Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal header image 2

I AM CANADIAN: New Years Day Rant

January 1st, 2010 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, what exactly does it mean to be “Canadian”? What unique qualities define us as a nation, a people and a culture? The birth of a new year of possibility and opportunity seems an appropriate day to stir up some patriotic pride and to shed some light on the Canadian personality for my readers outside our borders.

Google “Canadian identity” and one of the first hits you get is “The Great Canadian Identity Crisis”. Much has been written about our so called lack of identity. If you believe the rhetoric, Canadians are meek, apologetic followers who prefer not to be noticed. Even some of our notable Canadians figures have contributed to that image.

Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King is alleged to have quipped that Canada was a country with “not enough history, too much geography”.

Canadian actor Mike Myers is quoted as commenting about his native country: “Canada is the essence of not being. Not English, not American, it is the mathematic of not being. And a subtle flavour – we’re more like celery as a flavour.”

Even Robertson Davies, one of Canada’s literary icons, got in on the act: “Some countries you love. Some countries you hate. Canada is a country you worry about.”

It’s all too easy to fall in line with that thinking. After all, contrast the symbols typically associated with Canada – the beaver, the maple leaf, maple syrup – with the symbols associated with the United States – the bald eagle, the Statute of Liberty, the star spangled banner.

I applaud our neighbours to the south for being overtly patriotic. You wear your patriotism proudly and with good reason. But we do things a bit differently up here. We don’t have an identity crisis. It’s more accurate to say that we have no crisis about our identity and therefore don’t feel the need to proclaim it.

So what makes a Canadian a Canadian? I submit the following qualities.

We are able to laugh at ourselves. Our own SCTV’s “Bob and Doug Mackenzie” portrayed us as beer guzzling, backwoods hicks who say “eh” four times in every sentence. We could have taken offence but instead we laughed and rolled with the joke.

Then there was the Molson Canadian “Great Canadian Rant” that was all the rage for awhile on TV and the web. It was very much tongue in cheek which is why it caught on like it did. We’re confident enough in our identity to laugh at it when it is satirized.

Canadians are proud to be polite, open-minded and respectful of all cultures. There is a reason we are good peacekeepers. There is a reason we are always welcome no matter where in the world we travel.

We are proud to be a country of wide open spaces, beautiful landscapes and protected national parks. We are proud of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We are proud of our healthcare system even when it is showing a few cracks.

And one more thing: HOCKEY. Nothing is more Canadian than hockey. If you think Canadians are mild mannered, take a trip to Vancouver for the gold medal hockey game at the 2010 Winter Olympics. You’ll see a side of us you never imagined existed.

Hockey is our metaphor. 350,000 Canadians play minor hockey including 70,000 women and every cultural group you can imagine. We play it passionately, we watch it passionately and we excel at it passionately.

No one mounts a third period comeback like Canada! “Never say die” is hard-coded into the DNA of every Canadian who laces on a pair of skates to represent his or her country. Did you watch last night’s Canada – U.S. game in the World Junior Hockey Championship? I rest my case.

Canadian identity crisis? There’s no such thing. I am Canadian and damn proud of it!

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel”. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

~ Follow Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm regularly at this site. Categories: Shifting Winds, Sudden Light, Deep Dive, Songs of Nature, Random Acts of Metaphor. Originating at

Tags: 53 Comments

53 responses so far ↓

  • 1 P6G1ASzEy6uIY May 29, 2013 at 4:19 am

    970801 100865Superb post but I was wanting to know in the event you could write a litte much more on this subject? I?d be extremely thankful in the event you could elaborate just a little bit much more. Thanks! 897472

  • 2 Michael Dyet May 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Thanks for your encouragement. Much appreciated.

  • 3 payday loans online Jul 31, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Ι think so. I think уour article wіll give out thоse people a fіnе reminding.
    And thаt they will expreѕs thаnκs to you latеr

    My webpage payday loans online