I read all sorts of articles about Canada and Canadians in Australian magazines and newspapers. And I speak to many people who have visited Canada or at least take notice of the travel posters. There seems to be a general view that Canadians are polite and quiet. Actually, you can read that as…dull. I cannot help but think that it is a smokescreen put up by the Canadian government to lull the rest of the word into a false sense of security. I’m not sure why this is done – Ottawa never seems to have plans for world domination. In fact, I don’t even think they really have plans for dominating Quebec.
Of course sometimes the screens that form this false front are shifted and you get to see glimpses of the real Canada. The sniper from the Canadian Army who makes the longest-distance kill ever with a rifle. The Sergeant At Arms for the Canadian parliament who shoots a terrorist dead with a pistol inside the parliament building. The Vancouver hockey riot. And the periodical Montreal or Toronto mass student murder.
If you look closer and know the signs you can see other agents of Canadian horror amongst us in Australia ; the foulmouthed visitor to a trade conference who makes the delegates squirm in their seats, the executive monster lurching through local boardrooms, the marooned ski instructor. For that matter there is…me. I have not had an opportunity to stalk through the parliament buildings with a pistol…or a writ…but I have applied for permission from the police for a pea shooter and a bag of dried peas and I plan to cause a reign of terror at the local swimming bath change rooms.
I will say this for Canada – it is an equal opportunity pit of horror. Immigrants from Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean are given ample assistance to cause trouble, along with native Canadian indians, women, and a number of unfriendly sects from central and eastern Europe. No-one need feel constrained when it comes to complaining about English-speaking caucasian men and no-one ever IS constrained. The Trans-Canada Guilt Line was completed a long time before the railway or the highway, and a great deal more traffic goes over it every century.
Now, some of the people here in Australia actually do know the truth. You can tell – when they find out you are from Alberta or New Brunswick or Newfoundland they leap up with a squawk and run away. A sensible reaction, I must say. Others fall into the trap of thinking they are being clever by saying how they could tell we are Canadians because we don’t sound like Americans. The fact that we do sound like Americans escapes them – they willingly go deaf just to ingratiate themselves with us. Fat chance – we will still strip them of their assets, trousers, and sense of security as soon as it becomes convenient.
They have no idea how bad it is going to become. One day we will stop slapping them with Cirque de Soleil and let the rest of Quebec loose on them. Then, when Montreal is empty, we’ll change the locks and they won’t be able to get back in…