Canada As An Example To Us All?
June 3, 2003 11:17 AM   Subscribe

The Leading Light In Not Only Doughnuts: Canada! I don't know if any of you have noticed but Canada is becoming fiercely fashionable in the rest of the world, perhaps as a model of an American-European fusion that everyone else can live with. Paul Robinson's list of Canada's virtues is impressive and difficult to dispute. Perhaps the lil' ol' U.S. are lagging dangerously behind in the general rush to jump on the Canadian bandwagon? And yet... And yet... What is it about Canada or, more to the point, about the dismissive attitude of that great country's neighbours?
posted by MiguelCardoso (128 comments total)
 
What is it about Canada

The girls, the buttocks. . .
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:24 AM on June 3, 2003


Canada is the best, and I am proud to call it home.
posted by debralee at 11:26 AM on June 3, 2003


"Canada is like a loft apartment over a great party." - Robin Williams
posted by Spacelegoman at 11:27 AM on June 3, 2003


Canada's a stunning example of freedom, combining the best parts of how things used to be in America with how they still are in Scandinavia as far as civil liberties go. The one downside is that their socialized medicine program is nowhere near as good as the socialized medicine program of Scandinavia. I plan to make a crack at moving there and obtaining citizenship myself (and promptly drop my American one) sometime within the next five years.
posted by Ryvar at 11:29 AM on June 3, 2003


The irony here: the piece is published in the Spectator, whose proprietor Conrad Black disclaimed his Canadian nationality last year in order to take his seat in the House of Lords. (It's pretty cheeky of Robinson to poke fun at Mark Steyn, too, because the execrable Steyn is one of Black's indentured hacks.)

Me, I like the Canadian expats I meet. Why they choose to live in Britain, though, I'm not quite sure.
posted by riviera at 11:30 AM on June 3, 2003


Sorry.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 11:33 AM on June 3, 2003


Canada did not burn the White House (f/k/a "Executive Mansion"). For the author and others ignorant of that piece of history, it was of course the British, led by Sir George Cockburn.

Not that I have anything against Canada, of course...
posted by norm at 11:33 AM on June 3, 2003


Number of Krispy Kreme stores worldwide - 288.
Number in Canada - 5.

Your witness.
posted by yhbc at 11:41 AM on June 3, 2003


I recently spent some time in Toronto. For the average vistor, I didn't notice much difference from the urban U.S. One interesting note, however: Starbucks isn't the biggest coffee chain. Instead, trendy coffee addicts migrate to the numerous Tim Horton's for a fix. They even have them inside fast food restaurants.

The public transport system (subway/bus) was pretty convienient as well.
posted by jsonic at 11:41 AM on June 3, 2003


Canada should join the EU.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:44 AM on June 3, 2003


Another interesting Canadian sighting: The golden arches of McDonald's in Canada have a red maple leaf in the center.
posted by jsonic at 11:45 AM on June 3, 2003


As great as I know this country is, articles like this do tend to gloss over some pretty glaring problems. Treatment of aboriginal groups, child poverty....it seems a lot of people consider Canada free of the problems you see in the US. Just isn't the case.

Interesting, I always thought we burned the White House. Better that it was the British, as far as I'm concerned. Burning down someone's house just seems so impolite.
posted by Salmonberry at 11:47 AM on June 3, 2003


"What is a Canadian? A Canadian is a fellow wearing English tweeds, a Hong Kong shirt and Spanish shoes, who sips Brazilian coffee sweetened with Philippine sugar from a Bavarian cup while nibbling Swiss cheese, sitting at a Danish desk over a Persian rug, after coming home in a German car from an Italian movie... and then writes his Member of Parliament with a Japanese ballpoint pen on French paper, demanding that he do something about foreigners taking away our Canadian jobs."
--Anonymous
posted by debralee at 11:47 AM on June 3, 2003


We suck. Continue ignoring us, please.
posted by larry_darrell at 11:48 AM on June 3, 2003


Hey Miguel, care to share some evidence that Canada's becoming "fiercely fashionable"? 'Cause, honestly, I feel about as fashionable up here as a pair of old loafers. You know, not something you brag about, nothing anyone else really wants, but comfortable nonetheless.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:54 AM on June 3, 2003


A lot of money spent on nice social programs in Canada is money not spent on the Canadian military. Canada, like so many countries, depend on the United States military for defense.

So in a sense, the American taxpayers allow Canada to be more liberal, thereby more appealing to some.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:01 PM on June 3, 2003


Hey, c'mon. The Spectator is at the forefront of the Brit fashion & style mags.

Now, who else likes breathing air..?
posted by i_cola at 12:09 PM on June 3, 2003


Number of Krispy Kreme stores worldwide - 288.
Number in Canada - 5.

Your witness.


Percentage of US population overweight/obese: 62.
Percentage of Canadian population overweight/obese: 48.

The defense rests.
posted by The Michael The at 12:11 PM on June 3, 2003


Canada's still deluding itself that it's not an american state. It really is, we just didn't bother adding a star to the flag for them. (Just like we let them keep their monopoly money that's worth about as much as monopoly money.)

And the windsor casino has really gone to hell. 6-5 odds on Jacks or Better video poker? Are canadians really stupid enough to play that?
posted by piper28 at 12:19 PM on June 3, 2003


As great as I know this country is, articles like this do tend to gloss over some pretty glaring problems. Treatment of aboriginal groups, child poverty....it seems a lot of people consider Canada free of the problems you see in the US. Just isn't the case.

Oh no, we're not problem free. But no country is, and the point is, our problems are much less serious and pervasive than that of most other countries. That's why the U.N. keeps saying Canada is the best country in the world to live in. Oh, and as for our treatment of aboriginal groups - the First Nation Canadians get WAY more money spent on them per head than the other Canadians. They don't have to pay tuition for college or university, for example. So it's not like we're being mean - more like we need to rethink our strategies and methods.

Canada is a beautiful country and a great place to live.

And Mark Steyn needs to take his head out of his ass.
posted by orange swan at 12:22 PM on June 3, 2003


Jesse Helms: yeah, but what you guys have is a lot more refined in general than what we have, more equivalent to our Army Rangers or Marines than our general infantry (aka employment for the otherwise unemployable). Not as well-equipped, of course (heh), but better trained. The current standing record for longest range confirmed kill (2500-odd meters with a .50cal rifle) is held by a Canadian sniper.

Typically the Canadian armed services make out very well indeed at the various international special forces competitions.
posted by Ryvar at 12:24 PM on June 3, 2003


Speaking as a Canadian who is moving to France/Switzerland for a couple of years (missionary work related), I'm going to miss the heck out of Canada. Sure, we may be America Jr., but we like it that way.
[irrelevant trivia]Did you know Canada had the 4th largest navy in the world at the end of WWII? [/irrelevant trivia]
Funny how a recent issue of TIME (canada) was entirely devoted to Canada losing its identity and "street cred" amongst other nations; apparently they were totally off, they should hire Miguel.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:29 PM on June 3, 2003


Canada's still deluding itself that it's not an american state. It really is, we just didn't bother adding a star to the flag for them. (Just like we let them keep their monopoly money that's worth about as much as monopoly money.)

Piper28, I suspect that you're one of the 52% of Americans who think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.
So there's really no use in trying to present you with any facts or cogent thinking - it's like trying to explain poetry to someone who's pre-verbal.

And the windsor casino has really gone to hell. 6-5 odds on Jacks or Better video poker? Are canadians really stupid enough to play that?

No piper28, those odds were specially set up for the Americans like you who come to Windsor.
posted by orange swan at 12:30 PM on June 3, 2003


TMT: ouch. You force me to bring up the ultimate counter-example:

Poutine.
posted by yhbc at 12:33 PM on June 3, 2003


I like Canada (by which I mean Toronto, of course) a lot, except that the subway system is kinda limited (better than BART or MARTA, but not as good as the T or NY subway or the Metro).

But why is jumping right into WW1 on the list of good things? I can't for the life of me fathom why leaping whole-hog into The Great Big War They Couldn't Be Bothered Not To Have is something to be proud of; I'd think nations would be ashamed of their participation in that cluster-fuck.

For that matter, the fight against the FLQ sounds eerily familiar to current events here.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:34 PM on June 3, 2003


Canada, like so many countries, depend on the United States military for defense.

Canada, like so many countries, generally depends on not pissing people off left, right and centre, or on 'pre-emptive strikes', for defence.
posted by riviera at 12:52 PM on June 3, 2003


Interesting, I always thought we burned the White House. Better that it was the British, as far as I'm concerned. Burning down someone's house just seems so impolite.

