery right out of the womb. The simple fact is, in over two-thirds of the world today, there’s someone just itching for an excuse to maim, rape, kill or torture another human being based on their gender, skin colour, age, political affiliation, tribe, the deity you choose to worship, your grandfather’s tribe, your dog’s tribe or your favourite colour. In Canada, that only happens to Justin Bieber fans (as a Canadian I apologize to the rest of the world for inflicting the Biebs on you, yes, we do realize it was a violation of the Geneva convention and I hope you’ll forgive us, we were drunk). You can walk in and out of a Canadian hospital without fear of getting a bill in the mail that’ll give you another heart attack and Canadians can hold their alcohol almost as well as the Vatican hold its altar boys.
Canada isn’t perfect, not even in the same postal code, and we have plenty of skeletons in our closet. Our history, while often mistaken as boring, has plenty of bloodshed and suffering in it, and we’re not quite the polite, tolerant people we like the world to think we are. But we’re much better off than most of the rest of the world. So Happy Birthday Canada! Today is the day we celebrate everything you are, everything you could be, and everything you aren’t, the day we lift a drink (or seventeen) to appreciate how good we have it here. Because tomorrow, we’re going to be right back to bitching about you for the next twelve months, and why not, because as Canadians we’re Champs at Complaining. It’s just one more thing we’re the best at.
Shayne Kempton (secretly a Nickelback fan-shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone)