Monday 30 June 2014

Happy Birthday Canada

Happy Birthday Canada!!

July 1 is the day we wear red and white, paint a maple leaf on our face, wave a few flags around and have a fireworks display (a small one). We toss in a celebrity or two, but no one so famous that you’d actually recognize, although last year we did have William and Kate. For about two hours we celebrate our country and the great bounty we get from it--Nanaimo bars, butter tarts and so on. When it’s over, we return home, pack the flags away until the next year and turn on CNN. Oh Canada.


July 1 is  Canada Day north of the border--the longest unprotected border in the world, and the great divide between here and there.

Dear God, why is the border between here and there unprotected given the turbulent times we live in? It's because no one is risking life and limb trekking through the mosquito-infested bush of New Brunswick, or swimming across the Niagara gorge to get from here to there. (If we did, we'd probably apologize for causing such trouble before merrily skipping right back around.) But really, why are Canadians not risking it all to make it from here to there? The simple answer is: because it's better here than there. I debated sharing this information because, obviously, we don't want an influx from there to here, but decided it would be selfish to just keep it here.

So, voilà, merely, ten reasons why it's better here than there:

10. We’re Funny

This doesn't mean our streets are filled with clowns, because they are not, but we do take laughing seriously here. We mostly laugh at the weather, especially in the winter. Laughing circulates the blood and keeps us from becoming icicles stuck to a bus stop in the dead of winter. True to our style, we have a festival devoted to nothing but laughter. The yearly Just for Laughs Festival is held in Montreal and its website is, . That's funny!

9. Two Official Languages

English and French are our two official languages, and we don’t even care that there are millionss of people across this country who don’t speak either one well enough to ask, “Which way to Moose Jaw?” It doesn’t matter. The point is, there are options.

8. Niagara Falls

The view is better from the Canadian side. It just is. Period.

7. Year-long Maternity Leave

Have a baby, take a year off work, get paid while doing so, and have your job waiting for you when you return. We consider this protection for the future, as little Suzy is going to grow up to be the policy maker on, "Caring for the Elderly". We want her to be well adjusted. The bonding she achieves during the first year of her life, will be very important when she's developing policy that will impact the country's gerontological future. We're depending on all the little Suzys' out there. 

6. The Largest Non-Federal Currency in the World

It’s called Canadian Tire Money and we treat it like real currency, socking it away for years, then forgetting where we last left it. But not an Edmonton, Alberta man. No siree! He used his loot to buy his dream lawnmower. Never mind that it took him fifteen years to save up enough Canadian Tire funds. That's irrelevant. Thanks to his savvy savings, he was able to ride off on his new spiffy mower and he received national news coverage in the process. We have no bounds on what makes national news here.

5. We Apologize Like Nobody’s Business 


I'm sorry you may not like this piece, and I'm really sorry that you may not agree with me. It's all just in fun (see #10). There's nothing personal about it. Sorry. 

4. Our Head of State is a Monarch

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

She’s pretty cool and her grand kids are even cooler. She doesn’t ask a lot and keeps pretty much to herself. Occasionally she checks in on us or she sends an envoy over. They make certain we’re still saying ZED instead of ZEE, and that we haven’t dropped the letter U from words like neighbour, colour and humour (she wouldn’t be amused). When they come we have a street party. We wave a few flags again, clap, cheer, then go home and turn on CNN. Oh Canada.

3. We’re Open and Inclusive


Still debating gay marriage? (Yawn!) It’s been legal here for ten years plus. Why, just last week one hundred and ten same-sex couples were, for the sake of efficiency, all married at the same time in Toronto as part of World Pride week. We cheered them on and wished them well. Some of us even cried with joy. Ontario just elected an openly gay woman to run the province. Sexual orientation played no role in her election. It’s such a non-issue. We don’t care. Besides, the community throws one heck of a street party with lots of flags and everyone’s invited. And who doesn't want to be invited to the biggest party in town (with lots and lots of flags)?

2. We’re Generous

Jack Bauer.jpg
We give and give and ask nothing in return. We gave our best comedians (see #10) and we gave everyone's current favourite super hero—Jack Bauer. Maybe not the fictional character, but let me stake claim to Keifer Sutherland. He’s ours. Born to two proudly Canadian parents and the grandson of Canada’s Greatest Canadian (more on this in a bit), Jack Bauer is ours, or at least Kiefer is. Let’s not debate this.

1. Universal Health Care

This is our holy grail no matter what! See a doctor in Halifax, have a chest X-ray in Winnipeg, collapse in a hospital corridor in Vancouver and guess what? Pay nothing. Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific never have to worry about paying for such services. And who do we have to thank for this? Jack Bauer’s grandfather. Well, Keifer Sutherland’s anyway. His grandfather, Tommy Douglas, named Canada’s Greatest Canadian a few years back, started it all. Thanks to Mr. Douglas, no Canadian will ever have to re-mortgage their home to get the health care they need. And that’s a whole lot of stress gone by the wayside, which, right there, makes us healthy.  

There's more. But we'll keep the rest to

Happy Canada Day 

Bonne fête du Canada



  1. Very proud to be living in Canada! Happy Canada Day Maria!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. MY, Thank you for sharing that. I had my lunch room laugh today. Everyone thought I was nuts and wondering what I was laughing about so I told them I was listening to Maria Yates. They didn't get it so I continued to laugh.

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