Amongst the Canucks
Carnaby and I were more or less raised in Canada, and most of our childhood was spent way up in the north where the sun sets at about 2 PM this time of year. That place holds some of the best memories of my life, and I think I speak for both of us when I say that Canada will always feel like home. A clueless, dopey kind of home, but home nonetheless.
It's been about a year since I was here last, and about eight years since I moved south of the border. My impression of this place has changed a little for the better since then, but not much. A few observations...
Canadians aren't as reserved and grumpy as I used to think. Many of them are downright friendly.
The accent is almost exactly the same as that of Minnesotans.
Paul Martin is a total dink.
If Canada would ditch its stupid healthcare system and acknowledge gun rights, this would be a swell place to live.
Canadian chocolate bars are still superior to American chocolate bars.
That last point is really important. There's only one store in Texas that sells only one kind of Canadian candy -- Coffee Crisp (the best chocolate bar ever invented) -- and, luckily, it's 16 miles from where I live. But you can get them all over the place here in Canuckistan. Plus, they have a genuine delicacy -- Coffee Crisp ice cream.
A nice light snack.
You can't watch FOXNews here. (What is this, North Korea?)
Driving around here often resembles what I imagine driving in a third-world country is like. Probably because two-thirds of the people on the road are from third-world countries.
Pubs galore. I realized how much I miss a good Canadian neighborhood pub. Texas just has bars (many of them of the naughty variety). Bleh. What I really want is to be able to spend my Friday night playing air hockey and having a relaxed drink and good pub-grub on the cheap.
Canada is one of the few places where you'll hear people snarl about the Conservatives in one breath and then curse the Liberals in the next. Everyone's corrupt. Within the last two decades every single political party in Canada has been discredited by some kind of huge scandal. Except maybe the Natural Law Party and the Bloc Québécois, but I'm too lazy to check that.
Canada has famously restrictive gun laws, but there are an amazing number of shootings here.
The second night of my stay I realized how vulnerable I feel in Canada. I'm used to sleeping within arm's reach of two loaded firearms. But here, nada. If somebody broke into the house, the best we could do is point my surly Jamaican step-mother at them. But it's more than just me, as an individual, being unarmed. It's knowing that every single person on this block is probably unarmed, as well. And that everywhere I go, the only people who are armed are criminals (there is virtually no police presence in Vancouver). I like to tell Canadians that I am surrounded by armed and dangerous people in Texas -- my neighbors -- and that's a good thing. But Canadians just don't get it. They inevitably associate guns with bad guys, and I kind of understand, because, unless they've grown up in the far north or Alberta, none of them has grown up in anything resembling a self-reliant culture. I'd always been a 2A supporter when I lived in Canada, but the reality of the gun-culture was a little scary when I first moved to the States. My first couple of times to the range, I wasn't 100% sure that the guy next to me wasn't some kind of maniac. It was weird trusting a complete stranger with the power of life and death over me -- and that's the root of Canada's problem with guns. Canadians just don't have faith in freedom. They worry that people are going to screw it up, which people do, but really not all that often.
Anyway, I guess the lack of guns explains why there are so many rottweilers and pitbulls in Vancouver. But, as Carnaby showed, you're more likely to be injured by having one of those in your home than by having a gun.
Update: From Cox & Forkum
Canada agrees: Paul Martin is a dink.