Quintessential Canadian Contest: Canada bites


I guess Canadians aren’t so kind and gentle after all.

Apparently, some of us bite.

In yesterday’s blog, I suggested that Oprah Winfrey’s producers might want to do some research before embarking on their quest to find the “quintessential Canadian”, who — according to O’s producers–  lives in Montreal, speaks French at the dinner table and clears the dishes just in time to fanatically watch hockey on the tube.

Apparently, I am not the only Canadian with an opinion on the subject.

In the interest of objective journalism, I took to Oprah’s message board to sample some of the reaction.

Here is a look:

Diane from Montreal: The English Canada and the French Quebecoise are not at all alike!

Notice the French responded to you warmly and sweetly while the “English ” badgered you for not choosing them ! That’s Canada in a nutshell!

P.S. Look at how “the home of hockey ” acted when they recently lost the Stanley Cup. (Ouch!)

They (The English) are not “polite” at all to Americans. They constantly and consistently have chips on their shoulders! Give me Quebec any day! Far friendlier and classier!

Harmony: I just want to say that you should experience every bit of this great country! I love my country because we are a loving and tolerant nation. I feel lucky to have been born in Canada. We are a people loving country with diversity.. But if you talk to most they will say they love a Timmies in the a.m. and Hockey Night in Canada. Tell me why do the great hockey players end up on USA teams when they are not from the city they are playing for? What’s with that?

Vivian: Life in Canada does not differ from the US at all. We are living exactly the same as Americans. Just compare white to white collar workers and blue to blue collar workers. It is identical. City folk same as US city folk and country folk same as country folk. In the major cities we are extremely diversified and I like to think, very accepting of other cultures. The smaller towns, people are a lot less accepting but I think that tone is the same wherever you go in North America.

Maria:Oprah, I would say that life in the province of Québec is very different from life in the rest of Canada. Montreal is like a small New York City, multicultural and very open. But, it’s not only the French language that makes the difference. We pay a lot of income taxes but we have good services: good public schools, good health services (free) even if we complain about them…, university fees are the lowest in Canada, daycare is seven dollars a day for everybody regardless of your income, you can take a year off for maternity, the father can take five weeks off, etc, etc. So we pay more but live in a very social democratic place. And that is the biggest difference. Because those are real things that make your day-to-day easier.

Harmony (again, bless her):  My husband is Acadian, French-speaking Nova Scotian and Catholic Church and eating the big supper meal at lunch time is their norm. Just some thoughts. And no we Canadians do not live in Igloos and we do not ski all year long. In most of Canada, our summers are hot!!

Helen: I have lived in Montreal for the vast majority of my life. I am very happy that I am raising my family in Montreal. Our three children will get a taste for all cultures and all peoples. Further more this is an affordable city in which to raise a family as in our province we have universal day care which means that I get to send my kids to a great day care and I pay seven dollars a day for that privilege.

Our middle son was born with spina bifida and his two very complex surgeries and on-going health care has all been taken care of by our universal health care program. I have no problems paying my taxes as I live somewhere there is a safety net for those who need it.

Bev: To say that someone from Montreal could represent the quintessential Canadian is akin to saying someone from Alaska or Hawaii would represent the quintessential American. It is a vast country with many different cultures and customs. Those of us that live in West ( BC) often feel far removed from Eastern Canada.

Mary Jane: Most Americans know very, very little about Canada, its geography and culture which is unfortunate as we are their closest neighbour and trading partner. There is much more to Canada than Montreal however. Canada is such a vast and diverse country full of wonderful people, places and things.

Connie:  I have observed that Montreal uses less paper than we do. They seem to show affection towards their children that is heart warming. It is cute to see the little ones with the daycare workers and parents.

Lisa: Why Montreal in Canada? Why not Edmonton or Toronto?

Josée: An important thing about province is that you can send your preschoolers to daycare for 7$ a day. These facilities are gouvernment subsidised.(sic) Therefore, most women have a full-time job.

Cathy: Why Montreal? What about the rest of Canada?

Claudia: Hey Oprah! I was born in Montreal and I have to say it’s the best city in the world! Montreal is the Paris of North America. Most people are bilingual if not trilingual! And we have some of the best restaurants in the world. 
 
Bonnie: The quintessential Canadian does not live in Montreal. Life there is very different from the rest of Canada. Why not compare Montreal with Vancouver or Victoria or Regina? Think about how different New York is from Santa Barbara and then multiply that by the language and culture difference.
 
Marie-Chantal:  We take a year off for maternity leave. Pate chinois and tourtiere are some of our traditional meal.
 
Jacki: While Montreal is a very beautiful city it is hardly “typical Canadian” – but it is a passionate warm city with lots of spirit and vitality…and amazing restaurants!!
 
Nadine: Montreal is an American Paris. It’s a melting pot of the old and the new world. People coming from Outside the American continent and love it because it has some of the old flavor mixed with the bigness of the America. And people of America find it cozy and to their standards while being different and European. Montrealers are open, nice, easy to talk to, worried about the environment and worried about balancing work and family.
 
Lorraine: Dear Oprah….it’s all about the great food, pizza, smoked meat and steamies (steamed hot dogs) You haven’t lived until you have spent time in Montreal!
 
 
 Marcia: You could not have picked a more “un-Canadian” city. Montreal is part of a province and people who wish very much to separate from Canada. Come to the most beautiful province in Canada…Beautiful British Columbia, and we’ll teach you all about Canada…and you’ll be able to understand us, as we speak English!!!
 
Shannon:OPRAH….COME TO WINNIPEG~~~
 
Josée: My gay friends would tell you that Montreal is totally gay friendly! Here, gay marriage is an institution and holding hands in public is fine. Of course, we do have our share of judgemental persons, but we like to keep them quiet 😉
 
Shannon: Who ever wrote that Montreal is a totally un-Canadian city clearly has a very limited view of who Montrealer’s really are!! For 1 NOT ALL Quebecers want to separate from Canada.. That was and is a very small population of the province. And second we DON’T all speak French.. Most of us speak BOTH languages!!! So until you can tell me that you lived here or spent some time here don’t start saying you know ALL about it!!!
 
Gérard: Every one is making his own story with each other delusions. Please watch your delusion and just get along together.
 
 
 

Editor’s Note: I learned a lot from this exercise. Canadians, no matter where they live, have one thing in common. Those who write on message boards are functionally illiterate. LOL.
 
Also where do Canadians get off thinking that universal medicare is FREE? What do you think governments do with your taxes?
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