Canadian Expatriates: The Expat Blog: March 2005

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An Invitation from Foreign Affairs Canada [-]

Canadian Expatriates, its contributors, and readers have been invited by Foreign Affairs Canada to participate in a series of eDiscussions. The current topic is “Showcasing Canadian Culture and Know-How Abroad”.

We are asked to consider the following questions:

  • What role does Canadian culture and know-how play in our foreign policy?

  • How might the government best promote Canadian talent and expertise in the world?

    The eDiscussion runs from April 4 to May 6, 2005. At its conclusion, a summary of the discussion will be sent to senior policy planners.

    The Expat admin team encourages its readers to join in the eDiscussion at the Canadian International Policy website.

    Posted by Admin

  • Call for Contributors [-]

    The administration team is currently searching for Canadian expatriates who would be interested in contributing to the Expat Blog. The subject matter is wide open, but must remain family friendly.

    If you are interested in joining our blogging team, please send an email our way!

    Thank you!

    Posted by Admin

    Thursday, March 31, 2005

    Brain Freeze!
    by Expat

    One is hard pressed to find a Slurpee, Icee, Slush Puppie, what-have-you machine in the United States. I am not sure if this is attributable to simply being a regional difference here in the Midwest, or if it is more of a cultural difference between Canada and the United States. One thing is certain though, when you do come across an American Slurpee machine, there is much rejoicing, at least until you realize that there is a difference between an American Slurpee and a Canadian Slurpee.

    The difference between Nuk and Yank Slurpees all comes down to the machine that makes them. Canadian stores buy their Slurpee machines from a company named Taylor; whereas, American stores purchase their machines from Cornelius. Cornelius machines inject added air into the icy goodness making for a lighter, drier, less satisfying drink. Perhaps this accounts for why four of the top five cities for highest Slurpee consumption are the Canadian cities of Winnipeg, Calgary, Regina, and Edmonton. Detroit is the lone American city on the list. According to Winnipeg is the world's leader in most Slurpees consumed per capita.

    Want to learn more about Slurpees? Check out My Slurpee Cup.

    Want to buy your own Slurpee machine? So do I!

    Want to share in the Slurpee lovefest? Leave a comment!

    Stay Alert! Stay Safe!
    by Expat

    As a crime wave of iPod theft sweeps from Canada to Mexico, the Atlantic to the Pacific, This Hour Has 22 Minutes' Rick Mercer provides us with the "iPod theft prevention system".    (Link opens in Media Player.)

    Red, White, and Maple
    by Expat

    With summer soon upon us, it is time to pack away the sweaters, parkas, and mittens, and break out the shorts, t-shirts, and swimwear.

    Sure, black is slimming and vertical stripes will elongate a petite frame, but those suits will do nothing to show off your proud Canadian roots while you are surfing off of California's coast or recreating your own version of spring break at Daytona Beach. Rather, why not strut your stuff in red, white, and maple with the help of Unabashedly Canadian?

    Their suits may not follow the rules for flattering swimwear, but they are certain to make a statement. I particularly enjoyed the swimsuit, touque, and mittens combo!

    Oh, and don't forget the sunscreen.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2005

    Jokes on You, Canadian Taxpayers!
    by Expat

    How would you like to be paid $150 an hour to watch hockey games, circus performances, concerts, and professional wrestling?

    Where do you sign up, you ask? Just ask Mario Parent.

    Attempting to Smooth Over Canada-US Relations
    by Expat

    While the American media continues to put a very much "anti-Canadian" spin on its news coverage, there is concern amongst Americans that Canadians are largely "anti-American".

    Frank McKenna, who became Canadian Ambassador to the United States on March 8th, is working to change this. Today he appeared on a C-SPAN call-in show in an attempt to ease Canadian-American relations. He discussed terrorism, defence, soft wood lumber, and the beef industry. McKenna maintains that Canadians, by and large, are not "anti-American" and concedes that Americans "have also said some pretty nasty things about Canada".

    You can catch the half hour show here. It does take some time to load.

    If you have a weak stomach....
    by Expat

    Consider bypassing this entry!