Well, actually Canada didn't exist back then, so all the soldiers were under British command. If America can say they fought kicked out the british and neglect to mention the french help they got then we can say we burnt down the white house ;)

But you all still have the Stanley Cup, so it evens out.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:57 PM on June 3, 2003


But why is jumping right into WW1 on the list of good things? I can't for the life of me fathom why leaping whole-hog into The Great Big War They Couldn't Be Bothered Not To Have is something to be proud of; I'd think nations would be ashamed of their participation in that cluster-fuck.

Until The Statute of Westminster (1931), Canada did not have the power to go to war or not on its own whims. Thus, when Britain joined up for WWI, Canada had no choice but to go along. But since the Canadians were there, they figured they'd better do the best job they could, given the circumstances. It was a real coming of age for Canada, and was one of the events that brought about the Statute of Westminster.
posted by iceberg273 at 1:04 PM on June 3, 2003




Sitting here in Toronto, it seems to me an odd time for folks to be engaging in Canada-envy. We're dealing with SARS, Mad Cow Disease, and a case in which a 10-year-old girl was abducted, hacked to pieces, and dumped in Lake Ontario.

Not that there isn't plenty to brag about - indeed, my American partner (we're both men) - recently gained landed immigrant status here because of our relationship. Try doing that in the U.S.!
posted by stonerose at 1:17 PM on June 3, 2003


Number of Krispy Kreme stores worldwide - 288.
Number in Canada - 5.

Your witness.


I'll see your Krispy Kreme and raise you a box of Timbits:

Number of Tim Hortons stores in North America (PDF) -- 2,360+

Double-double down?
posted by mrmcsurly at 1:41 PM on June 3, 2003


Being anti-American (anti-US government for the more nuanced) is more than just fashionable in Spain this summer; it's a fiercely enforced social obligation if you're under 30. Here in Barcelona 2 different people have told me that they wear an anti-war button because it helps them get laid.

Much better to be Canadian. It's an old tactic for Americans travelling abroad to claim they're Canadian to avoid hassle. Miguel, are things are the same in Portugal?
posted by fuzz at 1:45 PM on June 3, 2003


Until The Statute of Westminster (1931), Canada did not have the power to go to war or not on its own whims. Thus, when Britain joined up for WWI, Canada had no choice but to go along.

Fair enough, but if they really had no choice, then why be proud of having no choice but to send your own teenagers to die in trenches or slaughtering German teenagers for no good reason? I find European and Canadian attitudes to WW1 to be really dissonant from their generally more peace-ey demeanor, or maybe to be a big giant blind spot to them, or something like that.

And they always have a choice. If they'd told the Brits to go fuck themselves, what was London going to do, invade? Stop sending Dairy Milk?

Still, Toronto beats the hell out of the Dallas/Forth Worth area.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:47 PM on June 3, 2003


Eh, a lot of this article is the usual pointless nationalistic wanking. It does all but accuse Mark Steyn (who is Canadian) of treason, simultaneously engages in glorification of militarism while pooh-poohing the American for doing the same thing. The National Review article (which I might add, was impossible to purchase at most bookstores in this country that I looked at it for) was out well before the invasion of Iraq - back in December, in fact, if memory serves. Trudeau was the Canadian version of Mussolini. And as one of the students of that "successful” public education system, I can verify that it is anything but. The least appealing part of being a Canadian is listening to jingoistic nonsense about why Canada is the best country on earth constantly.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 1:53 PM on June 3, 2003


Still, Toronto beats the hell out of the Dallas/Forth Worth area.

Ooooh, that's hard. You sure showed us!
posted by norm at 1:56 PM on June 3, 2003


I plan to make a crack at moving there and obtaining citizenship myself (and promptly drop my American one) sometime within the next five years.

Why drop it? It doesn't really do any harm, and could conceivably come in handy sometime in the future. Seems awfully impractical for a political gesture.

I expect to have Canadian citizenship sometime in the future, and maybe UK too. More options are always better than fewer as far as I care, so long as none of the countries are liable to try and draft me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:56 PM on June 3, 2003


Ooooh, that's hard. You sure showed us!

Fine. It's also much better than Jacksonville or Gainesville, FL. There. Though I'd still rather live in NC -- gotta have me my BBQ.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:59 PM on June 3, 2003


I want to move to Canada when I am out of school. I would really like to move to Toronto, but I am not sure if I could or would be hired (I would be looking for a university position). All I know is that I live in Buffalo, and all anyone ever need know about the benefits of Canadian living are evidenced most eloquently in comparing the twin cities of Niagara Falls New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario. There really is no contest.
posted by oflinkey at 2:00 PM on June 3, 2003


How tough is it for Americans to relocate for the semi-long term to canada? My impression's always been that the Canadian version of The Man makes it tough as nails for you, but then around here people say the same thing about Iowa.
posted by COBRA! at 2:16 PM on June 3, 2003


ROU... please. Let the man/woman go. I'm sure
Ryvar doesn't appreciate the advice... doesn't seem to be that kinda person. We're better off without him/her/it.
posted by Witty at 2:20 PM on June 3, 2003


Piper28, I suspect that you're one of the 52% of Americans who think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.
So there's really no use in trying to present you with any facts or cogent thinking - it's like trying to explain poetry to someone who's pre-verbal.


Wow, amazing how you can extrapolate viewpoints like that. Let's see, take two completely unrelated things and just completely come up with one thing meaning the other.

In reality, it's just a play on what has always seemed to me to be a blatant inferiority complex the canadians have. Everywhere you go, it seems they're constantly reminding themselves that they're canadians, and that's so much better than everything else. I mean, where else do you find a tv station that says things like CBC, a Canadian channel for Canadians? I'd think most people would kinda pick that up from what CBC stands for. (Actually, I have no idea whether they still use that slogan, it's been a while since I've had CBC, but man it used to drive me nuts).

And poetry is evil. Just plain evil.
posted by piper28 at 2:21 PM on June 3, 2003


Is there anything more aggravating for a Canadian than to be thought of as American? Canadians seem to engage in a constant brow-beating to convince themselves they are separate and distinct from the United States, with their own politics, traditions and culture. Are the loud anti-American voices in Canada just part of this struggle?

As for me, I suggest that Canadians embrace the fact that they share the continent with the United States, shut up already about health care, name a head of state that's not the Queen of England and and stop pretending to be European.
posted by Durwood at 2:28 PM on June 3, 2003


Witty, leave me out of the patriotic alligator-tears over Ryvar's departure. I've no great love for the US or any other country, and find patriotism at turns infuriating and unfathomable. It just seemed impulsive and easily-regrettable for purely practical reasons.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:35 PM on June 3, 2003


Christopher Walken had dual citizenship.
posted by trharlan at 2:40 PM on June 3, 2003


Professionals are welcome to come to Canada, so long as they don’t want to practice their profession. Then they need “Canadian experience”, which they can’t get because they aren’t licensed because they don’t have “Canadian experience”. Toronto’s got more Ph.D’s driving taxis than some universities have at all.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 2:41 PM on June 3, 2003


Tim Horton's apple fritters are worth moving for.

We vacationed in the Maritimes last year, spending a week in PEI, and it was absolutely f'in gorgeous. The people were outgoing, the scenery incredible, and the isolation pristine.

This summer I'll be in Vancouver for a few days and I can't wait to check that out.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:58 PM on June 3, 2003


Yeah, and it's obvious they didn't get their degrees in the field of "finding the quickest route across town".
posted by blamb at 3:00 PM on June 3, 2003


PV, let us know when you're coming. We like to set up MeFiVans around visiting Mefiers. You know how to play roller hockey, right?

How did a thread about Canada get so many nasty comments? Come on...Canada! Nice, lovable, huggable Canada.
posted by Salmonberry at 3:04 PM on June 3, 2003


I've no great love for the US or any other country, and find patriotism at turns infuriating and unfathomable.

That's a shame really. Do you love your family/proud to be a part of it?
posted by Witty at 3:49 PM on June 3, 2003


Please don't equate Canada with Toronto. Toronto is the only part of the country that will play in.

Ancient Canadian Joke: Canada should have had English government, American know-how and French culture; instead we got French government, English know-how and American culture.

I love it anyway.
posted by timeistight at 3:56 PM on June 3, 2003


Some scattered thoughts:

A deeply weird post: Canada, cool? We're the inoffensive, but soporifically dull relative everybody escapes from at family reunions.

More to the point, the article appears to be a reaction to one of Mark Steyn's, a Torontonian who makes a good living preaching the evils of Soviet Canuckistan (a traditional pass-time of the Canadian right).

