New Internationalist

Canadians’ ‘seamier’ side

Issue 402

Canadian history magazine challenges stereotype

While Canada’s neighbour to the south is not exactly feeling the love of the international community, it is hard to find anyone who has anything bad to say about the land of wheat and maple syrup. In a recent global street survey conducted by Seriously’s crack pollsters, only 0.05 out of 100 people interviewed had anything negative to say about Canadians at all. Of these, most took issue with the maple-leaf-accessorizing by Canadian backpackers, though some still found this ‘sort of sweet, really’.

A Canadian history magazine plans to challenge this common stereotype of Canadians being polite and good-natured by highlighting the country’s scoundrels through a survey seeking to find ‘the worst Canadian’.

Deborah Morrison, president of Canada’s National History Society, which publishes The Beaver magazine, explained to Reuters: ‘Our international reputation has us as this very nice, quiet, friendly place. We thought it would be fun to show people our seamier side and take a look at some of our more villainous characters, and how they’ve helped to shape our country.’

However, most of those nominated as Canada’s shadiest are completely unknown to outsiders, leading some to speculate that The Beaver readers are just making them up. But after some hours of googling, Seriously can confirm that most of those that made it on to the list have something to do with ice hockey. ‘We take our hockey very seriously,’ said Morrison.

Interestingly, among the obscure criminals, politicians and hockey celebs leading the polls for Canada’s most vile, are the rather well-known pop stars Celine Dion and Shania Twain.

Should either of these mainstream shopping-mall-music divas reach the number one spot, they may find themselves classed as ‘Canada’s most foul, useless, malign and destructive human forces’.

Fair enough, eh?

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This article was originally published in issue 402

New Internationalist Magazine issue 402
Issue 402

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New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

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– Emma Thompson –

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