    An Ontario man, pulled over for being suspected of driving while intoxicated, resorted to eating his own feces to try to foil the breathalyser test. You can read the rest of the story here, Accused Goes to Extremes, as it is just too gross to repeat and I don't want to open myself up to some interesting keyword based Google hits.

    This news article comes on the heals of another drinking and driving story. A Newfoundland man, charged with drinking and driving, told the judge that he had eaten too many liquor filled chocolates before embarking on the road. With a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit, that had to a great deal of the sweet stuff! A constable in the case did not buy the argument and said that it did not matter how the liquor was consumed, the man was still driving impaired. The man had three previous convictions for driving under the influence.

    Canadians, or at least liquored up Canadians who are caught driving, are certainly getting more and more creative in trying to beat the rap.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2005

    A New Canadian Institution
    by Expat

    Tired of losing one mitten and having to replace both?

    Fear not!

    Now when you lose a mitten - at least in Canada - you can check The National Mitten Registry to relocate it. Scroll down the page to see the mugshots of their most recent finds.

    Monday, March 28, 2005

    The "Canadian Problem"
    by Expat

    Canadians are anti-American?


    I can't imagine why.

    Oh wait...

    Maybe it has a little something to do with attitudes such as this?

    Just maybe.

    A Game for the Stateside Expats
    by Expat

    You see the presidential mugs on American money, but can you identify the presidents based just on their hair alone? Take this quiz, All the President's Hair, to find out.

    My personal best was 3 out of 7.

    The Economy of a Royal Wedding
    by Expat

    The upcoming nuptials of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles is raising questions as to the future of the monarchy and calls for the Prince to abdicate his position as next in line to the throne. The event is also producing ridiculous amounts of memorabilia to mark the occasion.

    Britain's ASDA, a subsidiary of Walmart, has reproduced the royal engagement ring, an heirloom art deco ring once belonging to the Queen's mother. The replica features a man-made emerald-cut diamond, shanked on either side by three baguette-cut diamonds set in a sterling silver band. All of this could be yours for £19 or, if you are thrifty, you could find the ring at a starting price of $9.99 on eBay.

    EBay sellers have definitely jumped onto the royal wedding bandwagon as they peddle their wares on the internet auction site. Also featured are bone china mugs, keyrings, magnets (being sold by the man who brought us the mysterious medical devices box), postcards, silver plated spoons, stamps, thimbles, even what may (or may not) be the Prince's love letters. My personal favourite auctions would be for highly overpriced commemorative clipart "prints" out of Texas.

    Ah yes, while the public may not support the pending nuptials, they certainly do intend to profit off of the event.

    A Proud Canadian Tradition Since 1986
    by Expat


    Click image to enlarge.

    Would you believe that nobody has made a javascript Tim Horton's "Rrrrroll Up the Rrrrrim" cup for Canadians living abroad?

    Now there is a million dollar idea!

    by Expat

    During the summer, radiation levels in areas surrounding the location of the Chernobyl disaster climb. At that time, some 3,000 children from the affected areas are sent to travel abroad. Many of the children are from Belarus, which was only 20 kilometers north of the Ukraine's nuclear power plant. For the past 10 years some of these children have been spending their summers in Alberta, but the president of Belarus is rethinking the program as he is concerned that the children are being exposed to western ideals and materialism.

    This site circulated on the internet last year, but the above story led me to go and take a gander at it again. It is Elena's photo-journal of what the Chernobyl area looks like today. Some of the pictures are especially haunting as you can see that life just stopped that fateful day. Navigation is on the bottom of each page.

    Sunday, March 27, 2005

    Canada's "Essential" Songs
    by Expat

    Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio has compiled a list of Canada's top fifty "essential" songs. For ten weeks Ghomeshi and a group of panelists presented the songs five at a time to ultimately be voted upon by the listening audience. Here are the results of that process.

    I was a little surprise by the presence of some songs and the absence of others, but what do I know about "essential" Canadian music? After all, I received a big fat goose egg when I attempted one of the many music trivia quizzes found here.