Here is a decent write-up on the Medak Pocket affair mentioned in the article. This peacekeeping mission encapsulates what most Canadians think our current military should be.

And yes, Canada is most definitely not (just) Toronto, our most American of cities. Montreal, Victoria, Saskatoon, Halifax, St. John's, and Kingston, to name a few, all offer a more characteristically Canadian experience.
posted by bonehead at 4:33 PM on June 3, 2003


Do you love your family/proud to be a part of it?

Do you consider your family better than everyone else's?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:41 PM on June 3, 2003


That's a shame really. Do you love your family/proud to be a part of it?

Love them? Sure, because I have some reasonable belief that they love me back.

Proud of it? Of course not. What could possibly be praiseworthy about an utter accident of birth?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2003


The mere fact that Canada might need to be described as "fiercely fashionable" is sufficient proof of its irrelevance.

As Winston Churchill so famously remarked, "Canada is an inferiority complex wrapped in a language barrier inside an identity crisis."
posted by anser at 5:00 PM on June 3, 2003


This summer I'll be in Vancouver for a few days and I can't wait to check that out.

Please, we are riddled with disease. Even our cows are crazy. There's nothing to see here, really. Do you know how long it took to get cable in my igloo? Again,continue ignoring us.
posted by larry_darrell at 5:27 PM on June 3, 2003


As Winston Churchill so famously remarked, "Canada is an inferiority complex wrapped in a language barrier inside an identity crisis."

Could you cite this quote for us, please? Perhaps my Googling skills are no longer up to snuff, or perhaps you're referring to another Winston Churchill, but I can't find any references to Winston Spencer Churchill "famously" remarking the words you've put in his mouth.
posted by bailey_ca at 5:38 PM on June 3, 2003


"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

- Sir Winston Churchill, October 1, 1939.
posted by iceberg273 at 6:01 PM on June 3, 2003


The mere fact that Canada might need to be described as "fiercely fashionable" is sufficient proof of its irrelevance.

What? First show that Canada "needs" to be described that way, as opposed to merely having just been described that way by an individual. Then show how this is "sufficient proof" of its irrelevance.

As Winston Churchill so famously remarked: yo dawg, that shit be whack.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:07 PM on June 3, 2003


FWIW, I too doubt that Churchill said that.

Also, I do love my country, but in a quiet, proud fashion, with a touch of smugness. I think that is the real Canadian way.

And, yes, I agree with larry...please continue ignoring us.
posted by Richat at 6:29 PM on June 3, 2003


More famous Churchill remarks.
posted by Wet Spot at 6:41 PM on June 3, 2003


Yeah, and it's obvious they didn't get their degrees in the field of "finding the quickest route across town".
True, but then again we do have the taxi driver known as Mr. Geography. I can vouch for his knowledge of the world; I've had at least four cab rides with him, two in the last couple of weeks, and it's always amazing that he knows so much about the world.

BTW, don't be impressed with his whole "size of country/currency/capital city" stuff; quiz him on the harder things, like "name the 13 seas that surround Russia" and things like that; he'll just rattle them off for you like he's reading from a book (and he has reference books with him so you can check his answers).

He was on CBC radio a couple of times recently; if you have RealPlayer (or whatever it's called this week), you can hear an interview with him.
posted by lowlife at 7:06 PM on June 3, 2003


Piper28, I suspect that you're one of the 52% of Americans who think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.
So there's really no use in trying to present you with any facts or cogent thinking - it's like trying to explain poetry to someone who's pre-verbal.


Wow, amazing how you can extrapolate viewpoints like that. Let's see, take two completely unrelated things and just completely come up with one thing meaning the other.

Dear Piper28;

I deliberately answered you in the same spirit as that in which you commented. If you are going to make remarks about how Canada is "deluding itself that its not an American state" and how you "let us keep our monopoly money" then what is the point of my trying to begin a worthwhile debate with you? I'd sooner mock you, and so I did. One doesn't feed Ann Coulter-like trolls; one baits them.

Love,

Orangie.
posted by orange swan at 7:21 PM on June 3, 2003


Do you consider your family better than everyone else's?

Nope, not all. Some, yes. But I don't know what this has to do with anything.

Proud of it? Of course not. What could possibly be praiseworthy about an utter accident of birth?

Hmm... ok. I think that's a shame too. I know I'm certainly proud to be a part of my family. My birth may have been an "accident", but the success of my family (as a family that is) was no accident and is the source of my pride.
posted by Witty at 7:40 PM on June 3, 2003


I know I'm certainly proud to be a part of my family.

Why? You didn't do anything to merit it, and it's no reflection of your character, or skill, or any other praiseworthy quality you have. Why would you be proud of something that is in no way any accomplishment of your own?

My birth may have been an "accident", but the success of my family (as a family that is) was no accident and is the source of my pride.

I can see taking pride in your own place in it, and your own deeds. But why would you feel comfortable taking pride in something that someone else did without any assistance from you? You might as well be proud of my family, or proud that the sun rises, or proud that the polar regions are cold.

That's the whole part of nationalism that strikes me as perverse.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:48 PM on June 3, 2003


*Chuckle* At Wet Spot... Yeah, those quotes are as believable as anser's. ;)
posted by bailey_ca at 11:20 PM on June 3, 2003



Orange Swan wrote: "Oh, and as for our treatment of aboriginal groups - the First Nation Canadians get WAY more money spent on them per head than the other Canadians. They don't have to pay tuition for college or university, for example. So it's not like we're being mean - more like we need to rethink our strategies and methods."


I think you are generalizing too easily, making assumptions and do not speak from experience. It is not ALL Canadian First Nations that are eligible for post-secondary education, only those that have been recognized as "status indians" by the Canadian government. Until as recently as 1985, the Indian Act only recognized a native as being a "status indian" if both their parents were status indians. If an indian woman married a non-status man (even if he was of native ancestry) she would LOSE her status. However, if an indian man married a non-status woman, she would GAIN indian status, even if she had absolutely no indian ancestry!


In my case, my mother (of the Mi'kmaq First Nation) married a non-status man (of the Algonquin First Nation), and therefore lost her status. And this, even though my paternal grandmother was status, but had married "out" and so lost her status, due to the Indian Act. So although I was descended from First Nations on both sides, because of a technicality in Canadian law, the government legally defined me as a non-Indian.


As a result, I was ineligible for any Status benefits for the first half of my life. It was only in 1985 that Bill C-31 was added to the Indian Act to balance things out; and therefore I was finally eligible for post-secondary education assistance; it doesn't pay for *everything*. One must meet minimum criteria to be accepted, can only apply to certain schools and must pass all courses in order to continue to receive funding. Sometimes it only covers books, and in some cases, one must even reside on reserve, as off-reserve indians are denied outright or are put on a waiting list, sometimes for years, due to limited funding.


If you think that Canadian First Nations receive "freebies" then perhaps you should realize what we gave up for it in the treaties we signed so many centuries ago... By and far, these treaties guaranteed hunting and fishing rights, medical care and education in exchange for our land -- in todays' terms to basic medical and dental care, as well as post-secondary education assistance. So we don't get anything for free - our peoples just paid for it a loooong time ago.


Did you know that there was a system of government-assisted cultural genocide in place legally forcing Canadian aboriginal children to attend residential schools until as late as the 1960's? That this system forced children to abandon their native languages and culture, at the risk of severe beatings if caught speaking it? That thousands of aboriginal children were sexually abused by the religious personnel that were meant to be their keepers? That many Canadian natives still suffer from "Residential School Syndrome" to this day, resulting in alcoholism and drug addiction as they seek to escape it's long-term psychological effects.


Did you realize that Canada's Status Indians weren't granted the right to vote until 1960?


Did you know that if a Canadian Status Indian served in WWI or WWII they would have to sign away their status, as well as the status of all their descendants (known as enfranchisement)? Did you know that as a result that many Canadian natives chose to serve in the US Forces, which did not force such requirements upon them?


Other Indian Act restrictions included the prohibition of the consumption of alcohol and denied ownership of property. To this day, the housing on Canadian reserves belong to the government and cannot be bought or owned by the band or the natives themselves. Since on-reserve indians do not and cannot own the house they live in; it makes it very difficult to apply for business or bank loans. Their only recourse is to move off-reserve, which causes them to lose many Status benefits. Damned if you do, damned if you don't...


