Dear Canada, Stop Being So Goddamn Smug
Let's stop comparing ourselves to Americans and thinking we look so wonderful.
If you are Canadian and on the internet today, you likely saw this "CANADA for President 2016" video making the rounds among your normie Facebook friends or while you were checking out Reddit Canada on the can.
The premise of "CANADA for President 2016" is fairly simple, so simple that it is right in the title. America, with its Donald Trumps and its maybe-Canadian Ted Cruzs, is a tire fire and it can only be put out by the Canadian people running for president.
"Your country is on fire and your leaders are whittling sticks for marshmallows," Brian Calvert, spokesperson for The Canada Party, says in the video.
"Right now, Congress is debating whether guns have the right to marry other guns." (OK, admittedly, this is a solid line.)
It's downhill from here though, with token shots at America seemingly ripped from a 1970s comedy bingo card. We have free health care! We have slightly higher voter turnout! Canadians are polite! The Maple Leaf on backpacks! We like weed! (Shockingly, zero Drake mentions, tho. Different target audience, I suspect.)
Anyhoo, this is all fairly harmless stuff that my second cousin Terry can tell me about the next time he gets into a box of Labatts after a game of shinny.
But then Calvert makes this promise:
"We'll help you solve your race problem...as soon as we figure out why you still have a race problem. It's not that we don't see race in Canada, it's that we can't." [Flash cut to anonymous Canuck in scarf and ski googles.]
We just had a school shooting in northern Saskatchewan last week that nearly every expert on the subject said highlighted the systemic racism that Canada's Indigenous peoples face. We just had a government that spent years denying that 1,000-plus missing and murdered Indigenous women was worthy of a national investigation.
We just had an election that for a much-longer-than-we-thought-possible moment seemed to hinge on the right to wear a niqab and, wow, was it a pretty ugly moment. And while some Canadians are patting themselves on the back for the Liberals' Syrian refugee plan, a number of polls showed that the majority of Canadians disagreed with the plan. (How many times have the word "terrorism" and "Syrian refugees" been uttered in the same sentence over the past four months?)
It would be pretty easy to go on down this line of thinking for a while, but I have an argument to make.
This video is basically everything that is wrong with the Canadian soul.
It's the latest in a long line of lazy Canadian comedy passing as patriotism (or vice versa) that points a mocking finger at the United States and somehow equates that criticism for thoughtful reflection on Canada's values.
This is "I Am Canadian", but with a much shorter half-life.
It's nothing personal with writer and actor Calvert (or co-producer Chris Cannon, who is American but moved here in 2007), who have been on this Canada for President schtick since the 2012 election. Calvert is guy in a fantastic zip-up sweater trying to further his career by providing a little red meat comedy for Canadians (or as I'm sure he'd put 'peameal bacon, eh!') We Canadians eat this anti-Americanism up like it's a box of poutine after a midnight beer-league game (lazy food metaphors are contagious).
Smarter people than me can tell you the historical reasons for why this distinct bland fare of comedy passes as patriotism in this country. But I am going to ask you this: if we are going to hold up a mocking mirror to the US, should we maybe be a little more honest?
Have you visited New York, Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, Austin, Portland, Memphis or Buffalo? (Last one was a trick.) Pretty great places, right?
Did we invent rock n' roll, hip-hop, or Star Wars?
Where are Google, Facebook, and Apple located?
Would you give up southern BBQ, hamburgers, nachos, greasy spoon breakfasts and Coke for poutine and ketchup chips?
America has a black, Harvard-educated president with a better backstory than Drake. No shade Mr. Trudeau, but we have the son of a famous prime minister our parents all seemed to like.
I don't mean to start a pissing match of "which country is better?" because only one country cares about that question, I'm just saying we Canadians are terribly lethargic in the lessons we learn from looking south.
Canada doesn't need another comedian exploring the ways in which we are oh-so-slightly different than Americans. How about we spend a bit more time being introspective about the problems in this country?
The US doesn't need outsiders critiquing its politics, it already has The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, The Nightly Show and Stephen Colbert, thank you very much.
Meanwhile, we have the incendiary political satire This Hour Has 22 Minutes holding Canadians' feet to the fire.
Follow Josh Visser on Twitter. He's Canadian.