    Saturday, March 26, 2005

    Results of the Cost Plus Chocolate Extravaganza!
    by Expat

    Well, the whole affair was not much of an "extravaganza". In fact, the trip was was pretty disappointing. It would appear that Cost Plus has less of a selection of specialty chocolate at Easter because they have so many Peeps*, jelly beans, and rice candies taking up valuable space on the shelves.

    The good news was that they were having a sale on selected Cadbury chocolate, so I loaded up on six Turkish Delights. They are a absolutely heavenly and beat the pants off of Canada's Big Turk. Sadly, the other Cadbury bars that they had were the Fruit and Nut and Dairy Milk that you can find at Walmart for much less than the sale price at Cost Plus. The only Canadian bar was Coffee Crisp, which I snapped up. I also picked up a few other bars: Big Hunk (made in California), Toffee Crisp (made by Nestle in England), and a Cherry Mountain which I was hoping would be similar to a Cherry Blossom but can see from the website that it is not.

    Today I will hit up Walmart. I am really hoping to find some Cadbury Mini Eggs. I asked the Yank husband if he has seen them here in the States, but he just went off on a tangent about how gross he finds the Cadbury Creme Eggs to be. He was not much help. As an aside, do they still play the Cadbury Easter commercials back home? The one with the rabbit that is clucking like a chicken?

    Update: I just learned that Hershey's holds a license to manufacture some Cadbury's products in the states. Quite likely I will find Mini Eggs at Walmart!

    *I am still laughing at that link!

    Friday, March 25, 2005

    Opportunity Wasted
    by Expat

    An Alberta couple is auctioning off the role of Maid of Honour at their wedding on, where else but that global garage sale known as eBay. Word is that the first choice for the role could not afford to fly from Ontario to Alberta for the nuptials, so logically, one's next choice would be to include a paying stranger off of the internet in the wedding party.

    I am not sure which is more frightening, the fact that this couple is looking to eBay for someone to act as a witness to what is to become the most over-rated, most expensive day of their lives or that they have posted all of their personal information (last names included) on the internet for everyone to see.

    No wait, I do believe that I have figured it out. The most disturbing part of this entire affair is that this couple, who are clearly have no shame when it comes to taking handouts from strangers via the internet, did not even think to fill out the gift registry on their wedding site!

    Talk about an opportunity wasted.

    Kidney for Sale
    by Expat

    A Canadian man is suing Montreal's Royal Victoria hospital. Baruch Tegegne, who suffers from diabetes and kidney failure, found a stranger in India who is willing to fly to Canada to donate his kidney. The head of the hospital's transplant team refused to screen the potential donor out of fear that the man was being paid for the kidney. The India man claims that he is a good Samaritan and simply wants to be paid for travel expenses and be compensated for his lost wages.

    A simple search on organ donation brings up this site, Living Donors Online. These are their statistics:

    Looking at relationships, 18.9% were a parent of the recipient, 16.6% were children, 0.3% were identical twins, 38.3% were full siblings, 1.2% were half siblings, 7.0% were some other blood relative, 12.6% were spouses, and 5.3% were some other unrelated donor.

    Unrelated donor, we can assume, includes friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers.

    While Canada bans the sale and purchase of human organs, it does not address the donation of organs by strangers, it does insist that living donors should be either close family or friends.

    I personally have a difficult time believing that a stranger half the world away is willing to travel to Canada and undergo an extensive and painful surgery simply out of the good of his heart. Particularly someone from India where so called "kidney tours" have become popular.

    Friends of Tegegne are planning on appealing to the BC Transplant Association to see if they will perform the surgeries.

    Thursday, March 24, 2005

    More on Deadly
    by Expat

    The new Paul Bernardo - Karla Homolka movie that is set to be released in the United States this fall is creating more of a buzz in Canada.

