Tuesday, February 26, 2008


An Australian Definition of a Canadian - Written by an Australian Dentist
(This was sent to me by my cousin, and whether it is written by a Aussie, or anybody else, the sentiment is still the same.)

You probably missed it in the local news, but there was a report that someone in Pakistan had advertised in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian - any Canadian. An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one. A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan. A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians. A Canadian's religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God. A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each person to the pursuit of happiness. A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds. But they also welcome the least - the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected. These are the people who built Canada. You can try to kill a Canadian if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world have tried but in doing so you could just be killing a relative or a neighbor. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian. Please keep this going! Pass this around the World. Then pass it around again. It says it all, for all of us

'Keep your stick on the ice'


Misko Dub said...

That is one smart dentist. You have a very nice blog with lots of humor and creative work. I went to Prague, but I did not go to Canada and from what it sounds like, Canada has a lot of great people. Great blog.

taxitalk said...

stand up and lets sing o canada
man Albertans are thinking of becoming their own sovereign nation they want to make all the rich oil guys richer without involving the rest of canada
canadians are a lot like the americans except.....I don't know, oh yeah for pray for american cash making a select few of us rich (the politicians)
sorry felt like fighting on the ass end of canada

STAG said...

taxitalk, you are one of a kind, and somehow we gotta get more of you!

misko, those are very kind words. I just blog about what ever comes into my head that day....so it IS a little eclectic.

Seeker said...

Seeing many US attitudes, traditions, and habits through the eyes of my Canadian friends has had a very positive effect on me through the years, though I resisted it vehemently at first.

STAG said...

The largest ethnic group to enter Canada has been Americans. Usually solid level headed Americans who did not care for wild cowboy governments who believed in Manifest Destiny and continual warfare, prefering the tried and proven status quo of Empire. No Canadian would have said "Walk softly and carry a big stick", a Canadian would have said "lets talk this through."

It was Mike Pearson who created the term "peacekeeper", and we defused the Suez Crisis, turned Japan and Germany from defeated countries into powerhouses of culture which are the envy of the world, and made the United Nations less of a joke than its predessor, the League of Nations. Canadians work behind the scenes a lot more than the world realizes, usually to the detriment of tyrants, and the good of the people. We supervised elections in the Ukraine for instance, and because we did so, the unrest was quelled.

Though we Canadians may joke about Americans the way we joke about our older brothers, Canadians have more in common with the best parts of what makes up the United States AND with the British Empire. We have taken the best, and mostly, we have left the rest. The fact remains that Canada was founded during a time of enlightenment unmatched before or since, and at a time when the British Empire was only just beginning to become corrupt and autocratic.

I think the most telling thing about Canadian foreign policy is that we bring machines for purifying water into war zones instead of bringing platoons of tech warriors.

Not to get complacent though. We have plenty of problems of our own. However, we generally solve them by sitting the people down and saying, "Lets Talk".

Seeker said...

Well said! Next week, I'll see some of my Canadian friends at an international convention. I'll see them again in April - though I'll have more time with them then. I'm going to think long an hard about your post and discuss it with them. Thanks!

Seeker said...

Stag, a lot of Americans grow up with the mindset that peace-loving folks like Canadians can only enjoy that peace because a superpower like the USA keeps the bad guys at bay. All criticism from Canadians or Mexicans is interpreted as stemming from jealousy or intimidation.

How would you address that?

STAG said...

