CANADA: A PRIMER (LETTERS)

To Americans contemplating emigrating to Canada, my advice: wait, it is not quite the right time, but could be shortly.

Despite truly strenuous, and likely redoubling, US efforts, Global Warming will likely not improve the Canadian climate sufficiently within the next four years to convert Canada to the Paradise on Earth it is so clearly destined to be.

As an urgent interim step, therefore, I propose that we Canadians enter into immediate negotiations with Bush, to annex the current US West Coast states (north of the Los Angeles county line), ....offering also to take most of the New England states (north of Connecticut) as a favour, ...but only if Canadian refusal is a deal-breaker for the plan to relieve the Americans of most of their West Coast. As an added inducement, we could re-name Quebec, "France", declare it a bombing range, and lease it to the Americans, who clearly need the practice.

This brilliant stratagem (ahem!) will ensure a permanent Republican majority for the new Born Again United States of America (BAUSA), while at the same time significantly improving the Canadian surfboard, viticulture, and lobster industries. In addition, this move would provide Canadian snow-birds more currency-convenient and politically simpatico alternatives to the BAUSA states of Florida and Arizona. A further incidental benefit for the Americans is that traffic accidents and car insurance rates in the latter two states should decline dramatically. --Duncan, Santa Barbara, Calif.


I read your Canada story. I am an expatriate. It was hilarious! --Tom


Please let Oracle Jones, of Bellingham, Washington know that the statement "The only other part of the US that lies north of Canada is Niagara Falls, NY" is incorrect. When I look out my 16th floor office window to Windsor, Ontario, I can plainly see the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, and can see the land mass of Windsor is south. But, since we have maps here in Detroit, and can read them, I have authoritative proof. --Kathe, Detroit


Hi Politex, 

  You spelled Canada right, not bad for a Texan but ... 

  Never mind Washington, actually the majority of people in Canada live South of Portland Oregon, including most of the populations of Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. 

  If you want to know your future, look at Canada today. You'll be as liberal as us in a decade or two and will clean up after your dogs :-). Of course by then we will be even more liberal and will not walk on grass without apologizing to it. 

Loonies and toonies. Forget about being as funny as us.  

  I once saw poutine in Montreal but I would never try it. Fatty meats and lard-- you do know that the fattest nation on Earth is the US? I suspect beaver is a staple in the US, too! 

  We are the 4th largest car manufacturer in the world and produce over 3 million a year, but we don’t design many of them. 

  Rain, bowling? Snow, hockey! Just kidding, we do other stuff like surfing…. In the winter. http://aco.ca/extremesports/wintersurf.htm

  The Queen is still a figurehead, but we are not part of Britain. They don’t even like us as much as you guys. Well blow me down with a duck fart; I just realized we don’t have any friends.

  Religion, I agree with you; it’s getting downright scary watching what is going on in the US. Is Bush going to stop with finishing the crusades or does he think it's God’s plan for him to bring on Armageddon?

  First Nations People, that is a tough one, but our courts are on track to hand the entire country back to its rightful owners, piece by piece. --Keith


I was just up there picking apples the other day. I recommend Canadian Bacon as a great primer on all thing Canada. It's hard to tell where the USA stops and Canada begins, so it wouldn't be much of a shock [to move there]. -- Peter, Carol Maya & Joleil Whitney, East Burke, VT


Politex, Some of your correspondents are typically Toronto-centric.  Even the Globe and Mail had an article recently telling Torontonians they should be ashamed of themselves for their self-satisfaction since Vancouver is leading the way -- where? Anyway, you can  get poutine in a number of Quebec style restaurants in Vancouver, and there is even an upscale version in Feenie's Bistro on Broadway operated by the continent famed Lumiere.   -- Cyril


Politex, Hilarious! I'm forwarding to my friend at the Canadian consulate. --Ward Sutton, Village Voice


I just finished your article on the possibility of moving to Canada and felt I had to correct a statement you made. There is NO part of Canada south of Bellingham, WA. The only other part of the US that lies north of Canada is Niagara Falls, NY. --Oracle Jones, Bellingham, Washington


