About Canada


About Canada
Clearing Out the Misconceptions

Cut by: Davita Cuttita

I realize that we haven’t really talked about Canada as a country in our posts. We’ve criticized the Canadian education system’s racism, spoke about growing up in a ghetto but haven’t said much about you know…the place. So, consider this a small guide on Canada, with it I hope to clear up any stereotypes or Michael Moore inspired misconceptions.

CANADA 101
Area: 9,984,670 km (2nd largest landmass in the world)
Population: 33, 380,000
Founded on: July 1, 1867
Capital of Canada: Ottawa, Ontario
Official Languages: English and French
Other recognized languages: Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, Cree, Dëne Sųłiné, Gwich’in, Inuvialuktun, Slavey, Tłįchǫ Yatiì
Ethnicities: 28% British, 23% French, 47% “**other” (*please note this includes other groups of White people, not just coloured people) 3.5% Aboriginal
Land stuff: We have 10 provinces and 3 territories. Grandpa Dinosaur and I live in the most populated province, Ontario; a stone’s throw away from the most populated city of Ontario, Toronto.
Political stuff: Parliamentary Democracy (We have Prime Ministers, not Presidents!)

All right! So all that boring stuff is outta the way. Now I’m going to answer all the stereotypical questions I always hear whenever I leave Canada.

IS THERE A CANADIAN ACCENT?
No. No there is not. Not unless you come from Newfoundland (a little island specializing in fishing); then you’ll have the “Newfie” accent which sounds a little Irish. You’d also have an accent if maybe English is not your first language—I have a bit of a Jamaican accent. Otherwise, NO. There is no Canadian accent.

WHAT’S THE EDUCATION SYSTEM LIKE?
You start school when you’re four and finish highschool at about 17 and you start college/university at 17 or 18. We have prom and valedictorian in highschool, but no “homecoming” (what is that?). Sororities are not allowed at all post-secondary education institutions as the government thinks they’re too “segregation-based” and serve no real constructive purpose (google it people, I’m not making this up!). They still exist “illegally” here and there but are completely run and funded by the students who started them and really; nobody gives a shit about them anyway as most people just tend to join clubs.

WHAT’S IN CANADA?
Trees and trees and trees and trees and rocks and water. Mountains upon mountains. There’s lots of roads and buildings too. A lot like America but with waaaaay less people (think about 120 million less, give or take) and handguns.

DO YOU GUYS HAVE A LOT OF NATURAL DISASTERS?
No. Tornados are extremely rare and when they happen they’re usually just strong enough to break some branches or topple some trees and power poles. Floods are even rarer. Hurricanes are also ridiculously rare and earth quakes…well…those just don’t really happen either. All in all, we’re pretty free of natural disasters; the biggest thing to fear is usually the snow.

ARE YOUR WINTERS REALLY BAD?
Yes. In our province, we experience about -40 (with wind chill) and snow. Lots and lots of merciless, hateful snow. If we’re lucky, we get about three months of summer; four if we’re super lucky. As you go up north, mother nature tells you to fuck off even more by making it even colder (in excess of -60 degrees Celsius in some provinces) and snowing even more. Last year, we got over 7ft of snow in 24 hours and my Dad opened the door and started screaming “Quick, everyone grab shovels or we’ll all be trapped inside the house!” It became a family event as we all went out into -45 and started shovelling the snow so we wouldn’t be trapped inside our house for Christmas. Merry Christmas, Daddy!

IS EVERYTHING IN ENGLISH AND FRENCH?
Most things. All the labels on food products and most road signs. There are French and English channels for just about every station. So, if you talk French and English in this country you can make mad money and get great benefits since the jobs are always in demand. There is a province full of French people called Quebec about a three hours’ drive from here; it’s like Las Vegas and Paris put in one. People will *seriously* give their left nut/ovary for a good, bilingual employee anywhere you go in this country; especially if it’s a government or corporate job. (Thus, why it’s one of my majors, heheh.)

CANADA IS FULL OF WHITE PEOPLE.
Depends on where you go, I guess. Toronto is the most multicultural city and will be dominated mainly by non-Whites in about the year 2010—2012 if current trends continue. It’s also where G.D and I grow up and consistently where everyone plays. But hmnm….yeah, I guess it’s pretty full of White people overall.

YOU GUYS HAVE SOCIALIZED HEALTHCARE!
No, we don’t. Just because something is “free” doesn’t mean it’s socialized. Just like how we all pay taxes for schools, roads, buildings, etc a little goes into paying for healthcare. Shortly after birth, everyone gets a “health card” which entitles you to break your legs and receive care for absolutely nothing. Pneumonia? Diabetes? Asthma? Heart attack? Cancer? AIDS? Free treatment. Name an ailment and you won’t be charged for it. You can choose your doctor and if he/she sucks you can say “I’m not coming back” and go find yourself another one at any time you please. It doesn’t matter if you’re homeless, middle class or rich; everyone gets free health care for anything and everything and the right to choose their physician. If you don’t find yourself satisfied with it, there are also privatized hospitals and family doctors of whom you can pay for yourself (but you still have your free healthcare no matter what). You do have to pay for medication but most workplaces provide health and dental benefits for you and your family anyway so yeah—it’s “free” again. I emphasize the HEALTH in healthcare because these free benefits do not extend to cosmetic surgury–you pay for that shit yourself. Who pays the doctors you ask? The government. Well, technically, all taxpayers do (basically most people in Canada).

