Canada is a land of contrasts. Mountains and plains. Forests and the sea. The tundra and that big pit in Manitoba where millions of snakes fuck. Diversity is our strength.
But transcending all the things that separate us is the one thing that truly unites us all: getting extremely pissed off about stupid shit all the time. And at the very top of that mighty molehill of manufactured anger is the most Canadian grievance of all, which is being angry that someone trash-talked your province. We learned that over the weekend when Justin Trudeau "accidentally" (read: deliberately and with the fire of a thousand dying suns) omitted Alberta from his Canada Day speech in Ottawa and people are still mad several days later. It is a beautiful sight. God bless this country.
Not all provinces are created equal though. Just like some of them are moulded by the thick rocky crust of the Canadian shield and others by some other geological formation with a less badass name, so too do some provinces have a thicker skin than others.
To save you the trouble of eventually causing an entire province to get viciously mad at you online for gently misspeaking and/or a cruel and thoughtless joke, here is a definitive ranking of which provinces are the most easily offended:
Our three territories, which rightly do not care about being placed on provincial top 10 lists.
All the provinces that aren't Ontario define themselves to a greater or lesser extent by how much they hate Ontario, and this has been the bedrock of Canadian federalism for the last 150 years. As a result Ontario has hardened its heart to the slings and arrows of its deeply bitter siblings, healthfully self-assured of itself as the best province, even though it is objectively the worst province with the dumbest liquor laws. Ontario is the wellspring of the smug and completely unearned superiority complex that this great nation is known for across the world. Your negativity will never bring Upper Canada down.
Manitoba wasn't always chill. Historically, it was one of the least-chill provinces, what with Louis Riel running around getting everyone mad about the blatant disrespect shown to Francophones and Indigenous peoples and a form of Catholicism so extreme it would make even the pre-Vatican II Popes blush. It's calmed down a bit since they hanged the guy though and you've really got to go the distance to get Manitobans riled up these days.
8. New Brunswick
I refuse to believe that New Brunswick gets mad about people dunking on it, both because a) how could it not know that it is the swampy armpit of Maritime Canada and b) it is absolutely not on the radar of anyone outside New Brunswick so there is no way to tell if they're ever actually mad about anything except, like, the Irvings.
7. British Columbia
British Columbia is basically its own separate country because it is so far away from all the real action so they're all pretty aloof about Eastern Canada's very obvious neuroticisms. They get riled up about pipelines a fair bit but that is mostly because they are forced to live next to the profoundly agitated Alberta. Otherwise it's a pretty zen place. Just look at the ease with which they survived two months of a hung parliament and potential constitutional crisis. Being the weed capital of Earth probably helps with all this but we may never know for sure.
Depends entirely on how the Riders are doing that year.
5. Nova Scotia
Atlantic Canada generally is the most miserably irritable part of the country but of the four, Nova Scotia is the most well-adjusted province insofar as they forget the other ones exist.
4. Prince Edward Island
It's gotta be rough being the smallest province of the most forgettable G7 nation, so in the same way that short dudes get really fired up about the injustices faced by short men, Islanders will huffily appear out of nowhere to yell at you about how there's way more going on than just Anne of Green Gables, lobster and potatoes but mysteriously disappear before they can actually name any of them. There's a reason it's often literally left off the map.
3. Newfoundland and Labrador
Here's the deal: Newfoundland and Labrador is shit. Name something other than the scenery—which is often obscured by awful weather for 10 months of the year—and it is almost definitely the worst place in Canada. It is a rough, haggard rock where dreams have gone to die for half a millennia. But only Newfoundlanders can point any of these things out. Pessimism is a national sport here but you're only allowed to play for the home team. If someone from outside the camp says so much as boo about the pothole that wrecked their rental car along the TCH, the only penalty is death. Even the most miserable bastard around will put on the pink, white and green warpaint if a tourist dares puts up a Yelp review below three stars on a restaurant you wouldn't feed to your dog. Trash talk the province at your peril. Newfie is our word and you people have no right using it.
A few months ago in an article I made an extremely hamfisted joke about Montreal being racist and I have not stopped getting hate mail about it. I can only imagine how much grief I will now get for making the very facetious observation in this very jokey article that a lot of Canadian history could be explained as the rest of Canada trying to get Quebec to calm down about some bullshit.
Alberta is constantly mad. At various moments they have been mad about Sunday movies and seat belts and daylight savings time and the metric system and rock music and the French and transgender bathrooms and themselves. It is a province fuelled not by the energy locked away in the oil sands but by an all-consuming fire of anger in their hearts that I can only assume is the inevitable result of having a province founded by intensely sexually-repressed fundamentalist farmers. Anything bad that ever happens is never an accident of nature or an unintended consequence of a well-meaning idea; it is the result of deliberate sabotage by the federal government or the NDP or people on welfare or the CBC or hippies or the Rothschilds or all of the above in one great freedom-hating orgy. Alberta will never stop getting mad about everything, which is why they are the funniest province.
There you go. Don't @ me. But follow Drew Brown on Twitter.