    This time CTV News reports it is not only the victims' families that are opposed to the film, but also Homolka's family, whose daughter Tammy also lost her life at the hands of the murderous couple. The movie's scheduled fall release will come on the heals of Homolka's July 5th release from prison - coincidentally, a date which would have marked Leslie Mahaffy's 29th birthday according to her family's lawyer, Tim Danson. It is expected that Crown Prosecutors will attempt to impose restrictions upon Holmolka pending her release. The victims' families are seeking intervener status at that hearing.

    While the Canadian government can not ban the film outright, it is possible for Canadian audiences and theatre owners to boycott it. The film's producer, Michael Sellers is standing behind the film, claiming that it is "legitimate". So far, the film does not have a Canadian distributor. One can only hope that it remains as such.

    For more on this subject, please refer to "Exploiting a Family's Pain for Profit".

    The Medical Mystery Box of Canadian Delight
    by Expat

    I was surfing eBay today and came across this listing out of British Columbia. Up for bids is a "Medical Mystery Box" containing items that can not be purchased in the States "at any cost". The seller also says that he has had a few requests for these items by Americans.

    Put your thinking caps on folks. What do you suppose these items of intrigue could possibly be? The seller says that the items are worth more than the starting price of $9.95.

    Here are my best guesses:

    • Tim Horton's Coffee
    • Canuckolate bars (Smarties, Coffee Crisp, Aero, etc)
    • Spectro Jel (although shipping is only $3, so it couldn't be this)
    • The Tim Horton's issued Remembrance Day coin.
    • A super sweet "I am Canadian" touque from a case of Molson's.

    I am almost hesitant to blog about this auction for fear that I am increasing the bidding competition for this International Box of Mystery. Clearly the only fair thing to do is to make a deal that whoever wins it, must post the contents of the box so as to satisfy my curiousity!

    'Tis a Proud Day!
    by Expat

    Woohooo to a perfect score on Canucklehead's Daily Quiz!

    Today's topic is politics, and it seems like it must be an easy one because as of right now there are seven perfect scores!

    Also, here is a little pop culture history. Did you know that on this day in 1990 Alannah Myles (a Canuck) topped the Billboard singles chart with her hit Black Velvet? No? Neither did I!

    (Holy crow that it has been 15 years since Black Velvet was number 1!)

    Expats Rejoice! A President's Choice Sighting!
    by Expat

    Great news for Expats who live in close proximity to a Jewel-Osco grocery store!

    Apply for their Preferred Savings Card and you will receive a coupon for a FREE bag of President's Choice Decadent Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I had no idea that Jewel Osco even carried the President's Choice line. In fact this is my first President's Choice sighting since I have left the Motherland.

    Expats Rejoice! Perhaps this will be the first of many Canadian product sightings at American grocery stores!

    As an aside, Jewel-Osco also carries Jones Soda, another Canadian product, as does Panera Bread, Starbucks, and Cost Plus.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2005

    Word Search, Ben Mulroney, and a Recipe
    by Expat

    Who can resist a little Canadian Idol 2005 Words Search?

    Not I. Certainly not I.

    Beware though. It starts out nice and easy and then gets much more difficult. Either that, or I just completely lost interest. One or the other.

    What is up with Ben Mulroney being the Ryan Seacrest of the North? He sounds absolutely riveting, especially when he speaks of himself and his role as Idol King to the Masses stating such gems as, "I've have always said that an Idol host should err on the side of vanilla".

    Whoa, hold on Ben, I am not sure that Canada is ready for vanilla. Could you maybe start out with milk toast and work your way up to vanilla?

    Brace yourself Canada. It looks like the new season of Canadian Idol is liable to rock you right out of your socks.

    Mmmmmmmmmmilk Toast Recipe

    To prepare milk toast at home, first toast bread as for buttered toast. Dip each piece quickly in boiling water, place in baking-pan, and cover with scaled milk. Bake for fifteen minutes, and serve in soup-plates. The toast can also be served by putting piece of buttered bread which has been held over the steam, and covering with scalded milk.

    Exploiting a Family's Pain for Profit
    by Expat

    Tim Danson, lawyer for the families of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, is demanding a viewing of the new Hollywood movie Deadly, according to an article on CNews. The movie depicts the twisted relationship of convicted child rapists and murders Paul Bernardo and Karla Holmolka. The tagline for the movie, which is in post production, is "till death do us partake".