Canada's relation with First Nations


Native Veteran's Association - History


There are a lot of misconceptions about Canada's First Nations; even by Canadians themselves. You owe it to yourself to become informed *before* you spout mis-truths or half-truths.Check the following link for:


Some popular misconceptions about Canadian Native People


Canada is a wonderful country; IF you are an average Canadian. But please don't think that you can speak for the First Nations and tell us how wonderful this country has been to us. Don't take me wrong, I do love Canada and I am very proud of some of it's accomplishments and it's other peoples -- just not ALL of them...


And on a related note -- for those of you who bitch about immigrants taking over the good jobs (whether it be in Canada or the States), as far as us Aboriginals are concerned -- you're ALL immigrants! {grin}; Think about it! ;-)


posted by Jade Dragon at 11:58 PM on June 3, 2003


Really, the only reason that we Canadians aren't Americans is that we'd be really, really, really bad at it.

What the hell is this whole patriotism thing anyway and what's the deal with all the flags? Is this something I'd have to own a gun to understand?
posted by filmgoerjuan at 12:46 AM on June 4, 2003


Because of course no one in Canada owns a gun. Those millions of people who live in small communities and own hunting rifles just don't count. After all, they're just "hicks".

Jade Dragon> Eh, the whole idea of "Status" and "Non-Status" Indians is wack. Personally, I'm in favour of scrapping the whole thing, incorporating the bands as private charities and giving them a (large) one-time lump sum. I'm not particularly well-inclined towards paying rent in perpetuity because my ancestors decided in a moment of mercy not to slaughter you folks to the last man.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 1:10 AM on June 4, 2003


i've noticed that a fair bit of the content of this thread has dealt with canadians being over-proud of being such, and how canadians apparantly believe themselves superior to thier southern neighbors. now, come on. as americans tend to be the ones making these 'points'.. can you honestly say that the large majority of americans don't feel the same way about canada? it's sort of a self-defeating argument, isn't it?

now, as a canadian citizen who has spent a couple years living and working in seattle, and has returned to his birthplace in southern ontario, i can honestly say that i do love and cherish my country and my citizenship, and would much rather reside on this side of the border.

i love that i've never had to pay for a trip to the hospital. i love that my country has the sense to not involve itself in unjust wars. i love that i live in a bilingual nation. i love that the canadian independant music scene (and in southern ontario specifically) is becoming one of the biggest and most interesting in north america.

as for us "depending on the US for protection", when was the last time we NEEDED protection? no one's trying to invade canada. no one's shooting up our highschools. no one's crashing jets into our major metroplitan areas. why? i think the fact that we didn't go to 'war' with iraq is a prime example. we are not an agressive country. we do not fund contras, we do not facilitate 'regime change' in foriegn nations. we keep the peace, and we do not interfere where we are unwelcome.

i love my country, and there's nowhere else i'd rather be.
posted by sunexplodes at 1:13 AM on June 4, 2003


Filmgoerjuan: I dunno, seems to me that if anything visibly flaunting one's patriotism has been on the rise in Canada the last ten years or so. Yeah, it's not as militaristic as US patriotism (or at least the right-wing version) can be--you'll probably never see a bumper sticker with a Canadian flag and "Kick his ass and get the gas!" on it. But it's certainly there, and (to my eyes at least) rising. The testosterone quotient seems to come more from sporting rather than military conquests--I remember, when Canada won the gold in men's hockey at the '02 Olympics, seeing people driving up and down 17th Avenue waving flags out of their SUV windows, hollering and honking their horns, a display which I haven't seen any of the numerous times Calgary won the Grey Cup. (I didn't live in Calgary proper when the Flames won the Stanley Cup, so I couldn't tell you if anything similar happened, though it quite probably did.)

And remember the fad, a couple of years back, for "Canada Kicks Ass" t-shirts? Or the Molson "I Am Canadian" ads? (That one particularly rankled for me, seeing my national identity coopted as a corporate slogan, but then I've always thought Molson Canadian to be a pretty flaccid excuse for beer.) In any case, the trend seems to run counter to the self-effacing, even self-deprecating[*] tone I used to associate with Canada.
* Air Farce joke, circa '92 or so: "And so Canada's athletes go off to the Olympics to compete for that highest of honours, the bronze."

Jade Dragon: Interesting, I wasn't aware of all those "stay on the reserve" type clauses. (And I've got to wonder wtf the government was thinking there... surely, economic success for (status) Natives involves access to the same opportunities non-Natives have?)
posted by arto at 1:32 AM on June 4, 2003


I'm not particularly well-inclined towards paying rent in perpetuity because my ancestors decided in a moment of mercy not to slaughter you folks to the last man.

Wow. Did you have to practice to become such an asshole, Pseudoephedrine, or does it come naturally?

There are major problems with the system as it exists, granted, but that kind of talk would earn you a punch in the mouth where I come from (a small northern BC town, where half the population, more or less, is either status or non-status native). Might even do the honours myself, though I'm euro.

Not that uncommon a sentiment, though, sadly : half the drunken millworker redneck neonazi shitfucks in that town say stuff like that all the damn time, just before they get they get stomped into jelly by one of the unslaughtered, outside The Zoo.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:40 AM on June 4, 2003


If your only reply is to threaten violence, then what objection can you really have, since you obviously agree that it's an effective way of settling arguments? Why would punching me be any more conclusive an argument to "the Indian question" than near-genocide was?

For the record, I'm not advocating it, but neither am I trying to pretend that it didn't happen, and that magically, if we just spend enough money for the rest of eternity, the Indians will join the "mosaic" and integrate into the Very Special Rainbow of Canadian society en masse. If they're going to assimilate, they're going to assimilate. If they aren't, why make it our problem in perpetuity? Give them money and let them go.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 2:10 AM on June 4, 2003


What the hell is this whole patriotism thing anyway and what's the deal with all the flags?

It's the same weird idea as the little maple leaf in the McDonald's M, or the Canadian flags on every third house around where my schnooky used to live (Yonge and Davisville), and the little maple leafs identifying Canadian acts on the dividers in the record stores, and the BUY CANADIAN!! exhortations in the ads, and the maple leaf in the OLN logo so's you know it's Canadian, and the little maple leafs in the various other *foo*Canada channels, and so on.

On both sides, we don't see the water we swim in. At least before the WTC/Pentagon attacks I didn't really notice the flags down here, except when I was recently back from Toronto.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:43 AM on June 4, 2003


I'm not arguing your point, such as it was. I was just noting what a nasty person you seemed to be, based solely on your comment, of course, and the possible consequences of such a comment were you to repeat it in public in less effete portions of the fine nation that is Canada.

I really shouldn't have, even if it did make me feel better. Apologies to the community for my lack of self-control.

I note that according to your user profile you intend to emigrate to America, and I for one would encourage you to do so at your earliest opportunity.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:43 AM on June 4, 2003


leaves. I meant leaves. leafs are hockey. me tired.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:49 AM on June 4, 2003


bailey_ca: did you know that the word "gullible" is not actually in the dictionary?

Personally I support making Canada the 51st state, if only to watch a UConn-Yukon playoff game in the NCAA's.

"Fussy, earnest Canada illustrates an error in the nation-building process. Its eventual disintegration will, one can hope, be peaceful." -- Henry Kissinger, "The Challenge to the West in the Coming Century," Journal of Diplomacy v22 n5, May 1988
posted by anser at 3:02 AM on June 4, 2003


I'm a Canadian living in England. I grew up in Canada until my teens and I can say with hand on heart I am glad my teens and twenties were spent in England / London.

Canada is wonderful yet very BORING.

I look forward to returning there when I want my kids to have fresh air and I am ready to live in my den.
posted by Frasermoo at 4:14 AM on June 4, 2003


Stupid bloody colonials...
posted by i_cola at 4:29 AM on June 4, 2003


bailey_ca: did you know that the word "gullible" is not actually in the dictionary?

[checks dictionary]

Hey! You're right!
posted by salmacis at 5:58 AM on June 4, 2003


According to Grey Goose, the second best Vodka in the world is from Canada; Iceberg.
posted by CrazyJub at 5:59 AM on June 4, 2003


Stupid bloody colonials...

i_cola, you've never gotten over the fact that the sun has most definitely set on the British Empire, have you?
posted by orange swan at 6:01 AM on June 4, 2003


I love Toronto's CNN Tower.
posted by ubueditor at 6:15 AM on June 4, 2003


Trudeau was the Canadian version of Mussolini.

Was I the only one to actually notice this little nugget of stupidity, or is everyone else just silently pretending it didn't happen? Good god, people. I hope they do end up naming a street in Edmonton after Trudeau, and they should put a statue of him on the end of it waving national energy policy papers in your smug Albertan faces.

/rant over.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:18 AM on June 4, 2003


Stupid bloody colonials...

i_cola, you've never gotten over the fact that the sun has most definitely set on the British Empire, have you?


