Happy Canada Day 2013 or Do Not Kill the Wallflowers

This is a slightly edited version of a post I wrote last year–

“Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place…they
are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom.” ~ an Australian

Our egos are intact. We are proud Canadians. We make fun of ourselves
in amusing diatribes casting ourselves as beer drinkers and puck
shufflers. One of our national symbols is an ornery rodent with a fierce
overbite. The other is the “maple leaf forever” (though I suspect that
our love and loyalty to the proud maple is the fact that the tree
produces that lovely amber nectar known to all of us who love pancakes:
maple syrup.)

As a true “too modest to toot our own horn” Canadian, I am turning to
an outside source or two to brag about our accolades. We tend to define
ourselves with tongue in cheek stand-up comedy routines, but we are
much more than that. My sources, an Australian dentist and a British journalist see
us as brave unsung heroes.

First, the dentist. He spied an ad in the news that someone in a
foreign country (the country was named, but my journalistic instincts
{or spidey senses} lead me to believe  it would not be fair to name it)
was offering a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian, so he developed a
definition that would throw would-be assassins off our scent. When you
read his description of us, you will understand:

“A Canadian can be English or French, or Italian, Irish, German,
Spanish, Polish or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian,
Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani
or Afghan. A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot or

A Canadian’s religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish,
Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none….the key difference is that in Canada
they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

A Canadian is generous and (they) have helped out just about every
other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in
return.  Canadians welcome the best of everything…but they also welcome
the least, the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected.

You can try to kill a Canadian, if you must, as other bloodthirsty
tyrants in the world have tried, but in doing so you may be killing a
relative or a neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular
people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human
spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be
a Canadian.”

All that and we play a fierce game of hockey too. Whether or not you
agree with everything the Australian says, there is nary a word about
beer, beavers or maple syrup. It is nice to be defined by who we are and
what we do and not just by clichés and national symbols.

British journalist, Kevin Myers also provides a grand nod to Canadians in an article he
wrote for the London Sunday Telegraph. Titled, “Salute to a brave and
modest nation” he describes Canadians as perpetual “wallflowers”. At
first glance, this does not seem particularly complimentary. But in
context, it does remind us that we do not just do the right thing for
glory and recognition.

Myers says, “Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the
edge of the hall, waiting for someone to…ask her for a dance. A fire
breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers and
suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing
resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once
helped glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet

“Canada,” Myers states emphatically, “repeatedly does the honourable things for honourable motives.”

While Myers does a nice job of complimenting Canada, his one downfall
is that he pities the fact that we go unrecognized. Majestic Canada and
her subjects need no one’s sympathy. Recognition is nice, but it is
beside the point.

On July 1st, Canadians celebrate this great country
of which we are blessed to be a part. Happy Canada Day, and as the
dentist down under said so eloquently: “Keep your stick on the ice.”

Maple syrup houses

Maple syrup houses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And to our neighbours to the south, Happy 4th of July ~ you have many a proud tradition to celebrate too!

Published in: on July 1, 2013 at 9:35 am  Comments (40)