    I was not aware that a movie such as this was being made. My immediate visceral reaction was one of absolute disgust. Although movies and television shows have been based on true crime in the past, and will continue as such in the future, this is different. This movie is not based on the horrific events, it depicts them. Bernardo and Holmolka's names are used in the movie. The official synopsis claims, "Every scene of the film was derived from events transcribed in court testimony using police reports, interviews between Karla and her psychiatrist, and videotape of the crimes shot by the perpetrators themselves". The crimes themselves are to be simulated using young actresses.

    This was a case that absolutely shook Canada and in a way robbed a country of its innocence. The families fought to have those videotapes destroyed and are now feeling that their daughters are once again being victimized by having their final days re-enacted and available for all the world to see over and over again.

    It certainly does not seem right to inflict further pain on the families of the victims simply to fill the pockets of the American entertainment industry.

    Welcome Aboard!
    by Expat

    Canadian Expatriates wishes to welcome their newest blogger, Vero.

    Vero is behind the success of That Canadian Girl, a blog about her life in Britain, and also Sugar and Spice... and All Things Nice, a very well put together blog featuring healthy recipes. (Do not surf over to that last site on an empty stomach. Her pictures rate a ten on the drool worthy scale!)

    We look forward to reading more from you, Vero! Welcome to the team!

    More from the World of Curling
    by Expat

    The Canadian women are still in the game, winning their third consecutive draw at the World Curling Championships in Scotland. The team is now in third place with Sweden and the United States out front. This afternoon the team faces off against the US and we certainly wish them luck in that.

    To celebrate the women's success, I challenge you to a game of Championship Curling. I will forgo posting my score here out of shame. *hangs head in embarrassment* You are welcome to taunt me on my unacceptable virtual curling rock hurling skills.

    You will find the game here. It is listed in the left side bar, second one down.

    In the event that there is an expat out there that is seriously in need of a curling fix, check out the CBC's new DVD, "Canadian Curling Experience 2005".

    Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    A Taste of Home
    by Expat

    Since moving south of the 49th, I have had to rely on the Daily Show to provide a steady diet of political lampoonery, but no longer must I feast from the American media's banqueting table.

    For those Expats who have been thirsting for Canada's brand of satiric bantering, fret no more. Rick Mercer's Monday Report has an ample supply of video clips to satisfy your hunger. I particularly enjoyed the advertisement for the CBC's upcoming "Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Ass: The Paul Cellucci Farewell Special". You can find the clip under "Highlights from the Latest Show" near the top of the page.

    Ah Rick Mercer, how I love thee!

    Prime Ministers Made Cool!
    by Expat

    While Canadians do respect their politicians (to some extent, at least) we do not revere them to the magnitude that other nations venerate their leaders. In fact, Canadians make many a joke at their political leaders expense, a Canadian past time to which the likes of programs such as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Royal Canadian Air Farce, and Double Exposure can attest. The bottom line is that Canadians love political satire.

    One company is working to change this. Rather than skewering our civil servants with satirical jabs and impersonations, Canadian Legends is working hard to turn our Prime Ministers into heroes, action figures and all. So far their line is quite limited as they only have Sir John A. Macdonald on the shelves, but they do have Sir Wilfrid Laurier in the works.

    I received a package in the mail several months ago. Underneath the brown paper wrapping was a small book about the birth of Canada and a molded version of our forefather himself, Sir John A. Macdonald, looking dapper in his hard plastic grey suit. He came with a small table, two tiny plastic books, and a pair of glasses. To my dismay, the accessories where somewhat inaccurate as there was not a tiny glass of gin accompanying Sir John, nor were his elbows jointed to allow for true to life drinking capabilities. Nevertheless, Sir John does make a very handsome action figure.

    I am waiting with bated breath to see what is next in line as I certainly would like to maintain a complete collection of Canadian Prime Ministerial action figures. Perhaps William Lyon Mackenzie King's figure will include a small plastic dog and his mother's ghost, whom toy owners could consult for advice. Maybe Canadian Legends could team up with Mattel, the maker of the Magic 8 Ball, and put that decision making technology into William's mother's ghostly skull.