*sigh*
posted by Summer at 6:43 AM on June 4, 2003


orange swan, you've never got(ten) over the fact that some people have a sense of humo(u)r, have you?

*sigh* indeed.

[Shall I explain? Do I have to? Well, OK. To this Brit -- who incidentally has no love of empire, past or present -- a thread consisting of some USians & Canadians arguing the toss over which is best is just crying out for the 'Stupid bloody colonials' line. You see, the joke is that two former colonies are fighting about something with the inference that the Brits should never have left them to themselves as they just start bickering. I'll admit that it is not the height of wit and possibly drier than needed but I think it is a step up from just rehashing lines from animated sitcoms. Altho' jokes you have to explain are never that funny. And to think I nearly put a ;-) at the end of the original post. Humourless bloody colonials...]
posted by i_cola at 7:16 AM on June 4, 2003


orange swan, you've never got(ten) over the fact that some people have a sense of humo(u)r, have you?

i_cola, you've never gotten over the fact that one good turn deserves another, have you? Of course tihs is coming from someone who's country sent their prisoners to Australia and stayed in dreary old England themselves. Can't expect much from them :)
posted by Space Coyote at 7:27 AM on June 4, 2003


Stavros> I'm glad to see you're continuing your trend of trying to raise the level of debate with a "Get the fuck out of Canada" comment. What's next, posting a link to the Molson commercial? An animated gif of the Canadian flag? One of the reasons I want to emigrate is to get away from the stifling conformity that characterises Canadian political and moral "debate" on these very subjects. Thanks for being an exemplar of the problem.

Space Coyote> I live in Kingston, and was born in Toronto. Though I'm sure the good people of Alberta are happy to know that you hold them in such low esteem, if only because I'm sure the feeling is mutual. Trudeau suspended civil liberties, had nothing but contempt for the due process of government, subscribed to the brand of pop-Keynesianism that brought us stagflation and while doing all of this, built a cult of personality around himself which, as the various viewers of this thread can see from your own response, lasts to this day. The man was three flags and a racecar short of being Le Duc. Imagine what you'd say if George W. Bush suspended all civil liberties in the US and then when asked by CNN how far he intended to take this "martial law" business said "Just watch me." So why is it any better because an effete French egotist does it?
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:21 AM on June 4, 2003


I love Toronto's CNN Tower.

Hey, Ted Turner hasn't gone all Trump on us yet! (Though it's only a letter off...shame CNN doesn't need a broadcast transmitter site.)
posted by Vidiot at 8:25 AM on June 4, 2003


orange swan, you've never got(ten) over the fact that some people have a sense of humo(u)r, have you?

i_cola, I'm actually quite happy that some people have a sense of humour. I "got" the point of the "stupid bloody colonials" comment and was just responding in kind.

This thread does come across as so much sibling rivalry that it's funny. I doubt anyone here really does consider any other country inferior to their own - but that doesn't mean we can't have a little fun sparring. Jeez, bring on the Celine Dion (yuck) and poutine (double yuck) jokes. I don't care. And I in return reserve the right to take a few cracks at Dubya and English dentistry (or lack thereof). I mean no disrespect towards anyone's country. And I try quite hard to be as quick to see a country's virtues as I am its flaws - regardless of which country is under question.

There is a lot of silliness, and sometimes harm, in nationalism - but there are good things about it too. As I found out when I bought my own home, a sense of ownership inspires one to responsibility and achievement. And for those of you who say nationality is an accident of birth, I can only say that I may have been born in Canada by chance but there was no accident about my decision to stay here.
posted by orange swan at 8:33 AM on June 4, 2003


Jade Dragon: I always thought the gender inequities of the Indian act were there at the insistence of contemporary tribal leadership. Was I misinformed?

Obviously, when you have government policies that provide benefits based on ethnicity, you have to some method of determining ethnicity, and any such method is bound to be arbitrary.
posted by timeistight at 8:41 AM on June 4, 2003


Pseudoephedrine: You know it's responses like yours that make trolling so much gosh darn fun ;)
posted by Space Coyote at 8:51 AM on June 4, 2003


orange_swan: It is not necessary for the US to be good in order for Canada to suck.

"Canada is the boring second fiddle in the American symphony." -- Andrei Gromyko, 1953
posted by anser at 9:50 AM on June 4, 2003


Why? You didn't do anything to merit it, and it's no reflection of your character, or skill, or any other praiseworthy quality you have. Why would you be proud of something that is in no way any accomplishment of your own?

What? You aren't making any sense. Are you saying that my family did not contribute, in any way other than my birth, to the person I am today.... and that I in turn, haven't contributed to my family?

Being part of a family goes FAR beyond just being born into it. That's my point. I am proud of my family. I'm proud to be a part of it because of the efforts, sacrifices, compromises, dedication, loyalty, support, unconditional love, and perseverance each member has shown (the best they know how), generation after generation. Without all of that, we wouldn't be as successful as a family as we are today. We wouldn't BE a family.

I was LUCKY to be born into my family... but I'm PROUD of my contributions to my family and how they have helped make my family what it is today. What's so wrong with that?

If you think it's wrong to be proud to be part of a successful group or team (regardless of how one measures that success), then I just don't understand where you're coming from and I kinda feel sorry for you.
posted by Witty at 10:03 AM on June 4, 2003


Witty: Being proud of one's country to such an extent is a bit like a sports fan who refers to his team as 'we'.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:32 AM on June 4, 2003


The full quote is:
"Greece is a sort of American vassal; the Netherlands is the country of American bases that grow like tulip bulbs; Cuba is the main sugar plantation of the American monopolies; Turkey is prepared to kow-tow before any United States pro-consul and Canada is the boring second fiddle in the American symphony."

I think the world has moved on a bit since then, myself.... Keep fishing, though.
posted by cardboard at 10:40 AM on June 4, 2003


Witty:
Being proud of what you, yourself, have actually done or actually taken part in is fine with me.

It's taking actual pride in things that you yourself didn't do, or that happened before you were born, and that you took no part in whatsoever that irks me. Being proud of what J. Random Countryman had done without any help from you, or what your grandparents did before you were born, strikes me as utterly nonsensical. You might think it's cool, or be grateful that they did it, but to be proud of it? To claim some measure of credit, praise, or glory for it? Ugh.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:14 AM on June 4, 2003


What is impressive about the Gromyko quote is precisely how much the first four observations have changed while the fifth remains pertinent.
posted by anser at 11:33 AM on June 4, 2003


Being proud of one's country to such an extent is a bit like a sports fan who refers to his team as 'we'.

Except that all Americans or Canadians, Australians or South Africans can certainly refer to themselves as 'we'. Even if you're not proud of your country, you are still 'we' when referring to your shared citizenship with other members of your citizenry. What's your point?

Do you guys/gals think it's absurd for Olympians to be proud of their country... that all the flag waving and wearing of national colors, etc. is all just stupid and perverse? So I guess a black person shouldn't feel pride in being black either, since it wasn't his/her choice to be born black?

Ahh nevermind... You don't make sense to me and likely never will.
posted by Witty at 11:42 AM on June 4, 2003


The olympian has actually done something with his sorry ass, he should be proud of _himself_.

Nationalism is a method of control, nothing more.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:37 PM on June 4, 2003


Do you guys/gals think it's absurd for Olympians to be proud of their country... that all the flag waving and wearing of national colors, etc. is all just stupid and perverse?

Yup. It's fine for Olympians to be proud of what they've done. But for the people in the stands and watching on tv to be proud that somebody they don't know achieved something that they took no part in is, well, stupid and perverse.

So I guess a black person shouldn't feel pride in being black either, since it wasn't his/her choice to be born black?

Exactly. There's nothing praiseworthy about being born with or without lots of melanin, or with or without an epicanthic fold, or in being born to any particular set of parents. It's not an achievement of any sort, and people should properly take pride only in their own achievements, or achievements in which they can reasonably claim to have played a part.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:03 PM on June 4, 2003


You must be fun to compliment.
posted by timeistight at 3:04 PM on June 4, 2003


anser: It is not necessary for the US to be good in order for Canada to suck.

