Saturday, July 1, 2017

Canada Day 150!

Woot for Canada, 150 years old!!  Really? Well, it depends on who you talk to.  The date refers to the signing of the British North America Act unified most of what is now Canada into the Confederation (sorry, New Foundland, better late than never, eh?).  But it gets confusing since that was not independence day, which some would consider in 1982 when the British "patriated" the Constitution.  I have no idea what that really means, except, hey, constitutional revision is your problem, iceheads!  Oh, and the previous government kept considering the War of 1812 to be the first major military victory of Canada even though, well, Canada did not really serve as an actor in the conflict.  Some would point to Vimy in 1917 when the Canadian forces in World War I first served as an independent unit (even though they were still under British command).

My knowledge of Canadian history is not that great.  So, instead, I will celebrate Canada by listing 150 great things about this place that is now home to me, Mrs. Spew and sometimes College Spew (Maclean's list is here)--and in no particular order.
  1. That polite thing is not entirely a stereotype.  We have found Canadians to be friendly even when our ability to speak one of the two official languages ain't great.
  2. Great skiing!
  3. The center of the political system is decidedly to the left of the American center.
  4. Same sex marriage before everyone else.
  5. While I used to tease my Quebec friends that my health care was better in Texas than in Quebec (it was) due to good insurance, I realize that even lousy provincial health care (tis a myth that it is a national program here) is better than the mess in the US these days.
  6. Such warm and vibrant ultimate frisbee communities!
  7. Sharp students!  
  8. Ottawa!!! Five years and counting of a great place to live and to do International Relations.
  9. Generous funding for research (even if it is not as easy as it once was and even as bigger grants are tougher)
  10. Not so much populism or xenophobia (although I think Canada also got lucky with timing)
  11. Wide and deep immigrant community which not only helps to serve as a brake on xenophobia but also means great food.
  12. Great beer! 
  13. A very engaging military--I have pretty much talked to damn near every officer I sought out, and nearly all of those conversations were very candid.
  14. A nearly as engaging foreign affairs department that changes its name almost as often as Japan changes defense ministers.  Ok, not that often.  
  15. Great comedy: Just For Laughs, all those comedians exported to the US, etc.
  16. Rush!  I am most un-Canadian in that this is the Canadian band I like the most.
  17. The others also rock: Bryan Adams, Triumph, Barenaked Ladies, Arcade Fire, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette, Sum 41, Marianas Trench, and, of course, Neil Young.
  18. Wolverine!
  19. Poutine
  20. Kids in the Hall
  21. Goon.
  22. Meatballs (the movie)
  23. Maple anything (except the cartel)
  24. Montreal.
  25. Orphan Black.
  26. Trudeau is so pretty
  27. Astronaut Chris Hadfield
  28. Toronto
  29. Granville Island and that city around it.
  30. Whistler.
  31. Shwarma & shish taouk
  32. Maple covered snow on a stick
  33. Beaver tail (the snack)
  34. Wacky drive-thru animal safari place where you feed the beasts from your open windows.  We haf no lawsuits ici!
  35. NPSIA: Today is the fifth anniversary of my start there!  Woot!
  36. Canadian Tuxedo.
  37. Juno and Vimy and poppies
  38. That amazing thing where the Dutch remember the Canadian role in liberating the Netherlands every year, even seventy plus years later.
  39. Kingston and Queens, which used to be my Canadian home away from Canadian home.
  40. Quebec's game-y cuisine.
  41. A Tim Hortons in Kandahar!
  42.  One of these days I will see the aurora borealis. 
  43. The first Captain of the Enterprise
  44. The Canadian media: I have had heaps of great interactions with newspaper reporters, radio hosts, and tv folks.  They get heaps of abuse, but they work really hard. 
  45. The whole Dominion of Canada thing resonates for fans of Deep Space Nine.
  46. The Canada as home to refugees thing might get overplayed, but still Canada's welcoming of the Syrian refugees last year was both smart and good.
  47. The Canadian government is chock full of smart and interesting people--I know because many of my friends are these people.
  48. Robin Sparkles
  49. Canada has provided me with two great jobs. 
  50. Good Cop, Bon Cop

  51. Another 100 things I am currently forgetting.
 Happy Canada 150 Day, folks!  
I am very glad to be a Canadian for two years, 
a resident for 15, and a fan for life.

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