O Canada

Monetary Figures

MoneyLets do something crazy. Lets do something radical. Lets be bold. Lets redesign our Canadian money.

We've all seen those same faces dozens of times. Quite frankly, I'm getting bored of it. The five dollar bill features Wilfred Laurier, the ten dollar bill features John A. MacDonald, the twenty dollar bill features Queen Elizabeth II, the fifty features William Lyon Mackenzie King and the one hundred dollar bill (which I almost never see) features Robert Borden. I propose the following new faces in place of these tired standards.

$5 - Leslie Nielsen
$10 - The Group of Seven (yes, all of them)
$20 - Margaret Atwood
$50 - Gord Downie (50 Mission Cap, get it?)
$100 - Wayne Gretzky (#99 + Great 1 = 100)

Write your federal MP and support this endeavour. Lets do this thang.

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Boastful Canadians

Boastful CanadiansWhen I saw the headline "Canadian flag causes flap in the U.S.", I had to click on in and read the rest of the story. This article quotes a recent federal report as suggesting Canadians be careful not to appear "boastful" to Americans, who are insecure because of the war in Iraq and admit they are annoyed by northerners showing off the red maple leaf on their luggage when they travel.

This report pretty much reiterates what I commented on regarding the recent article that appeared in the New York Times stating Canada's stance on social issues is opening rifts with the U.S. The best part of this article is a quote from an American that goes exactly like this, "What bugs me about Canadians, if I may, is that they wear that damn patch on their bags, the Canadian flag patch. That way, they differentiate themselves from us."

Yes, Canadian's who are backpacking their way through Europe do tend to wear that damn Canadian flag on their backpack as a way of alerting citizens to the fact they are Canadian and not American. Of course, this is perfectly acceptable so long as the backpacker is Canadian and not American. What bugs me is the large number of Americans who now wear the maple leaf on their backpacks so they will be treated with the same courtesy and respect as the Canadians. This is simply deceptive and dishonest and an insult to the 137 years it took us to earn that kind of respect.

I love America and Americans, but to call us boastful because we don our nation's flag in pride is more than a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

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A United Right

DemocracyThe Canadian Alliance Party of Canada voted overwhelming in favour of merging with the Progressive Conservatives earlier today. It's looking like the Progressive Conservative Party will also vote to ratify the merge. The two parties will form the new Conservative Party of Canada.

Although I don't like the politics of the Canadian Alliance Party, I'm in favour of this "unite the right" campaign. As it stands, Canada is essentially a single party country. With a divided right, there is no chance of another party winning more seats in parliament than Paul Martin's gang. How democratic is that? Every so often we'll march to the polls with the only question being whether the Liberals will win a majority or minority government. A second option keeps the Liberal Party honest. That benefits all Canadians.

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A Distinct Identity

Canadian IdentityToday's New York Times includes an article on the emergence of a more distinctive Canadian identity. The Times views this identity as being more in line with European sensibilities and one that is generating new frictions with the United States. "From gay marriage to drug use to church attendance, a chasm has opened up on social issues that go to the heart of fundamental values."

I couldn't agree more. Since 9/11, the fundamental differences between Canadians and Americans have become more and more evident. In the 80s it almost felt as if Canada was becoming the 51st state. Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulroney were Irish eyes a'smilin' and our cultures were barely different. Today, it barely registers as news that Canada decriminalized marijuana, Vancouver opened North America's first legal safe-injection site, and two provinces have legalized gay marriage. As I wrote back in June, it's been a landmark year for Canadian independence and pride. Canada is cooler.

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Jean Chrétien

Two Leaders No MoreJean Chrétien has chosen to do the right thing. Perhaps my entry of October 14th had something to do with his decision to retire on December 12th, clearing the way for Paul Martin, the newly anointed Liberal leader.

Chrétien had threatened to stay on until February, creating a constitutional crisis for Canada with two men having a rightful claim of leadership. One Prime Minister is plenty, thank you very much.

