Ashley MacIssac: Canadian
“Sleepy Maggie“; ‘Hi, How Are You Today?’ (1996)
Ten Essential Facts Aboot Canada:
01) Hockey — Part One: We play Hockey. When we’re not playing Hockey it’s summer, that’s when we watch the Canadian Football League (CFL). The CFL is different from the American NFL in that the CFL is fast, end zone celebrations are encouraged, a 3000 yard season will make you a backup QB, the only 300lb men are in the stands, there are three downs to make 10 yards, the field is 10 yards longer and 10 yards wider, and it’s just so much more fun to watch. The CFL’s trophy is the Grey Cup and it has been around since 1909. It’s not Hockey, but it’s close.
02) It’s Not The Length… It’s The Width: Canada is bigger than your country… unless you’re Russian. Jeezus Keerighst Russia is huge. Canada: 9.97 million sq km; European Union: 3.97 million sq km; America: 5.69 million sq km. Canada’s seventh largest province, Newfoundland, is almost twice the size of the United Kingdom. The UK’s population is around 66 million… Newfoundland’s population is aboot 500 thousand… each one of whom will adopt you as soon as your plane touches down. Canada’s population is 33 million. We’ve got a lot of room here.
04) Canadians Invent Stuff: Among other stuff, Canadians are responsible for Hollywood (seriously, that Hollywood was created by Canadians), the pacemaker, basketball, the Wonderbra (you are so welcome), Pablum, radio (yes, radio was invented by a Canadian) and insulin as a treatment for diabetes.
05) Hockey — Part Two: We play a lot of Hockey. The highest achievement in Hockey is winning the Stanley Cup (since 1893). A team must win four of seven games in four seven game series played over five weeks. Then they fill the Stanley Cup with beer and drink from The Stanley Cup. Both major Canadian trophies are giant steel Cups. This is no coincidence.
06) Beavertails, Toques, Pot, Health Care & Greenpeace: We wear toques; we eat BeaverTails; in the Spring we eat liquid sugar that comes from trees and live on the buzz until next year; our winters are usually insanely cold, but thanks to Europe and America… and us, they’re getting warmer — we started this whole Climate Change Conference Stuff, but now we’re
unofficially out of Kyoto… which is okay because so is everyone else; our weed is plentiful and basically legal in small amounts… like less than a pound (I’m surprised more NBA and NFL players don’t live here in the off season); gay marriage and gay divorce? Check and check; the largest Gay Pride Parade in the whole entire world; abortion is so freaking legal here it’s retroactive — don’t like the way your teenage kid turned out? Zzzzaap; free and full health care coverage: Heart Transplant? Free. Lung Cancer? Free. Brain Surgery? Free. Your Friend Smacked A Shovel Upside Your Head? Free. Sea Shepherds and Greenpeace? Canadian. What else… oh yeah, the best fucking weed on the planet. My friend grows it next to his potatoes in his backyard. He smokes aboot three grams a fucking day… the guy cannot remember where he parked his house.
07) We Like To Lend A Hand: After the Hurricane Katrina Disaster the first Search & Rescue team into Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish was Canadian. The ‘Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue Team’ from Vancouver, British Columbia got there two days after Katrina hit.
08) Our Origins Are Cloaked In
Mystery Confusion: The Dominion Of Canada was created in 1867, Newfoundland joined up in 1949. We got our own flag in 1967 1965 (oops), and our own Constitution and Charter Of Rights And Freedoms in 1982. The Canadian Province of Quebec, with a population of 7 million, has yet to sign the constitution. It’s all very weird.
But not as weird as this… follow along if you can:
Canada was founded 350 years ago by the French and their Native allies; who were then defeated 200 years later by the British and their Native allies; who were then joined by British-American refugees who had just lost the American Revolution to a bunch of… well, Americans and their French allies; the British-American refugees then allied with the British-Canadians and their Native allies who in turn joined up with the French-Canadians and their Native allies and together they beat the shit out of the Newly Armed & Famous Americans during the War Of 1812. Or, as we sometimes refer to it, “That Week We Burned The White House To The Ground” or “TWWBTWHTTG Day”.
After that was done all of the territories in Canada thought it’d be a good idea to permanently team up, and so Canada was borne. See? Easy.
09) Hockey — Part Three: Everything you’ve ever heard aboot Canada and Hockey is not even close to how much we play and watch Hockey. Really. This is from 1997. The Detroit Red Wings vs. Colorado Avalanche. It’s the first time beloved Red Wing Hero, Kris Draper — who was devastatingly wounded the previous year by The Dastardly Avalanche Bastard, Claude Lemiuex — will face the person who nearly crippled his career. It was an ugly and bloody grudge match, and one of the most exciting Hockey games I’ve ever seen.
10) We’ve Saved Europe Twice: Canada sent a lot of soldiers to defend The Motherlands of France and England in both WWOne, where Canadian General Arthur Currie basically won the whole thing by himself, and WWTwo, and were in both from the beginning. We were also in the Korean War, we skipped Vietnam but close to 30,000 Canadians went South and joined up with the American military. In return we got a shit load of American hippies. We skipped out on Granada and The Falklands as well… we were busy those months.
Canadians also invented Peacekeeping and wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the UN. NATO… yeah, we were a founding nation. We have a couple thousand soldiers doing something good right now in Afghanistan. We were there in Gulf War One, but politely declined for the Sequel… oh yeah, we did some crazy-heroic shit in Bosnia as well. We were in Somalia, but that was a fucking disaster… Special Forces are not traffic cops.
I think that’s aboot it… oh yeah, my pater-grandfather served on The Hood, my mater-grandfather was a fighter pilot, his youngest brother flew bombers over Germany, and his oldest brother was a full-on beginning-to-end member of The Devils Brigade. Fuck yeah.
Bonus Thing — 1972, Canada vs. Soviet Union: This is one of Canada’s non-military defining moments and it was all aboot Hockey. Game 8. 1972. Canada v. The Soviet Union: Henderson Scores Baby. Today the boys move up to 20mph, the vulcanized rubber puck is aboot the size of a fist and can move up to 100mph… honest-to-your-higher-being, how can anyone sit and watch soccer or baseball… and what the fuck is Cricket all aboot? A game where nothing happens over several days and the fans are a mile away from… what do they call that? Home plate? The Sticks Area? There’s got to be some kind of connection between Europe’s love of non-contact, prancing sports and their inclination for starting global warfare… I’m sure of it.