Well, no. But I don't know what inspired you to that flight of hypothetical fancy. The U.S. is, by and large, a good place - though they have my sympathies on their current administration - and Canada is also a good place. I'm even willing to concede that you might not suck, Anser. After all I don't know you, and anyone might make an ignorant comment in an unguarded, thoughtless moment.

more anser: "Canada is the boring second fiddle in the American symphony." -- Andrei Gromyko, 1953

Not anymore. Hey, if you were playing the foreign affairs equivalent to the Ninth Symphony of course we'll play along. But now that your conductor is a tone-deaf idiot we'll be diverging. Didn't you notice we wrote our own score when it came to the war on Iraq? And we'll be doing the same if you make unjustified attacks on any other countries. We have the potential to become metaphorically comparable to the screeching violins in Psycho.
posted by orange swan at 3:22 PM on June 4, 2003


One of the reasons I want to emigrate is to get away from the stifling conformity that characterises Canadian political and moral "debate" on these very subjects. Thanks for being an exemplar of the problem.

You're welcome, but you're still an asshole.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:43 PM on June 4, 2003


Oops, there I go again, ad-hominizing.

I meant to say : that's as may be, but your careful avoidance of making any attempt to defend your original statement - for kicks, let's review it : "I'm not particularly well-inclined towards paying rent in perpetuity because my ancestors decided in a moment of mercy not to slaughter you folks to the last man" - proves to me that even if I am an 'example of the stifling conformity' (which I would submit is highly debatable, given that I haven't even lived in Canada for more than a decade, having made good on promises to leave long ago rather than just self-importantly declaring that 'I plan to' on some website) that you're at worst the very sort of American-style racist that I so despise, and at best just an intellectual coward.

Try again, collegeboy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:51 PM on June 4, 2003


Further, let me give you an essay question to focus on, because even if you are a retro-genocidal urban shitweasel, I'm interested to hear how you could justify it.

"I'm not particularly well-inclined towards paying rent in perpetuity because my ancestors decided in a moment of mercy not to slaughter you folks to the last man."

Defend this statement, if you can.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:02 PM on June 4, 2003


anser: It is not necessary for the US to be good in order for Canada to suck.

orange_swan: Well, no. But I don't know what inspired you to that flight of hypothetical fancy.


this did: "This thread does come across as so much sibling rivalry that it's funny."

It is only sibling rivalry to point out Canada's irrelevance if one happens to be Australian.
posted by anser at 7:32 PM on June 4, 2003


Irrelevance to whom, oh sour one?
posted by cardboard at 8:54 PM on June 4, 2003


To add something to this thread other than bickering on my part, I offer this comment on the topic from tranquileye a while back, which is a good 'un, in my humble.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:20 AM on June 5, 2003


Defend this statement, if you can.

The reason I was "carefully avoiding" "defending my original statement" was because you weren't arguing with it. Or at least, that's what "I'm not arguing your point" generally means.

What's so contentious about it, anyhow? Do you deny we slaughtered the Indians? Do you deny that it could have reached the level of an actual genocide had the British, American, and later Canadian, governments actually wanted it to? Do you deny that one of the primary reasons the Federal Government gives the Indians payments based on having a special status is because there's a widespread feeling that this was their land first and we ought to compensate them for taking it from them? No? Then what are you complaining about? "Wah, wah, you mentioned the fact that we tried to kill the Indians off" Hey, it happened, and saying that it did doesn't make me "retro-genocidal". If the worst thing you can say was that what I said was offensive, well, good. Idiots like you deserve to be offended at every chance possible.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 4:46 AM on June 5, 2003


It is only sibling rivalry to point out Canada's irrelevance if one happens to be Australian.


Cardboard asked the right question when s/he asked "irrelevance to whom...?" but I'll go further and say that was a really stupid and indefensible comment on your part, Anser. There's no country on the planet that's "irrelevant". Yes, some countries have more military might than others. Yes, some countries have stronger economies. But those aren't the only factors in determining a country's importance. Where would the U.S. be without Canada's natural resources? Where would the U.S. be if we weren't doing our bit to make our side of a very long border secure? You needn't point out that Canada needs the U.S. - I know that as well as you do, and I've never heard any Canadian try to deny it. But you need us too, and you and all the American citizens and administrators who think like you (because I know you don't come up with your ideas all by yourself) must realize that your swaggering, isolationist attitude has to go.

I like this quote by G.K. Chesterton:

We are all in a small boat on a stormy sea and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.
posted by orange swan at 4:51 AM on June 5, 2003


If the worst thing you can say was that what I said was offensive, well, good. Idiots like you deserve to be offended at every chance possible.

I'm not offended, mate. Takes a lot more than half-wit secondhand regurgitated racism from philosophy sophomores to offend me...

what are you complaining about?

I guess I'm complaining about a person (you, my friend) who reads a long comment by another community member who talks about their ethnicity and how it has been arbitrarily used to shape their life by a government and responds with : "I'm not particularly well-inclined towards paying rent in perpetuity because my ancestors decided in a moment of mercy not to slaughter you folks to the last man."

That's not politics or philosophy, son, that's just fucking personally in-your-face nasty. That, I don't care for. But I thought I might give you a chance to retract it. If you don't care to do so, that's your call.

But, please, feel free to embarrass yourself further.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:08 AM on June 5, 2003


To TimeIsTight:

Great joke - here is the Euro version.

Life in Heaven: English Police, German Engineers, French Chefs.
Life in Hell: English Chefs, French Engineers, German Police.

Although I can say that last one is a big stereotype. The German police are very polite and professional.
posted by wpeyton at 9:10 AM on June 5, 2003


Takes a lot more than half-wit secondhand regurgitated racism from philosophy sophomores to offend me...

You still haven't explained how it's racist. Hell, you've yet to even claim that the factual portion of it is incorrect. Perhaps you think that if you merely repeat it often enough it'll be true, and considering the level of intelligence you've displayed on the rest of this thread, I wouldn't doubt you're dumb enough to actually believe that. All this "you're mean, so you're racist" stuff might fly out there in butt-fuck nowhere, British Columbia, but you might be surprised to find out that in those portions of the world where people haven't battered one anothers' brains out, that kind of bullshit doesn't fly.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 12:08 PM on June 5, 2003


Even if you're not proud of your country, you are still 'we' when referring to your shared citizenship with other members of your citizenry. What's your point?

Two and a half hours north of me, the city of Vancouver is technically part of another country, yet I have more in common with Vancouverites and feel more at home among them than the inhabitants of the far-off American cities on the East Coast. People from "back east" have strange accents, have cultural values and social patterns I don't like or understand, and live in a different stream of history than the one my sense of identity comes from. I generalize broadly, of course, but the very notion of a "national identity" is a broad approximation.

I do think it is absurd that I am supposed to think of those far-off alien Bostonians or New Yorkers as part of the American "we", but reject the nearby congenial Vancouverites as "foreigners". New York is as foreign a place to me as London.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:45 PM on June 5, 2003


I'm with you, Mars. I picture one big country from Alaska to the equator. We could call it "Pacifica".

I have always marveled, though, that less than 100 miles south of me everyone says "roof" funny.
posted by timeistight at 1:21 PM on June 5, 2003


"I'm not particularly well-inclined towards paying rent in perpetuity because my ancestors decided in a moment of mercy not to slaughter you folks to the last man."

You still haven't explained how it's racist.

All right Pseudoephedrine, I'll explain why what you said is racist and offensive.

By saying this you imply that hey, a bunch of European immigrants decided to let the then residents of Canada live and that this was some kind of a gracious and all sufficient boon - and perhaps a mistake, as it means poor you has to watch tax dollars going to benefit dispossessed people. How can the First Nations people expect anything more in recompense for the land that had been theirs for thousands of years? How can they expect recompense for the fact that it is now impossible for them to live by their traditional means? They should stop whining and expecting poor you and the rest of Canada's non-indian populace (who enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world thanks in no small part to a huge land and resources grab a few hundred years back) to help mitigate the effects of hundreds of years of injustice because hey, your wonderful ancestors allowed them to survive!

Yes, of course the Europeans could have gone ahead with a total genocide instead of just a partial one. They did in Newfoundland, which had an indigenous tribe called the Beothuks. The Euopeans hunted the Beothuks for sport - there was a law allowing for exactly that. At one point a bunch of fishermen rounded up a few hundred of the last living Beothuks and drove them off a cliff and slaughtered them in a wholesale fashion. Today there are no Beothuks whatsoever. Perhaps in your mind this was a a better alternative than you having to "pay rent in perpetuity"?

I notice on your user page that you say you are a libertarian. And I notice you libertarians are as quick to take a freebie and work the system to your advantage as anyone else but when someone ELSE gets government help you start moralizing about people's responsibility to take care of themselves. For instance you're in university in Kingston, no doubt enjoying the 90% subsidized tuition that our government provides. And don't tell me you paid for it with your taxes because there's no way in hell you paid enough tax by the age of 20 to repay the government for the education, medical care, libraries, transportation systems, etc., that you've enjoyed all your life. And of course you plan on getting more degrees, you say, and then on departing for the States where income taxes are lower. Well, whatever. If the States will take you they are welcome to you.

