Canadians have always had a problem distinguishing ourselves from Americans.
A quote that’s often used to demonstrate our differences came from raconteur and historian Pierre Berton. He said “a Canadian is someone who can make love in a canoe.” The image is bold but somewhat dated, after all, when was the last time you played slap and tickle or dare I say ravaged your squeeze in a canoe? When was the last time you were even in a canoe?
In my opinion what separates us from Yanks can be found on a billboard in Erie Pennsylvania.
It goes like this “we have…stun guns, fireworks, pepper spray and the best homemade fudge in town.” I didn’t make this up; who could?
In my opinion, you can look across Canada and never find a sign that would so define us.
What the sign really says is “need to zap a felon, your neighbour, your dog, wife or pastor just for the fun of it?…then we got what ‘y’all need.’
Would you like to immobilize and near blind someone who has seriously pissed you off? …then come on in ‘cause your problems go away with ‘Junior’s Pepper Spray.’
Want to celebrate the fourth of July every day? Want to toss firecrackers with the power of dynamite at people loitering in malls?…if so we got the biggest selection of bangers in town.
And do you need to get fatter? Then come splurge on our sinful chocolate fudge…made with extra sugar and tons of butter and lard…wait ‘til your sugar-high kicks in, then go and maim the first person you see!
The sign advertises Americas love of ‘guns and butter’…or tasers and fudge, I suppose.
Now we Canadians don’t ‘get’ (thank god) our neighbours love of things that go zap or boom. Our unease with guns and weaponry of all kinds is the biggest thing that distances us from them.
Is there anything else, you ask? Why yes, our best friends have a genuine fear of government. As we look to ‘huge’ intellects and sterling leaders like Steve or Iggie to fix what’s wrong (doh!) our southern pals most often look to private sector innovation to provide them with an easier life.
In short Americans see government of any stripe as the problem rarely the solution. They value the individual more than the state; not us though.
Ask yourself why presidents failed to produce health care reforms? Even Obama’s courageous plan to provide better health care to the poor will be much watered down by the time self interested politicians modify it.
But we’ll never quite get why our best friends are tepid at best toward public health care.
Now to recap, they go ape-S*** if their government wants to mess with guns or with a health care system that most Americans were comfortable with.
In Canada however, we’ll gladly lay down our lives for public health care as we make silly lists (the gun registry) to protect us from long guns…while handguns continue to kill.
So for them it’s “stun guns, fireworks, pepper spray and fudge…while for us it’s “tolerance and Timbits”. Vive la difference!