    One can only hope that Pierre Trudeau's action figure is complete with a rose in the lapel of his suit, a pair of sandals, and full finger flipping action. Perhaps John Diefenbaker 's figure will come with the Red Ensign which he fought so hard to maintain against the Pearson Pennant, and will almost come with a model of the Avro Arrow. Unfortunately someone will pull the plug on putting the plane into the box at the last moment. One could only think that Kim Campbell 's action figure would be produced in limited numbers and would be available for a short matter of time, as would John Turner's.

    Here's to you, Canadian Legends, for raising Canada's Prime Ministers above the realm of satire and into the new and exciting world of action adventure figures!

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    Canucklehead's Daily Quiz
    by Expat

    I just finished the quiz of the day on Canucklehead and scored a 123,878 out of a possible 135,000. I misclicked one of the answers and another I got just plain wrong. I made it to the top ten list of high scores!

    Who is up to challenging my score?

    A Little Experiment!
    by Expat

    The Great Canadian Chocolate Adventure

    A Canadian deprived of Coffee Crisp, Aero, Big Turk, Mr.Big and Crispy Crunch will travel countless miles to find a supply of the delicious treats. Few American stores carry such candy bars, but Cost Plus world market does carry a few British versions of the bars and claims to have more of a selection of Canadian chocolate bars at Easter time.

    To find out if it is possible to get a Canadian chocolate fix at Easter time in the United States.

    This Canadian will be greatly disappointed as finding a supply of Canuck candy is just too good to be true.

    Materials and Equipment:
    Chocolate craving
    Pocket full of cash in case we are pleasantly surprised!

    Drive to Cost Plus World Market and peruse the shelves in search of Canadian chocolate. Also hit up Walmart as a control in an effort to see if Cost Plus' inventory is anymore specialized. If time allows, stop for a slurpee.

    To be compiled.

    To be compiled.

    To be compiled.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2004

    A wee follow up to the Great Canadian Chocolate Adventure:

    The weather was terrible today and, as such, this quantum weather wimp (oh how living Stateside has weakened me! ) was too chicken to venture to Cost Plus. I do promise to carry out this experiment though, as a craving for Canadian chocolate is a very strong and driving force that can not be quelled.

    Beyond Green Gables
    by Expat

    Born on November 30, 1874 in Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Lucy Maud Montgomery produced a body of work that includes over 25 novels, 8 books of short stories, two books of poetry, and a series of journals. She is best known for her red headed heroin, Anne Shirley (with an "e"), who became a global phenomenon and worked to move PEI into new cultural landscapes as diverse as Japan.

    The CBC is currently featuring an indepth multimedia feature on the life and legacy of L.M. Montgomery. I certainly recommend the feature for anyone who has read Montgomery's novels as it offers some insight into the dark depression that plagued the author throughout her lifetime.

    Sunday, March 20, 2005

    Forget these hoops. Bring on the ice, rocks, and brooms!
    by Expat

    Nothing makes you feel more Canadian than sitting in an American sports bar and being corralled into your section by multiple televisions all playing the March Madness basketball games. There I was, surrounded by sixty televisions and not a single one of them showing what really matters: the world curling championships.

    Asked who my picks were for the basketball tournament, I had to confess that I was not a basketball fan. In fact, I can not even decipher the abbreviations used for the colleges. I just randomly chose to root for the Minnesota Golden Gophers on the grounds that their mascot was a gopher, just like the Saskatchewan Roughrider's mascot Gainer, and was feeling a little homesick at the time. My heart lies with curling and forever will!

    There is good news from Paisley, Scotland. The Canadian women's team beat Switzerland 6-5 in an extra end and then went on to beat Finland 9-2. They are off to an excellent start. Today they will be competing against Scotland and Russia.

    Good luck to the ladies as they compete and good luck to this Expat who is hoping that some of the games with be picked up here in the US and is also hoping that if said games are picked up, she can find a television that is not glued to college basketball!

