So what does it mean to be "Canadian" in a topsy turvy world? I think I may have a little better idea of that now, having surfed my way through the fascinating world of the blogs for the past few years.
One thing in particular I've noticed is the difference in attitude or perception (I'm not quite sure of the best word) between Canadians and Americans (as a good counterpoint).
I love my country. I am proud of my country. Most of the time anyway. Although I love to travel and there are many places I might like to spend lengthy times visiting, I wouldn't want to actually live anywhere else. Most people probably feel that way about their country. But what I've noticed in my interactions with Americans online is this. In many of their views, the US is THE BEST Country in The World. Bar None. The Best Place to Live and THE BEST Country. Some (many?) go so far as to say that it's the world's only true democracy, the world's only true ... fill in the blank...
I must confess that I have
Perhaps if I had lived for a significant period of time (not visited, not read or heard about but actually lived) in just about every country on the face of the earth, I would feel that I had the right to make such a judgment. But how can I legitimately judge that which I honestly do not know? And when I use the word "know", I mean really "know", as in intimately, not just think that I know.
But I have come to think that this is a fundamental difference between us and them. Perhaps this American phenomena is not really so much egotistical, at least not in the way I usually think of the word, as it is simply a product of their own unique brand of patriotism. Perhaps they are not trying to be so dismissive of everyone else but are simply speaking their reality, as they see it. In other words, it's not an attempt to be nasty or callous, it's just telling it as (they honestly believe) it is.
Yes, Canadians are patriotic. But not the same way as Americans are. I'm not so sure that we're any less patriotic now (I think prior to 9/11, we may well have been) than they are, I think we just show it in a different way. And that different way is influenced, moulded even, by the fact that we are Canadians. By how we perceive ourselves. How we perceive the rest of the world. And how we perceive our place in that world. The very fact that we are Canadians, what it actually means to be a Canadian, not only shapes what our patriotism looks like but actually defines the very meaning of the term for us.
I'm not sure that I can verbalize it or express it beyond this. It's a strange place for me to be, a place where I *know* what I want to say but can't quite seem to find the words I need to express my thoughts clearly.
Moving on to a lighter note, it appears that a recent survey that I can't now seem to lay my hands on shows that Canadians define ourselves by things like the Maple Leaf, our flag, hockey, the beaver and the Canadarm. So make of that what you will.
And if you're so inspired you can take a quiz and see how you stack up in your opinions against your fellow Canucks, if you be one of us, or just against those strange creatures in the Great White North, if you are not so fortunate as to be from here. And if you don't want to take the quiz, but might like to look at all the results, you can take a gander here.
- in a choice between doctors, firefighters, pilots and pharmacists, 94% of Canadians would put their trust in a firefighter, 91% in pharmacists, 85% in doctors and 81% in airline pilots
- 43% of Canadians feel the world is changing too quickly and this is a major cause of stress
- If we won $10 million, 50% of us would share with family, 39% would donate to charity, 35% would travel and 23% of us would use it to pay off debt. But only 10% would quit their jobs!
- 33% of us hide what we have paid for something from our spouses.
- More people have suffered a broken heart in my home province of Saskatchewan than anywhere else. The place where you are least likely to get a broken heart is Quebec.
- Over one-third of Canadians think Newfoundlanders have the best sense of humour. 13% think Quebeckers are funny while only 1% think Prince Edward Islanders can get a laugh.
- And perhaps most interestingly, British Columbians are most likely to say we are different from the Americans. The province whose residents are least likely to think so is Alberta.
~ HAPPY 141st BIRTHDAY ~
~ CANADA ~