{Sidenote: The ONLY TIME this is ½ unacceptable is if you have a workplace related injury. Say you work in a steel mill and lose a finger and are seeing Dr. Linux for it from the start, but you don’t like his tie and decide you want to switch to Dr. Hibbert. YOU CAN switch to Dr. Hibbert who can treat you for any other ailments but he CANNOT treat your severed thumb; as it would look bad in court (if you go there) if your doctors don’t agree on treatment methods, medication, etc.}

ARE CANADIANS LESS RACIST THAN AMERICANS?
I don’t know. Depends on where you are, who you’re talking to and the generation. What I do know is that Canadians do a way better job of covering up their racism than Americans do. For the most part of what I and others I know have experienced, if they don’t like your race they’ll still treat you respect and courtesy until you’re out of their presence: at which point they’ll shit talk you.

ARE CANADIANS REALLY FRIENDLY?
Yeah! Damn. I could go walking down the road and be at a bus stop in clubbing gear and people will still talk to me. Once, I was dressed in a rainbow dress with bubblegum pink hair and rabbit ears and a lady came up to me screaming with glee, wondering why I was dressed that way. I explained my grandmother had passed away a month ago and was really festive, so the outfit was an homage to her rebel-punk spirit. She dragged me to a payphone and energetically explained my situation to her daughter on the other line and had me talk to her for a bit. People will randomly strike up a conversation with you almost anywhere!! Older people, typically. People are so relaxed and blasé here…I usually think it’s because of the long, cold winters: you want to enjoy what you can. Definite yes, though these Canadians are friendly as hell; then again I also think that depends on where you live.

ARE YOU GUYS REALLY LIBERAL?
Ugh, everyone was so sick and tired of Americans going “If Bush gets elected again, I’m moving to Canada!” during the 2004 Presidential Race. We’re not all a bunch of liberals here, people! I just think it’s part of the Canadian “laid-back” attitude…but there have been oppositions to a lot of things (i.e. abortion, gay marriage). However, people tend to just…I dunno, they protest, they write but at the end of the day when the decisions are made; everyone just kinda says “Well, THOSE people can choose to do whatever they want but I’M going to do my thing” and just…leave it alone. It’s not like they don’t care or stop opposing things it’s just that once it’s declared it’s declared so you keep being you even more and ignore everything else. Plus it’s too damn cold to be protesting and shit all year; everyone just wants to go home and eat hot food and watch TV.

SO WHAT’S IT LIKE LIVING IN CANADA?
It’s OK. The clothes aren’t that great as I’d like so I have to go to the States and go shopping. We have short summers and long winters, sometimes you won’t see the sun for days. The government treats the Natives like shit and people are experts at masking their racism. The systematic racism is simply at its finest. BUT…

The people are OK. The summers are OK. The taxes have been lowered to 13% from 15% but still kinda suck. University is really damn expensive. Sushi downtown is kick-ass. The healthcare is free. I love my friends. The alcohol is awesome. It’s kinda cool to live in a country so large with so many different languages that if I take a trip to another province, it feels and looks like I’m in a completely different country.

The landscape is diverse and pretty. It’s Canada and it’s where my house and the people I love are.

It’s where I live!

“Mushaboom” by Feist (yup, she’s a Canadian)

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~ by davitacuttita on September 22, 2008.

5 Responses to “About Canada”

  1. grandpa dinosaur,

    You’ve been attacked more than seven times, sometimes by groups of white men?! Where in Canada did this happen?

  2. Hey Restructure! Uh…I wrote the article, not Grandpa; haha. Since she’s super-busy as of late, lemme step in for a minute.

    Grandpa lives a 40 minute drive from where I do. We both grew up in the heart of downtown Toronto in the same apartment building in the ghetto for over 10 years (where I was called nigger and had beer bottles thrown at me by Whites as a child). She went to highschool in King City; about 15–20 mins up north from her house and an extremely close-knit, White dominated area.

    I think I covered this bit in the “Are Canadians Less Racist than Americans?” bit, but just to clarify; sometimes it just depends on the people too. Hope this explanation helped.

    You’ll also notice that the vast majority and the “worst” instances of racism we experienced happened to us as children/teens, but seem to occur less these days. Hmmn…maybe we should write about that…

  3. Damn, I didn’t know what’s going on in my own city. I’m glad I grew up in a POC area where whites can’t dominate like that. Toronto’s so messed up; it’s so different in each area.

  4. Yeah, that’s why I know how to fight so well, Restructure! It’s because I almost get beat up so much, they think it’s all fun and games to beat up an Asian girl walking alone in the afternoon. White kids in my neighbourhood are seriously messed up.

    The most frightening thing is they think it’s THEIR RIGHT to beat you up and you have no reason to retaliate or defend yourself.

  5. Where in Canada are you guys located? I’m trying to create a directory of Canadian Bloggers of Colour with location information. You can say a city or province/territory, or if you don’t want to reveal that info, I’ll just list the country.

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