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Friday, March 05, 2010

Canada is being un-Canadian for a change!

My country has always been the quiet, polite upstairs neighbor from the USA. We let others go first in line. We apologize if someone steps on our foot. We don't wave flags, scream our country's name, or make a big deal about being bigger than our neighbor.

In the space of just over two weeks, all that seems to have changed. We won more gold medals than any other country in the Winter Olympics. In fact we won more gold medals than any other country has ever one in the Winter Olympics.

For the past couple of years, we've had a program up here called Own The Podium. Most Canadians felt a little odd about that name. After all, we might own the structure of the podium because the games are being played on our turf, but the idea that we wanted to put more people on the podium than anyone else was a foreign, un-Canadian concept.

An American athlete said that we might own the podium, but that they were coming up here to rent it for a couple of weeks. Sure, the USA put more people on the podium than we did, but a lot of those were silver and bronze medals. The Germans also won more medals in total than Canada, but I won't talk about them because my first car was built in Germany and it was... well that's another story.

Canada still owned the podium, we just rented out the two bottom floors and kept the penthouse for ourselves. How un-Canadian is that!

All of a sudden Canadians started hearing our national anthem, over and over, and over. We're not big national anthem singers up here. A lot of Canadians would be hard pressed to recite all the words, especially if they were asked to switch to French halfway through. When they heard the anthem several times a day, a lot of people stopped and realized that something was amiss in those old words. That line that says, "True patriot love, in all thy sons command" seems to exclude our women's gold medal hockey team, our women's gold medal bobsleigh team, and all the other women who racked up medal after medal at the games.

Suddenly, there is a movement to make our national anthem gender neutral. There have been several English versions over the years that were more neutral at that point of the song with words like, "thy children own their birth", "with lakes and rivers clear" and "from Pole to borderland."

My mother firmly believed that The Maple Leaf Forever should have been our national anthem. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with that song, it is what Michael Bublé sang while riding a giant RCMP hat during the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

And let's face it, wouldn't we all like to sing an anthem while riding a giant RCMP hat? Let's see our American neighbors beat that the next time the Blue Jays play at Yankee Stadium. For that matter let's insist that we bring along our giant beavers, flying moose, and Bill Shatner explaining how to make love in a canoe every time we compete against a US team.

It might just confuse enough Yankees that the Blue Jays could win a game or two.

I, for one, am glad that Canadians are showing some pride in being Canadian. I just hope everyone is OK with that, because, you know, I wouldn't want to offend anyone or anything.

And if I have... I'm sorry.

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Gordon Kirkland At Large

Writings and Wramblings from the Wandering and Wondering Mind of Gordon Kirkland