But's let's not have this garbage about you "paying rent". You're reaping far more than you have ever sown.

Let me tell you why it's important for Canada to improve the lot of First Nations people. First of all, because it is the humane thing to do. This is an enormous and resource-rich country and there's no reason why we shouldn't all be enjoying at least a comfortable standard of living. Secondly, because Canada does owe its First Nations peoples something. I'm not into the brow beating and mea culpas that some people are - after all, I am in no way personally responsible for the sufferings of First Nations people. And I have no patience with those who would refer to me as an immigrant. I was born here, and anyone who is born here has exactly the same rights as any other born Canadian, no matter where their parents or great-great-great grandparents may have been born. There's no going back. But that doesn't mean I'm not prepared to do my bit to set things right. We have Canadians living in misery due in large part to the hundreds of years of injustice inflicted on them. Let's work together and fix the problem.
posted by orange swan at 2:21 PM on June 5, 2003


Orange Swan> Did you actually read my comment, or just that one line? I said that I wasn't fond of paying rent in perpetuity right after I proposed paying it in one large lump sum. Through the magic of self-quoting, I bring you this line: I'm... incorporating the bands as private charities and giving them a (large) one-time lump sum. So in fact, your little diatribe about me not wanting to compensate the Indians for taking their land is somewhere between totally off-base and egregiously ignorant.

And I notice you libertarians are as quick to take a freebie and work the system to your advantage as anyone else but when someone ELSE gets government help you start moralizing about people's responsibility to take care of themselves.

Actually I don't begrudge specific individuals screwing over the system at all, at least when the system is as corrupt as ours is. But I'm glad you've decided to argue with stereotypes rather than engage my viewpoint. The fact that it was a red herring of a point merely makes it that much more fun.

For instance you're in university in Kingston, no doubt enjoying the 90% subsidized tuition that our government provides

This kind of silly factual mistake disguised as a personal attack doesn't help your argument. I receive no governmental aid to attend university or pay my tuition. The university I attend receives about 58% of its fees from the provincial government. And not having been asked how I feel about it doing so, I see little reason to feel guilty about it doing so.

And don't tell me you paid for it with your taxes because there's no way in hell you paid enough tax by the age of 20 to repay the government for the education, medical care, libraries, transportation systems, etc., that you've enjoyed all your life

That's right, my parents' taxes have covered those things. This is another poorly disguised personal attack and red herring. What does this have to do with whether we should pay the natives a lump sum or per annum? Your personal crusade against libertarianism or whatever the hell it is you're on about is of little interest to me. Stick to the point under discussion.

But's let's not have this garbage about you "paying rent". You're reaping far more than you have ever sown.

This is ridiculous, to say the least. You don't seem to quite realise _why_ government provides these services - in the hope that it will keep its tax base able to produce, if not increasing. I have exactly the gratitude to my government for its services that the pig being led to slaughter by the farmer does for the things he's given it.

This is an enormous and resource-rich country and there's no reason why we shouldn't all be enjoying at least a comfortable standard of living.

This statement is so broad and flaccid as to be unattackable. "Wouldn't it be nice if everything was nice?"

We have Canadians living in misery due in large part to the hundreds of years of injustice inflicted on them. Let's work together and fix the problem.

See, this is what I'm talking about when I say you barely seem to've read what I wrote. The entire point of the post in question was that I agreed with Jade Dragon that the system was broken and should be scrapped in favour of incorporating the bands as private charities and giving them a finite number of large payments to improve the members lives rather than using the Indian Act and minute payments to individual status Indians and large transfer payments to corrupt hierarchies. You seem to've missed that part in favour of complaining endlessly about the way it was phrased, and in stavros' case, threatening violence.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 6:25 PM on June 5, 2003


Ah, I see you have taken up my invitation to embarrass yourself further, Pseudoephedrine.

Well done, young man! I see a bright future for you behind the counter at your local Starbucks, engaging, with a framed copy of your philosophy degree on your bedroom wall in your parents' basement.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:52 PM on June 5, 2003


The entire point of the post in question was that I agreed with Jade Dragon that the system was broken and should be scrapped in favour of incorporating the bands as private charities and giving them a finite number of large payments to improve the members lives


Oh, and I'm sure that all First Nations peoples would just LOVE being told that they are all "charity cases" now. That's a great way to improve a people's self confidence, as well as the image that others hold of them... It's certainly something I would not like to have to explain to a child returning from being teased at school; it was hard enough growing up as a "visible minority", never mind being exposed to that kind of attitude from others.


Charities are *not* the answer. First Nations people simply want what was promised to them in the treaties that were signed so long ago. Is it so very hard for the Canadian government (and the people who voted them into office) to simply hold to their legal and written treaty promises?


As to the comment about paying "rent in perpetuity", well, the Canadian people have been using our land for several centuries, and seem to plan to do so in perpetuity, so why can't they simply pay the "rent" for it? Just because you don't like your rental lease years later, does that give you the right to stop paying your rent? Or even worse, arbitrarily changing the clauses in the lease, just because you don't like paying rent? (Or maybe that analogy just sucks, but you are the one who suggested it...)


If one is to pay *fair market value* for the millions of acres of land that First Nations peoples ceeded in treaties, along with their accompanying natural resources (forestry, mining, oil & gas), you honestly think the Canadian government or it's peoples have that kind of money? Get real.


Or is it just because people like you think we are still naive enough to accept less than what this land and it's natural resources are truly worth, since that is what the majority of this country's economy is based upon. Maybe once upon a time, when the Canadian government legally disallowed natives from hiring lawyers for land claims (link, check under 1927), but we have our own aboriginal lawyers now and if we've fought and waited for justice this long, we can wait some more...

posted by Jade Dragon at 2:36 AM on June 6, 2003


I'm sure that all First Nations peoples would just LOVE being told that they are all "charity cases" now

As opposed to being harassed and constrained by the arbitrary and ridiculous Indian Act that you yourself were complaining against? Private charities are accountable and transparent in a way that Bands currently aren't.

First Nations people simply want what was promised to them in the treaties that were signed so long ago.

You want "one hundred pounds of tobacco" annually instead of a couple billion dollars at once? Check this page, and you'll see just how shitty most of the treaties are for the Indians. It's not like we promised millions of dollars in future payments and housing and warm hugs for everyone. The treaties are quite simply bad deals for the Indians. I'm quite happy to pay the Indians a fair sum at current values for the land. I just think that if the Canadian government does so, it ought to buy the land rather than lock itself into agreements for the modern equivalent of "one hundred pounds of tobacco...annually in perpetuity" . I think everyone would win in that case. The Canadian government would save money by disbanding the department of Indian affairs, the Indians would make money even if they did nothing other than take that billion-plus dollars, stuck it in a bank at 4% interest and spent the interest to improve the lives of band members.

As to the comment about paying "rent in perpetuity", well, the Canadian people have been using our land for several centuries, and seem to plan to do so in perpetuity, so why can't they simply pay the "rent" for it?

They can do so. I'd rather they buy it, though, and settle the issue permanently. It's simpler legally, it's simpler financially, it's simpler socially, it's simpler administratively.

Just because you don't like your rental lease years later, does that give you the right to stop paying your rent?

No. At the same time, when I offer to buy the house at a generous rate, I don't expect to be accused of being a "racist" and hating Indians and so on and so forth.

Or even worse, arbitrarily changing the clauses in the lease, just because you don't like paying rent?

This happens all the time. It's part of what I'm in fact complaining about. Sure the Indians have gotten the short end of the stick historically. I'm proposing we settle up our accounts rather than simply perpetuating the same old nonsense. If a lease isn't doing anyone any good, why keep it?

If one is to pay *fair market value* for the millions of acres of land that First Nations peoples ceeded in treaties, along with their accompanying natural resources (forestry, mining, oil & gas), you honestly think the Canadian government or it's peoples have that kind of money? Get real.

So we've gone from being a resource-rich country able to provide for all our citizens to being a country too poor to give people a fair shake in the space of a breath. If the Canadian government needs the money, they can do what they always do - soak corporations for it. I see nothing unreasonable about an oil company using ex-Indian land the government's been renting for them for the past hundred years or so paying the band at least some of the money.

Or is it just because people like you think we are still naive enough to accept less than what this land and it's natural resources are truly worth, since that is what the majority of this country's economy is based upon.

