Maxed Out 

We are Canadian!

Page 2 of 3

Naturally, like most magnanimous acts, it backfired. Being generally ignorant about Canadian Ways, the clever boys who thought that one up didn't realize Canada only allows "safety" fireworks in the country ever since the Great Halifax Harbour Explosion, caused by a worker dropping a careless cigarette on a fireworks barge during an earlier "Dominion Day" celebration, which was what Canada Day was called before someone decided it seemed rather subservient. Ha-Ha, good joke, eh? Took the U.S. a long time before it ever thought about free trade with Canada again.

But back to Canada Day. It's a day Canadians celebrate the sine qua non of being Canada, that which makes all true Canadians Canadian and not, for example, Germans or Chinese. And what is that special essence, that indispensable, elemental, bred-in-the-bone, ain't-no-other-in-the-world-like-it distinguishing feature mothers and fathers drill into the soft spots of their children's' heads until it becomes as much a part of them as their DNA? It can be neatly summed up thus: We are not American!

And how are we not American? That question has been the subject of intense research and debate. Enough Royal Commissions have been commissioned seeking the answer to that question to prop up all of B.C.'s aging pulp and paper mills. The CBC was formed specifically to pose that question at least once a month during Cross-Country "Chequeup." At last estimate, 40 per cent of Canada Council grants were earmarked for studies and performance art works promising at least part of the answer.

And the answer? Well, being Canadian, we're not prone to jump to conclusions when dithering will do, but here are at least some of the crucial elements.

The USofA was forged in the fiery cauldrons, blah, blah, blah. The American Revolution cast off forever the tyrannical shackles of the British Monarchy and the Civil War settled forever what, in Canada, is known simply as the Quebec Issue.

Canada, on the other hand, was forged in the smoky backrooms of genteel gentlemen's clubs. If America is exemplified by war, Canada is exemplified by such boardgames as Risk TM , Diplomacy TM , and, most especially, Monopoly TM . Whereas America was formed at the point of a gun, Canada was formed with a nod and a wink. If nothing else, it explains why we still have the Queen of England on our money.

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