Our friends to the north, in the great nation of Canada, are celebrating “Canada Day” today, Friday, July 1st. Frequently referred to as “Canada’s Birthday”, it’s the annual celebration of the joining of what had been three separate British colonies – Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada – on July 1, 1867. Most Americans aren’t even aware there’s such a holiday, and many of those who are aware just assume that it’s another instance of Canadians trying to be like their big brother to the south, trying to find a holiday to line up with the Fourth of July.
After all, Americans began celebrating Thanksgiving years before President Lincoln declared it a National Holiday in 1863, whereas it didn’t become a Canadian holiday until 1879. Both countries celebrate Labor Day, but Canadians insist on including the letter “u” in “labour” where it has no business being. Additionally, in the U.S., we have Memorial Day and Canada has Victoria Day with a similar timing on a Monday in late May. But this year, let’s give our neighbors (and no, we will not include a “u” and call you our “neighbours”) the respect they are due and tip our hats.
Before heaping praise on our friends, we should acknowledge that there’s plenty to laugh about when it comes to Canada – and laugh we do – with levels of American mockery somewhat more than that of New Jersey, but a tad less than that of Cleveland. The animated TV series South Park may be the most relentless in ridiculing Canadians, and if you haven’t seen the episode “Canada on Strike”, you’ve missed out.
For the most part, Canadians talk like us but have certain idiosyncrasies that are clear giveaways. In Canada, if you leave the house to go “out and about”, they’ll tell you they’re “oot and aboot”. Their currency looks like Monopoly money and their national sport is lacrosse, not hockey… go figure. Any discussion in which a fellow Canuck, who happens to be a celebrity, is mentioned will automatically result in the Canadian pointing out that fact. “Ryan Gosling? He’s Canadian, you know. Mike Myers? He’s also Canadian.” Our guess is that the Canadian education system actually teaches the subject as part of their curriculum.
It’s not just Canadian culture that we can joke about, their government is also easy prey. At one point during the tenure of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada faced the very real possibility of not having a formed government, in which case a “governor” appointed by Queen Elizabeth II of England would have needed to step in and take the reins.
As a dominion of the United Kingdom, the British Monarch is more than just a homely face on their paper money, she’s technically their ruler. And let’s not kid ourselves: current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a total clown, not to mention a tyrannical clown. Sorry Canada, but once he scolded the female questioner at that Q&A a few years ago for using the term “mankind” instead of “peoplekind”, we in the U.S. can no longer take him seriously.
Yes, indeed, it’s fun to laugh at the expense of our northern friends, but we also have a lot for which to be grateful.
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For starters, Canada is our second biggest trade partner, coming in just slightly less than China. We take this trade relationship for granted, but it really is quite remarkable. The largest economy in the world and the fourth-largest country by land mass (the U.S.) trading with the tenth largest economy and second-largest country by land mass (Canada) with little squabbling and controversy. Both NAFTA and USMCA had detractors and got some negative attention, but ultimately both were achieved amicably. Crossing the border into or out of Canada still requires one to go through customs, and many would point to the arrangement with the countries in the European Union as the model of efficiency.
But crossing our border with Canada is a relatively painless experience, particularly when it comes to commerce, and sacrificing that minor inconvenience for both nations to maintain their sovereignty is an easy choice. At this point, anyone looking to mimic the EU in any regard needs to brush up on the issues that led to Brexit. Our border with Canada is solid and workable, strong but manageable. Yes, there could always be better security on a border that exceeds 5,500 miles, but overall it works very well.
In addition to our current, mundane, everyday interactions with Canada, they are also a true friend that can be counted on in times of trouble. As a member of NATO, Canada is a key military power and an ally that has had our backs many times in the past. On September 11, 2001, when our country was under attack, it was Canada that stepped up to allow our commercial airliners to land safely in their country until we could get the situation under control. In the aftermath of that tragedy, Canada was there to support us in our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But perhaps the most overlooked contribution to American efforts by our Canadian friends was what they did in World War II, particularly on the beaches of Normandy. On D-Day, the single greatest military undertaking in world history, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and the 2nd Canadian Armored Brigade fought bravely alongside the Americans and British.
So, when we reflect on the Greatest Generation, the World War II generation, and acknowledge that we are all standing on the shoulders of those giants, let’s be sure to remember that Canada was right there with us, sacrificing their brave young men to defeat the worst example of evil the world has ever known. May God bless those Canadian heroes.
A conversation with a Canadian regarding our mutual histories will quite probably lead to the Canadian counterpart pointing out that during the War of 1812, Canadians not only invaded our capital, they temporarily occupied the White House and had some fun trashing it. Feel free to check on the accuracy of their claim, but it’s true… unfortunately.
In this situation, we would recommend a retort that includes any number of topics for derision, of which only a handful was mentioned earlier. There are countless other subjects you can bust their chops about, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. But if you have such a conversation with them today, July 1st, let it pass. Just smile and nod, and when the conversation is complete, shake their hand and thank them. And say Happy Birthday Canada!
P.F. Whalen is a conservative author at TheBlueStateConservative.com. His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Human Events, the Western Journal, and American Thinker. Follow him on GETTR; he does not do Facebook and Twitter.
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