I guess I would point to our record. Through world war after world war, Korea, and Kuwait, Canada has always stepped up to the plate, doing dirty job after dirty job, leaving thousands of grave stones scattered from Normandy, through the Breskens Pocket, around the Scheldt River, and up through Holland to Nigmegen. I don't think the average Netherlander, Frenchman or German considers Canada "peace loving", even though obviously Hollywood has ignored the whole thing.
At the present moment, Canada is "peacekeeping" more or less successfully in 41 separate countries, most of whom we have been invited into, including Afganistan, Ivory Coast, South West Africa, Morocco and we were front and centre in the natural disasters such as the tsunami in Malaysia. Of course we deal with politicians and bean counters who are always asking our soldiers "well what have you done lately?" and they continually cut our military budgets because they don't see the splashy CNN headline news of what we accomplish.
There can be no peace without security, and to that end we have a full brigade of main battle tanks (Leopard IIs, no less) fighting El Quaida and the Taliban in Afganistan. We are increasingly uncomfortable in this role though....prefering to build schools and hand out pencils to kids instead of shooting their parents, but our hands are increasingly becoming bloody purely as a result of our presence. But we do what we have to do. Only a tiny fraction of our troops have come home in body bags, but that is more to do with the skill of our men and women than with any let up in the pressure from radical elements.
I hate playing the statistics game...each man lost is tremendously important, and it should be zero. However, for arguements sake,the US with ten time Canada's population and 40 times the number of troops on the ground has been losing one man a day in Iraq since the invasion. We have been losing more than one soldier per month (actually 1.3)since 2002, equivalent in social impact to losing twelve per month in the States. That is not so far removed from the US losses as all that, and clearly shows that Canada is perfectly willing to do our part for global security.

So I think Canada has earned the right to speak up at the table of international affairs. Maybe not everything we have to say is to everybody's liking, but we HAVE earned the right to say it. And, generally speaking, there is very little critism of Americans or their foreign policy. When some yahoo stands up on his hind legs and mouths off about the "damned Americans" he is pretty much on his own. Sometimes it is helpfull to see issues from the outside...without political partisanship. My US friends are often amazed at how different the "news" is here than at home. Not necessarily better, just different. And recognizing differences can result in reconcilliation on many fronts.

The spokesman for the NATO organization in Europe was selected because he was bilingual French and English (James Appathurai) was found acceptable by the Americans because he was NOT European, and was found acceptable to the Europeans because he was NOT American.

Thus there is a beginning...

Seeker said...

Nicely done, Stag. Canadians are still a paradox to most Americans in many ways.

I was intrigued by the statistics from Canada cited in "Bowling for Columbine." Have you seen it?

STAG said...

Well, that WAS Michael Moore, whose premise seems to be that the US was being manipulated by the use of fear. Whether it is fear of the Black Guy, the Mexican guy, the Chinese guy, fear of the rapist, fear of the secular world (don't go to that public school, the boys will pull your panties down, if I may quote you here) fear of having B.O, or fear that your family might have to figure out how to afford your funeral, there is always somebody with
an agenda which seems to be perfectly prepared to use that fear to obtain "something".
It didn't used to be that way...I have a large collection of "Life" magazines from the 'sixties which show a world which is NOT manipulated by "faux news".
Michael Moore grew up in Flint Michigan, listening to Canadian News, and was always amazed at the difference, right down to the nitty gritty levels of social strata. In Detroit, the kids play craps, in Canada, they play Bingo. I have traveled a lot in the US, and of course, listen to US news a lot, and I am still struck by the "if it bleeds it leads" attitude of the US media. So in those respects, I tend to agree with Mr. Moore, and am very certain that it would not take much media adjustment here in Canada to cause us to feel insecure.
The recipe of course is to travel, see other points of view, be open to other ways of doing things.
The Canadian Culture is not quite as Mr. Moore would have you believe it to be. Not quite as safe, not quite as lazaiz faire. In Canada we have a "cultural mosaic", in the US, you have a "melting pot". You have probably noticed the rich diversity of culture in Texas with the proliferation of Spanish speaking cultures, native cultures, and European cultures, and you have to admit that when they get along, they are really great!
But you will have also noted the difficulties which abound in non assimilated cultures. This leads to a continual ghetto-ization of our native americans, French Canadians, and visible minorities; the need for a more firm hand in government all around, and cliques which tend to fight for political and economic advantage. Canada has this in spades! It results in us being more small "s" socialist than the US, less entrepreneurial, less innovative, and generally more pessimistic than Americans. It also results in Canadians having a totally unwarranted smugness which I find deplorable.
Bottom line....Canada and the US are more alike than Mr. Moore would have you believe.

Seeker said...

Well, the "Canadian" friend from BC I hung out with this weekend turned out to be South African! We wound up discussing Blood Diamond and Last King of Scottland instead of Canada/US relations. It was still interesting!

Cerulean Bill said...

I knew there was something I liked about Canada!

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Middle Child said...

Trust a fellow Australian to get it right - are you sure the dentist wasn't describing us and just substituted the word Canadian instead of Australian?