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Canada at War: Participation and Casualties

South Africa War (1899-1902) - Approximately 7,000 Canadians served; 267 of them gave their lives.

First World War (1914-1918) - Approximately 650,000 Canadians served, including members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served with British forces (Newfoundland was a colony of Great Britain until 1949) and merchant mariners. Of this number, nearly 69,000 gave their lives.

Second World War (1939-1945) - More than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in Canada's armed forces, in Allied forces or in the merchant navy; over 47,000 of them gave their lives.

Korean War (1950-1953) - 26,791 Canadians served in the Canadian Army Special Force; 516 of them gave their lives.

Peacekeeping - Nearly 125,000 Canadians have served in peacekeeping missions over the past 53 years; as of October 2000, 113 Canadians had given their lives in this service.

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Canuck Basketball

Canadian BasketballWhy is it that Canada has such difficulty convincing its few NBA players to play for their nation? Last night we lost a berth in the 2004 Olympic Games when we fell to Puerto Rico by a score of 66-79.

Where was Jamaal Magloire, Rick Fox or even Carl English? As it was, only one Canadian NBA player gave up his summer to help us qualify for the next summer Olympic games. When an American player is invited to join the USA basketball team, they're honoured to represent their country. When a Canadian hockey player is invited to play for the red and white when the best is taking on the best, they too drop all for the cause. Why is Canadian basketball the exception?

We won't be in Athens, but don't place the blame on Steve Nash. This man is a Canadian basketball god and single handedly carried our team into the final four. This product of Victoria, BC is far and away the greatest basketball player our nation has ever produced. We're not worthy.

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Cool Canada

O Canada!In my blog entry of June 21st, I expressed why I believe 2003 has thus far been a landmark year for Canadian independence and pride. I referred to our unwillingness to follow the US into Iraq, our motion to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriages were legal.

A colleague of mine just sent me a copy of an excellent column recently appearing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. You can read it here and I strongly recommend that you do. Thanks for passing it on, Walter. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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O Canada!

O Canada!Canada bashing has become a popular sport of late. With no defense to speak of and an unwillingness to follow our giant neighbours to the south on their way into Iraq, we've been labeled as traitors and worse.

As I see it, we were right. Sure our Prime Minister comes across as an arrogant buffoon at times, but he wanted to see "da proof" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and he wasn't buying what Powell was selling. "Da proof" wasn't there. It turns out Chretien was right. If Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, rest assured they'd have been discovered by now. Canada's conscious is clear.

Furthermore, the wheels are in motion to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The US doesn't like it, but we don't care. Smoking a little weed won't get you a criminal record and this is a good, sensible thing. Canada progresses and leaves America in it's smoke trails.

Finally, Chretien said last week that he wouldn't challenge the ruling from Ontario's Supreme Court that same-sex marriages were legal. Here, here. Homosexuality is not a crime. It's time a gay person is granted the same rights as a straight person. Canada becomes the third nation in the world to allow same-sex marriages and I've never been so proud.

2003 is almost half over and in my opinion it's been a landmark year for Canadian independence and pride. In a previous blog entry on Victoria Day, I mentioned it's time we stop acting like Britain's bitch. Well, from what this Canadian sees, we're no longer going to be America's bitch either.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. With what, we're not sure, but if I want to marry a dude and smoke a fatty to celebrate, it's all good.

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Thanks Vicky

Victoria DayHere in Canada, Monday is Victoria Day. This holiday is in celebration of Queen Victoria's Birthday.

Hold on just a moment. We get a holiday devoted to some Queen of Britain who's been dead for over a hundred years? Surely we can do better than that. Where is our Canadian pride?

I suggest we re-brand Monday's holiday Terry Fox day, or Wayne Gretzky day or John Candy day or even Don Cherry Day.

We are no longer Britain's bitch. It's time we stop acting like it. Just don't call me early on Monday morning. I'm celebrating the Sovereign's birthday.

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