Yes, I sit around with my terrible cabal of racist "retro-genocidal urban shitweasel"s thinking to myself "Hey, how can we rip off the Indians this week?" You're the one arguing in favour of merely accepting a hundred pounds of tobacco in payment for Ontario, going by the treaties. If you don't want a couple billion dollars to spend at your discretion instead, well, all you had to do was say so.

if we've fought and waited for justice this long, we can wait some more..

And mouth nonsense the entire time, it seems. What counts as justice? Financial compensation for the use of your land put at the band's discretion? Or being coddled indefinitely by the nanny-state? I'm proposing the former, and you seem to alternate between complaining about incessantly and longing for the latter. Make up your mind.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 6:45 AM on June 6, 2003


Pseudoephedrine, you asked why your comment (my ancestors decided in a moment of mercy not to slaughter you folks to the last man) was racist and offensive.

Stavros told you off for it, you said he hadn't explained why it was racist. I explained why it was, you said I complained endlessly about the way it was phrased. Then you made a ridiculously fallacious rebuttal to the rest of my post.

I'll pause here so you can look up "fallacious".


And, for the record, I did read the rest of your comment. I thought your idea on how to improve the First Nations situation was impractical, but inoffensive, so no, I didn't bother to take issue with it. And besides, Jade Dragon is handling that side of things.

Perhaps you think by making enough noise about other things we'll be distracted from your inexcusable statement. But you think wrong.

And I hope you enjoy your career at Starbucks. Though I bet you won't be any better at slinging caffeine than you are at logic and modes of reasoning. Fortunately, I'm a Second Cup patron.
posted by orange swan at 7:18 AM on June 6, 2003


Then you made a ridiculously fallacious rebuttal to the rest of my post.

The pot calling the kettle black. What was fallacious about it, other than that it didn't agree with you?

I'll pause here so you can look up "fallacious".

Oh no, a personal attack! Such a witty comment surely proves your point beyond any argument.

I explained why it was

Look, you made a long rambling post filled with tangents and personal attacks. The only part of it that "explained" anything was the first paragraph, and as I pointed out, your interpretation of my comments is simply contrary to the very things I said, and is at best a highly selective and biased reading of what I wrote.

And I hope you enjoy your career at Starbucks

Another personal attack, and like most of them on this thread, not a very accurate one. You're awfully quick to jump on the materialist hierarchy when it suits you, it seems. You know, despite being accused of racism, I'm coming out cleanest in all of this. Demonstrably, Stavros is a thug, Jade Dragon is vitriolically confused, and you're a hypocrite, whereas the best you seem able to do is say that I work at Starbucks (I don't, but then, why let the truth get in the way of a snide remark, eh?) and am a racist because I called buying the Indians off with token payments to unaccountable organisations "rent".
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:26 AM on June 6, 2003


Pesudoephedrine, what I really object to is your comment about how [you're] not willing to pay rent in perpetuity because [your] ancestors decided in a moment of mercy not to slaughter [aboriginals] to the last man.

It was an offensive and racist statement in any context. It's a part of your total argument that is unmitigated by the rest and that you have neither justified or apologized for.

In your embarrasing rebuttal of what I said you used ridiculous analogies (Canadian receving subsidized education and health care = Pig to the slaughter? Come on!) and you compared one of my statements - which even you admitted was unattackable - to a patently vapid one. You said you didn't feel guilty about the government benefits you receive. I didn't ask you to assume guilt. I pointed out that you are receiving your share of benefits and cannot claim to be unfairly paying for someone else's.

I do not see how the comments of mine that you linked to in any way contradict what I have said in this thread. My earlier comments defended the value of my B.A. in English vs. my brother's mechanic's license. And I have a sincere respect for both those types of education. I have never decried the value of a degree in philosophy and I never will. But it's my belief that given your very poor showing in argument and rhetoric here that you are not deriving any benefit from your studies and THAT is why you may very well wind up working at Starbucks long after graduation. (Btw, no disrespect to those who work at Starbucks - before you read into that comment as well).
posted by orange swan at 9:15 AM on June 6, 2003


You know, I've been ignoring this thread for days, watching the comment count grow, and finally I figured "There must be a glorious flamewar going on in there, should be fun to watch," and boy was I rewarded for my curiosity! Kudos to Stavros for his inimitable forceful concision, to orange swan and Jade Dragon for their patience and informative comments, and to Pseudoephedrine for being such an irresistible target and patsy and provoking all this mishegoss. I haven't laughed so hard at a comment in a long time as I did at "You know, despite being accused of racism, I'm coming out cleanest in all of this." Keep on truckin', clean non-racist dude!
posted by languagehat at 9:31 AM on June 6, 2003


It was an offensive and racist statement in any context.

Your only explanation as to why so far has been that it could be construed to mean that I somehow approved of the slaughter of the Indians. Except, of course, I’ve said several times now that I don’t, which means your interpretation is nonsense, as is your accusation of racism. Things are not “offensive in any context”, they are offensive in very specific contexts, and the context you are trying to place it in is demonstrably not the case.

Canadian receving subsidized education and health care = Pig to the slaughter? Come on!

The government gives us education and health-care so that we can supply the next generation with the material wealth to perpetuate the system. Just because you happen to like health care and education doesn’t mean it’s not accurate. The pig likes food, after all.

you compared one of my statements - which even you admitted was unattackable - to a patently vapid one

I said it was unattackable because it was so vapid, and then compared it to an equally vapid one. Yes it would be nice if everyone was rich. That statement means nothing without a plan of action. The current plan of action, as Jade Dragon pointed out and any survey of news articles will show, does not work. You have not proposed an alternate, even hypothetically.

I pointed out that you are receiving your share of benefits and cannot claim to be unfairly paying for someone else's.

I see I have to go over the basics for you, then. You may be interested to know, since you seem unaware of the fact, that money does not appear magically. It has an origin in some activity. So, if we give money to Indian bands, this money does not magically appear from a giant pot of gold coins Chretien keeps hidden in Shawinigan. It is collected from citizens and corporations by a process known as taxation. Leaving aside the fairness or unfairness of taxation qua taxation, in this particular instance it is being collected and put to a use, whereas I think it could be better spent on another one. Your arguments against that proposal boil down to “You’re stupid, nyah!” and “You’re racist, nyah”, which, suffice to say, are not exactly sound.

I do not see how the comments of mine that you linked to in any way contradict what I have said in this thread.

Fair enough. You’re not a hypocrite, merely supremely capable of double-think.

But it's my belief that given your very poor showing in argument and rhetoric here that you are not deriving any benefit from your studies and THAT is why you may very well wind up working at Starbucks long after graduation.

This ought to win an award for “worst ad hoc justification”. It compares favourably to that O’Reilly Polk-Peabody Award thing. You know, for someone who’s been blathering for the past little bit about the quality of my rhetoric and logic, your own command of these disciplines is fairly poor. So far, you’ve misused the term “fallacious”, contradicted yourself several times, confused normative with descriptive statements and vice versa, have tried to assume an authority you don’t have in the disciplines of logic and rhetoric, and have generally demonstrated an inability to do aught else but make breathily uninformed rants littered with personal attacks and red herrings. As the saying goes, if you want to remove the mote from my eye, you might want to take the beam in yours out first.

languagehat> Glad you enjoy it.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 10:25 AM on June 6, 2003


Whatever, Pseudophedrine. Not a single one of the rebuttals above properly address the point I actually made! I suppose you'll reply and accuse me of not proving that, but since I've done so several times with my earlier arguments and YOU come up with rebuttals like explaining to me the origin of taxation dollars I'm only wasting my time. I'll admit I've taken cheap shots, but then, I realized early on I was arguing with someone not capable of intelligently and reasonably representing his "side" of things, and so figured I might as well enjoy myself.

And I have. What a irresistible, preening, little target you are. May we meet again.

But hey, <sinking to your level I don't feel like arguing this in perpetuity just because the ancestors of the First Nations people didn't slaughter yours</sinking to your level.
posted by orange swan at 11:01 AM on June 6, 2003


It appears we're at the "nuh uh" part of the argument. Do us a favour and next time spare us the bloated verbosity. If that's the best you can do, you might as well just copy-and-paste "Nuh uh!" every time and save me the trouble of having to read this nonsense.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:28 PM on June 6, 2003


Mars: Just for the record, I never suggested that anyone should reject anything. I would very much expect that someone who lives pretty close to the border of another country, wouldn't really think too much about the fact that it is indeed another country. I think that's great. Having said that, you still share the same citizenship as New Yorkers whether you like it or not. So when talking about said citizenship, there will be a 'we' involved. You've taken my previous post out of context.
posted by Witty at 11:32 AM on June 9, 2003


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