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That’s Downright Un-Canadian!

There’s one thing that goes without saying–in the minds of most Americans, particularly those whose roots have been on U.S. soil for a few generations, there are things that are American, and then there are things that are “downright un-American”. To dislike baseball, hot dogs, apple pie or Chevrolet would be downright un-American. To support communism or an oppressive tax regime, those too would be downright un-American.

I was thinking about this the other day in the context of Canada. Canada has its own icons. Canadians love their cool flag, the notion that they are the last great frontier, and that they aren’t the U.S.A.

That said, I’m hard pressed to come up with a list of things that would be downright un-Canadian. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term un-Canadian expressed in conversation before. Nevertheless, it is a rainy day and I’m stuck inside, so I thought I’d come up with a list of things that would be un-Canadian. Here are some thoughts of things that might make the list:

1. Disliking The Guess Who, Neil Young, Rush, Tragically Hip, Gordon Lightfoot or Anne Murray. Let’s just say that this group is special and some of them have even earned the Order of Canada!

2. Speaking ill of the Canadian health care system. Sure, it has some problems, but any plan to end the program would be met with rioting in the streets.

3. Rioting in the streets. When the G20 was in Toronto, there were some thugs who made a mess. The general word around town is that most of them were from other places. Canadians are unafraid of protesting, but they typically do so politely.

4. Talking about religion or religious beliefs in any public forum. With there being so many religions practiced in Canada, and because Canadians are extremely polite and don’t want to offend anyone, religion has long been an avoided subject in public forums.

5. Drinking foreign beer. What can I say with this one. Canadians make good beer and there’s no need to drink beer from elsewhere.

6. Paying attention to political campaigns or knowing who your representatives are. There just isn’t interest in the subject.

7. Owning a home without a brick facade. It is cold here. Brick homes are well insulated. It is weird however how virtually all homes are made of brick.

8. Expressing weight, distance, or temperature in anything but kilos, kilometres and celsius. I can say that I’ve tried and tried and tried to get used to expressing temperature in celsius but I can’t do it. 30 should be cold, not roasting. I can tell you though that when I express temperature in fahrenheit around here, I get nasty looks.

9. Not stopping at a Tim Hortons on your way to . . .

10. NOT complaining about taxes, regulations, or bureaucracy.

Funny the things people hold dear. . .


  1. Great list!!

    I think an honourable mention of something "un Canadian" would be not apologizing even if it isn't your fault. I don't know what it is about the word "sorry" but we sure do use it a lot!

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