While this poem in itself is sure to make you proud to be Canadian and make you just want to run to the store to buy Maple Syrup and Molsons, I feel that this page would not be complete without a proper dedication to the person responsible for this poem, Cora Constantinuescu. Well actually, that's not completely true - I for one feel this page would be more than complete without a silly dedication and, quite honestly, since I wrote the damn thing, I feel I'm the person responsible for it but:
1. Cora was nice enough to forward a copy of my poem to me out of the goodness of her heart
2. She insisted that a dedication be included before it
3. I really do not want to piss her off (I can not stress this enough)
Taking all this into account, I decided that a proper dedication was in order. Of course, I have never written a dedication before and, quite honestly, have no idea what a dedication is. So keeping that in mind,
Since the dawn of time, people have pondered what it truly means to be Canadian. Is being Canadian mean you know at least four snow shovelling techniques? Is being Canadian mean you can list off the last 35 Stanley Cup winners by memory? (Test me on this someday. Seriously.) Perhaps. Despite thousands of attempts to define this broad question, every one of them failed - that is until my poem, first read in 2002. The inspiration behind this poem is the story of a Romanian refugee. Her struggles and story touched me so much that I felt it necessary to take her under my wing as she attempted to get Canadian citizenship. I would share her story with you here except, well, I honestly know very little about it except I believe it involves Kuwait, her sister's affection for garbage and excessive amounts of talking. But regardless of her story, the point is that I shared my historical insights with her until she no longer believed that Charlottetown was the capital of 6 of our 10 provinces. With this knowledge in hand, she passed her test and was ready to be a true Canadian.
Now, I don't mean to go off on a tangent here but after hearing the questions on the citizenship test, I humbly believe it is a piece of garbage. I mean, who gives a crap about growing grapes in the Okanogen valley or what date Nunavut became a territory? Apart from grape growers and the 13 people of Nunavut, no one. In my opinion, the citizenship test should have 4 questions and you need 4 on 4 to become a citizen:
1. Name 3 Prime Ministers (Only real Prime Ministers. So, no, Joe Clark doesn't count)
2. Name one song by the Barenaked Ladies, Tragically Hip or Alanis Morissette
3. Correctly use both the words "eh" and "freezing" in a sentence (Best answer: Freezing, eh?)
4. Who scored the winning goal in the 1972 Summit Series?
But I digress. After passing her test, it was decided that a party would be thrown for the Romanian immigrant and I was asked to write a poem to commemorate the occasion. Being that I rarely (never) write poems and are not very poetic, this request was probably made with the goal of humiliating Dan but nonetheless, I set out to try and do the impossible task of capturing the essence of being Canadian in a poem. While most would fail at this monumental task, luckily I succeeded. My only hope is that this poem was able to show our newest Canadian (and those long time Canadians too) what it truly means to be a part of the greatest country in the world. So, because of this (and the desire to avoid the catastrophic consequences of slipping into Cora's bad books), I dedicate this poem to Cora. Welcome to the country.
A Beginners Guide to Canada
By Dan Arnold
From East to West we unite, in English et en Français.
From North to...further North we unite, in our hatred of the USA.
This country isn't perfect, because can I really say
That a country is perfect, if it contains Stockwell Day?
Plus there's also Tom Green, that animal humping freak
And the fact that our dollar, like our army, is really, really, really weak.
We have to pay high taxes and brave the freezing cold,
But because of that we get medicaire and Olympic hockey gold.
Yes, the day we won the gold should become a holiday,
Since, as was the case in 1812, we beat the USA.
But enough talk about hockey since, as well as Wayne Gretzky,
As proud Canadians there are many other things on which we all agree.
We use two dollar coins, spell favour with a "u",
We talk about the weather, and drink our Labatt Blue.
We like our coloured money, don't mind the royalty,
And have a very odd affection for Canadian Tire money.
I'd wager all of us canucks laugh and smile and glow,
Whenever Canada is mentioned on a US TV show.
But although we're constantly bombarded with American TV,
We've all watched Mr.Dressup, Air Farce and Degrassi.
We use the metric system, but I think we all know
Celsius or Fahrenheit? It's all the same when it's 40 bellow.
We rely on beer commercials to forge our unity.
They work better than those "Part of our Heritage" moments on the CBC.
We really love our icons, Trudeaumania was nuts.
We really love our Elvis, since he can land a lutz.
There are many canuck actors: Bill Shatner, Jim Carrey,
Michael J. Fox, Matthew Perry and Colin Mocherie.
Alanis, Nelly and Celine have all had massive fame
And there is not a man alive who can resist Shania Twain.
So while we are not know or feared because of our great might,
We're all well thought of anyway - we're nice and we're polite.
They say that we'll apologize if they step on our shoes.
Of course these people also think that we live in igloos.
The world's view of Canada is cloudy at best I fear,
All they think we do is curl, chase beavers and drink beer.
While the world may be misguided, they do know where we stand:
Freedom, peace and equality - they rule this land!
I guess there's really not much else that I need to say.
This country is the greatest, don't you think so, eh?
Head on Back to the Unofficial U of C Guide
Head on Back to the Unofficial IB Guide