by Bernard Chapin
20 April 2004
watching the NHL playoffs, I have come to realize that Canada now has government,
as opposed to hockey, as its real national pastime.
My amazement with
the sad fate that has befallen our wonderful neighbors to the north has sharply
increased as I become increasingly acquainted with their society and government.
On April 15th, after reading about twenty articles for my blog concerning
our tax day, I vicariously discovered that the Canadian people are only freed
from the outrageous yoke of their government on June 28th, 2004 (meaning
that June 28th is the day on which they stop working to feed their bureaucrats
and begin working to feed themselves). In contrast, our tax freedom
day fell on April 11th. I thought immediately of that old line from
P.J. O’Rourke: “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you
see what it costs when it's free.”
As I’ve noted in the past, both of my maternal grandparents were Canadian
citizens and I still have family living there. On a personal level,
most of the individuals I’ve known, even Toronto fans, have been of the highest
quality, so I am absolutely incredulous at the way their voters nanny-hug
the quasi-socialism offered in their ballot boxes.
This year I purchased the NHL Center Ice package and it has given me access
to about a gazillion hockey games while also providing me with intimate access
to the CBC. Certainly the coverage and commentary offered by “Hockey
Night in Canada” is top-shelf, but the commercials which interrupt the broadcasts
are disconcerting to say the least.
The commercials offered an East German glimpse into a culture dominated by
government. For some reason, my CBC source came from Prince Edward
Island and the telecasts were rife with ads about PEI agencies. At
this point, I am uncertain as to whether it was the CBC squandering countless
minutes of precious airtime to benefit these agencies or if it was the agencies
who were squandering their precious tax dollars for the benefit of the CBC,
but, whatever the financial relationship, it was all clearly a waste of the
One of the commercials was absolutely hysterical and was repeated countless
times over the course of the first round of the playoffs. Its goal
was to showcase the value of the Prince Edward Island authorities.
The ad depicts government employees in various action shots as they enacted
roles that could have been played by private corporations for about an eighth
of the cost.
The showstopper moment came at the end of the ad when one worker was observed
diligently looking up something in a card catalogue. A card catalogue?
What a riot! How many more millions will it take for them to get computers?
That they would proudly display a card catalogue in 2004 tells us much about
the isolation and inefficiency of government. Canadians give them half
of what they own and produce and they respond by staying devoted to the best
technology the 1920s had to offer. Rather than update their systems
they’d rather pour resources into quaint television commercials.
For me, the lowest point came during the ubiquitous “vote for The Greatest
Canadian” spots. For this act of largesse, the CBC even set up a special
website and financed a toll-free phone number. They undoubtedly figured,
“Hey, why not? It’s not our money anyway.”
I have no idea why the public would continue to finance the CBC if they’re
going to misappropriate funds in such a fashion. They should auction
off their best shows (like “Hockey Night in Canada”) to private interests
and close the entire boondoggle. However, all of these larger concerns
are immaterial for the moment because the substance of these commercials
is something that needs to be discussed.
I saw the same ad forty times for this contest and each time it displayed
two policemen in a squad car arguing over who was the grandest Canuck in
history. One of them, and I’m not making this up, actually endorsed
Margaret Atwood. Yes, the same Margaret Atwood who is loved and treasured
by radical feminists and the writer of the anti-male treatise, The Handmaid’s Tale.
Why would any man, particularly a police officer, be endeared to her works?
Even if the ad is supposed to be funny, the humor comes at the expense of
common sense and reveals just how accepted far leftists are within their
society. This particular novelist has described herself as a being
a “red Torry.” In her definition of this term, red stands for what
you think it stands for, and the author has creatively defined Torry as those
who regard the powerful as being responsible to their community (as if there
are any public officials who would go on the record as saying they have no
responsibility to their community).
From Margaret Atwood, the focus can easily shift to anti-Americanism.
I was surprised to see a well-crafted commercial from Molson portraying a
man touring various locales and stating that he refuses to drink American
beer for the same reasons that he doesn’t buy Jamaican snowshoes or Arabian
snowmobiles. Obviously the implication is that we have no talent whatsoever
for brewing beer and to even consider imbibing one of our products would
be as absurd as asking a Canadian health care official to give one of their
citizens a MRI within six months time.
I thought this particular advertisement was silly for a couple of reasons.
First, I happen to know something about Canadian beers and the one they’re
pushing here, Molson Canadian, is a mundane product that is the favorite
of few yeastheads. Had they been talking about superior creations like
Molson Export they would have had a more persuasive argument. Second,
their famous national products are certainly strong overall but specific
American beers like Sam Adams, Anchor Steam, Redhook ESB, or any of the Bells
offerings are their betters (in my bloated and sudsy opinion).
It is unfortunate but the playoffs have revealed to me that Canada now has
government, as opposed to hockey, as its real national pastime.
Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago.
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