Hi Jerry... the guy who wrote you from Bellingham about his take on Geography. Victoria, is in fact south of Bellingham. I'm not sure where he got his map, but mine was published in the U.S. If you want more humorous anecdotal stuff re the "Canadian" difference, I'll send you some. Problem is we must now be selective re who we let in. All the terrorist suspects that the Bushies claim came from Canada, who actually were in the good old U.S. of A., could end up here. --Stan


Politex, If you are trying to be clever you're not making it. Instead, you are going to encourage your countrymen to maintain their general ignorance of Canada, ignorance so profound that Americans cannot understand why it is 70 degrees in Bellingham but only 20 in nearby Vancouver!  As an ex-American, I can certainly comment on the strengths and ills of both countries. When I left the U.S. over 30 years ago my liberal friends felt I was a bit crazed; now they tell me what a smart SOB I was as they witness the descent of their country into the role of  international bad guy. Perhaps a reasonable measure of the merits of both countries is to pass through passport control overseas.  A Canadian passport usually elicits a smile. Not so for the Americans. You have become a pariah nation-rich, powerful, ignorant and filled with hubris.   --Wes Tietzen, Sechelt, BC


Politex, Funny stuff ! --Bush Watch Reader


  Politex, Don't Blame Canada!

If Michael Moore and Ralph Nader love Canada, is that any reason to hate us north of the 49th? I know you're trying to play the wry and witty tourist--or the innocent abroad. But you should run your material past a Canadian or two first. I have no idea what the joke about transportation was all about. If you were looking for Poutine in West Vancouver you were in the wrong part of the country; the best poutine is in Quebec or Ottawa. It is, properly speaking, fresh cut french fried potatoes topped with cheese curds and gravy. A sure guarantee of a heart attack at 45; best downed with a Pepsi.

Canada is NOT part of the United Kingdom and never was; it is part of the Commonwealth, which does have the Queen as its titular head.

British Columbia is hardly representative of Canada and has something of the same reputation as California does in the USA; a land of extremes and otherworldliness.

Before making jokes about aboringal issues you should consult the Assembly of First Nations--and get some recordings of the radio show DEAD DOG CAFE, which is at least funny.

As for tweedy used booksellers from Britain rambling on and on. Well, you were in BC, weren't you? BC booksellers are notorious here. Just ask about the late Bill Hoffer and you'll be lucky to escape the ensuing conversation alive. Many of the booksellers in Ontario, however, are actually Americans who came here after Nixon won his 2nd term. You will never find more book selection, new or used, anywhere in the world than there is in Toronto, Ontario. Visit the International Author's Festival next month and you'll see.

But for the benefit of your next visit please note:
British Columbia is our Lotusland, Alberta is our Texas Wannabe, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are our socialist heartland, Northern Ontario is our Alaska, Southern Ontario is our Mid-West, Toronto our NYC, Quebec is our France, New Brunswick our Maine, Prince Edward Island our Cape Cod, Nova Scotia our New England, and Newfoundland is UNIQUE and a treasure to behold with a people that can charm and infuriate in the same breath. The Yukon, NWT, and Nunavut are the REAL NORTH and have a separate and distinct identity that has more in common with Siberia or Greenland than with Alaska.

I'm not sure why you're dissing Canada. Is it our cheap prescription drugs? Our stance on Iraq? Or just that we can elect conservatives who still like Welfare, Universal Healthcare, and Public Broadcasting? I enjoy your site and visit it often, but why are Americans so parochial? Why do Americans come to the defence of their country even when its about something indefensible? 9/11 did not kill American irony--Americans were never ironical in the first place. The great thing about Canada is that we are always ironical. You can't help being ironic when you're a former colony of France and Britain and feel dominated by the USA; a Canadian can see Uncle Sam and John Bull for who they really are. And frankly I prefer small town Canada with its truly Cosmopolitan ways.

Now, if you really want to see Canada, go to Toronto and then take the train to Ottawa and visit the Governor General's husband John Ralston Saul and ask him to explain the country to you. Or call up CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge and ask him. Or comedian Dave Broadfoot, who just published his memoirs. Or read the late Peter Gzowski's books. Or speak to Margaret Atwood. None of this is as impossible as you might think. In America, you really can't talk to big names, but nothing is impossible in Canada.

Just Don't Blame Canada for George W. Bush. And if you'd like to move here, well, why not? --Dr. Dee

Read CANADA: A PRIMER

to be continued...

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