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Stuffs Canadians Don’t Like (Part 1)

Canadian Cookies at the Byward Market
Canadian Cookies at the Byward Market

Everybody knows that Canadians are peaceful and polite people. Yet, I noticed my fellow citizens can be quite annoyed by a few things… that are Canadian in essence.

Disclaimer: this post is to be read with your morning/ afternoon coffee. It is not meant to be taken literally. I know some Canadians are going to disagree (but I’m sure they will apologize about disagreeing).

So, in the spirit of Stuffs Canadians Like and Stuffs Canadians Like (Part 2), here the list of Stuffs Canadians Don’t Like.

People who loiter: the first time I visited a Tim Hortons, I noticed this sign on the wall that read: “please, no loitering”. I stared at it for ten good minutes (basically waiting for my extra hot coffee to be drinkable). I had no clue what it meant. I had never seen the word “loitering” before and I think my mind made a funny connection with “littering”. But in fact, these no-so-friendly signs are meant to keep people from hanging out around a business if they aren’t there to do business. So gulp your junk food down and leave. Even better: don’t come in, just order from the window of your car and drive away. Gosh, these North Americans are so efficient!

Having too much snow/ too little snow: the world is apparently laughing at us because there wasn’t much snow in Vancouver during the Olympic Games. “Canada’s mild climate leaves Winter Olympics short of snow” said the Guardian, the British newspaper. “Still no snow!” said another newspaper. Or “Vancouver Forced to Import Snow to Winter Olympics” — and that’s when the rest of the world started laughing. Indeed, this winter has been very mild so far throughout the country. Now, just look at winter 2007-08: “Coldest winter in 15 years“, “A Never-Ending Winter“, “Record snow fall for winter 2007-2008“… you got it, that winter, we had way too much snow. It’s hard to keep Canadians happy: too little snow and the country may lose its informal title of “winterland”, too much snow and Canadians are all feeding to Florida. Few are content with the weather in this country.

Being mistaken for American (or being called a “Canadian” for some Québecers): the story goes that Canadians sew Canadian flags on their backpack to avoid being mistaken for Americans (arguably, Americans sometimes also put the Canadian flag on their backpack just to get people to think they’re not American). Most Canadians defend their culture fiercely and hate to be mistaken for American just because they happen to speak English, watch a hundred of US channels and live by the border. Incidentally, don’t call a Quebecer a Canadian: some may throw maple syrup at your face and “tabernac'” you. Sure, they carry a Canadian passport… just don’t remind them.

Their cell phone companies: cell phone plans in Canada are highway robbery. You sign up for three years (three years!) and you get to pay for pretty much everything: incoming calls, checking your voicemail, having a voicemail, call display… heck, there are even monthly fees to access the 911 service! I hated cell phone companies in Europe but I hate them even more in Canada. And trust me, I’m not the only one!

Criticism on the lack of security measures along Canada’s side of border with the USA: according to Washington, anytime a terrorism enter the USA, it’s through Canada. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why. Apparently, Canada border officers wave everybody through (not quite my experience but anyway…), saying “have a good trip, eh“. Now, when US border security gets tougher, Canadians usually have no choice but to follow suit. For instance, anyone crossing the border by land must now show a passport. And guess what happens? Americans complain! “Oh, but I used to get in with just my birth certificate/ my driver license / a letter from Uncle Sam!”It’s only Canada and I’m only going there for a short visit, do I really need to apply for a passport?“. Go figure. Meanwhile, crossing the border these days can be a pain in the ass.

How about you? As Canadians, what annoys you? And what are the stuffs people don’t like in your country?

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