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11 Things You Should Never Say to a Canadian

by Candice Walsh Apr 8, 2014

Most of us are a peace-lovin’ bunch. We don’t go around flaunting our national pride, but we’re quick to defend our Canadian roots.

1. “Yeah you guys have healthcare, but it sucks.”

An American actually said this to me a few weeks ago. If there’s one thing most Canadians agree on, it’s that we’re extremely grateful for free healthcare, and we don’t mind paying higher taxes to have it. (Those who aren’t haven’t had health issues.) I’m not sure where this idea came from that the quality is lower than elsewhere, and sure sometimes our wait times to see specialists are a little atrocious, but we’re still pretty happy about not having to pay $3,000 for blood work.

We also get kickass maternity leave. A whole year of it.

2. “Your military is puny.”

Because other countries generally think we’re okay people, and they don’t wanna fight us.

3. “You’re from Canada — you must be used to the cold. Ha-ha. I’m original.”

I admit I sometimes joke about this myself. I was roaming around Santorini recently on a sunny day, wearing only a t-shirt and shorts. A local saw me and did a double take. “It’s too cold! Come back in the summer!” And then I tossed out a line about me being used to it as a Canadian. Ha-ha.

In reality, it’s only the far north that gets those extreme temperatures. Most of the major cities, like Vancouver and Toronto, typically experience milder winters.

Or, when our winters are shit, they’re usually offset by brilliant summers of 30-degree temperatures and nonstop sunshine. Really. It’s not the Arctic Circle.

4. “Canadians are so nice!”

We’re not all nice. I don’t intend to defend douchebaggery, but generalizations can be frustrating. The biggest asshole I’ve ever met while travelling, actually, was another Canadian. I told him I was from Newfoundland and Labrador, and he cracked some joke about “redneck Newfies” that made my blood boil. Canadians can be aggressively loyal to their home cities or provinces.

5. “All Canadians wear flags on their backpacks so they’re not confused with Americans.”

People automatically assume I’m an American when I travel. It’s a big country. I mean, the state of California has more people than the entire country of Canada.

And while I’m vehemently proud of my Canadianness, wearing a flag is unnecessary, and it’s silly to think we all do it. Who cares if they think I’m American?

If people are treating you poorly, it might not actually have anything to do with being American (or any other citizenship). You might just be an asshole.

6. “You say ‘about’ funny!”


7. “You say ‘eh’ all the time!”

Big fat lie. I’m from the East Coast, where it’s more common to punctuate a sentence with “hey?” or various other Newfoundlandisms.

8. “I’ve been to Canada! I visited Toronto.”

Canada is incomprehensibly massive. Most of my friends haven’t been to the other side of my province, never mind the damned country. The diversity is insane. You cannot compare Newfoundland and Labrador to Quebec or British Columbia, and vice versa. They’re practically their own countries. So when you make Canadian assessments after only seeing an extremely small part of it, you’re just showcasing your own ignorance.

9. “Margaret Atwood sucks.”

We will fight to the death.

10. “The only interesting thing to happen in Canadian politics is ROB FORD!”

As if finally we have our own undeniably corrupt politician and now cannot be triumphant about our ‘functional’ government. Did you know that most Canadians abhor Stephen Harper, although he won the last election despite being the first prime minister to have his government ruled in contempt of Parliament? Or that the entire province of Quebec came very, very close to declaring independence and separating from Canada? It gets real up here.

11. “You’re a Canadian and you don’t watch hockey? That’s not right.”

We’re not all hockey lovers, although even I love the pride invoked by the sport. I mean, we’re a country that legalized selling alcohol at bars at 5am just so people could get up and watch the 2014 Olympics gold medal game. Pride.

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