The other day a few of us were discussing the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, which are currently being held in London, England, and one of my buddies did the old “Ha ha ha…Canadians suck!” shtick and it really got to me, you know? I’m all about self-effacing humour and all, but just the way he said it rubbed me the wrong way. Laughing at your own country’s quirks and belittling your own country are two completely different things.
Where’d the Canadian Pride go that we were swimming in back when Canada kicked butt at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver? Are we already back to our inferiority complex? Did our Canadian psyche all of a sudden go back to the 50’s, 60’s and ‘70’s? I don’t think so. Maybe some people are still there, but thankfully, most aren’t.
At the very moment that I am writing this column, about half-way through the games, Canada has earned eight medals so far in this year’s Olympic competition, one of them gold, and we are ranked in the top twenty in the medal standings while we are ranked 35th in the world’s population. Are we blowing people away? Hardly. Are we doing amazing well in the Summer Olympics for a country who’s land mass is…well…massive…and covered in snow half of the year and has a fraction of the population and funding of many of the nations competing there? I think so.
Remember when everyone, Canadians included, poked fun at our Armed Forces, too, and said that “Canadian Military” was an oxymoron and everything and that our Military consisted of “a kayak, a Canada goose, and a Mountie with a pointy stick”, (HAW, HAW, HAW), even though we have a great track record as United Nations’ peacekeepers and that the “fight” in Canadian fighters has always been admired throughout the world? Keep in mind, too, that Canada’s military has been known to do quite well with the underfunded money that they are allocated and we have one of the best-trained fighting forces in the world. Throughout our history Canadians have opposed a large peacetime standing army, (thus, the lack of funding), which is why our Military forces remain relatively small but in World War II over a tenth of the population was under arms. When called upon…we will be there.
One of the best examples of a Canadian keeping our “Canadian Pride” under control was when it was announced that former Canadian Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, had won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his efforts to keep peace during the Suez Canal Crisis and some high-falootin’ upper crust Canadian society woman responded by saying, “Who the hell does he think he is?”
Is this the “Canadian Way”? Keeping our celebrities, diplomats and sports’ stars from getting big heads by making sure they don’t get too full of themselves? Too often Canadians notoriously put down their own in an effort to not sound like braggarts but then we end up not giving our own their due; from Lester B. “Mike” Pearson, to BlackBerry maker RIM, to Celine Dion, Nickleback, Justin Beiber, Sydney Crosby, to Air Canada, (okay, you’re right…NOT Air Canada), to our Military and our Olympic efforts and on and on it goes. Again, keeping pride in check and being disrespectful are two very different things.
I am as humble as any Canadian but don’t you dare disparage my country. We are miles, or kilometers, as it were, away from being a boastful, in-your-face people but that does not mean we that we can abandon our Canadian Pride.
“We will live together in confidence and cohesion; with more faith and pride in ourselves and less self-doubt and hesitation; strong in the conviction that the destiny of Canada is to unite, not divide; sharing in cooperation, not in separation or in conflict; respecting our past and welcoming our future.-Lester B. Pearson (1897-1972).