    A sad update: Poor ice conditions have been prevalent at this tournament. In fact, the morning draw had to be postponed due to soft ice. When the curling did ensue later in the day, Canada did not fair well against Scotland and was met with their first loss. The score was 10-3.

    Saturday, March 19, 2005

    Many Thanks!
    by Expat

    A special thanks to Leigh-Ann of The Blog Pound, a fellow Canuck living in the USA, for mentioning Canadian Expatriates on her site and also for giving this Expat the heads up on where to find Coffee Crisp. I believe that a trip to Cost Plus is, indeed, on today's agenda of things to do. :o)

    Be sure to drop by Leigh-Ann's site as it is an interesting read. Her house, like mine, is overflowing with kids of the feathered, furry, and scaled variety and she is doing a wonderful service by featuring adoptable pets on her site. Leigh-Ann certainly has a soft heart for animals.

    Go on and check her out and consider adopting a furry buddy from your local animal shelter!

    Friday, March 18, 2005

    Quick! Hide those cigarettes!
    by Expat

    In the US you can buy cigarettes, a handgun, bullets, whiskey, and an armoured tank all in one stop at the local Walmart. It is kind of like your one stop SinMart. Things are not so in Canada, particularly in Saskatchewan.

    Having been away from the coddling government of Saskatchewan, I had completely forgotten that it was illegal for stores in that province to have cigarettes on display. I remember how absurd it was the morning after the The Tobacco Control Act went into affect. Stores had plastic shower curtains hung up on the wall behind the cash register. The idea was that if children and teens did not see the cigarettes, they would not start smoking. The plan had been set forth by the Special Committee on Tobacco Control, an all party committee comprised of members of the Legislative Assembly. The resulting Act was approved unanimously in 2001 and became law in March of 2002.

    There have been multiple challenges to the Act, the biggest perhaps from Rothmans Benson & Hedges Inc. The initial case was dismissed, but it was appealed. The resulting ruling of that appeal was that Saskatchewan's Section 6 of the Tobacco Control Act was inconsistent with Section 30 of the Tobacco Control Act of Canada. The Court of Appeal ruled that Saskatchewan's Act was in effect "weaker" that the federal Act which authorizes retailers to display tobacco products and to post signs.

    But not so!

    Today's headline is as follows: Provinces Can Limit Tobacco Promotion. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Saskatchewan's law does not conflict with the federal law and is very much constitutional. In fact, they serve the same purpose "to combat a public heath evil". Other provinces, particularly British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island had watched the legal battle closely and are now considering enforcing their own laws against the promotion of tobacco products.

    Walmart had best stock up on shower curtains.

    Tomorrow's history lesson: Saskatchewan's chokehold on the sale of liquor.

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    Richardson's Pipes
    by Expat

    I came across the following song lyrics today which lead me to do some more research regarding the gentleman and the events that inspired the song writer. The song has been consigned to the public domain, so I hope that it is alright to post the lyrics here.

    Richardson's Pipes - Barry Taylor

    In a trench at the front in the war to end wars
    Young men readied for battle like thousands before
    A last note to sweethearts, a last chance to pray
    They'd be 'over the top' at the first light of day.

    And when the time came, they advanced into hell
    Torn by bullets and shrapnel, in dozens lads fell
    So deadly the fury of enemy fire
    That even the bravest could not breach the wire.

    They tried to find cover on wide open plain
    Where machine gun and rifle sang deadly refrain
    A resolute foe had repelled their attack
    They couldn't go forward... they wouldn't go back.

    Then from the top of a trench came a sound
    That made even 'most fearful of lads look around
    A piper, in full view of enemy fire
    Marching, defiant, the length of the wire.

    So renewed was their spirit, the fight to sustain
    That they sprang to their feet and advanced once again
    They cut through the wire, 'charged across no man's land
    The field was theirs and the victory at hand!

    But later 'mid shell hole and carnage they found
    His pipes, now silent, on death-laden ground
    The people at home, of his bravery they'd learn
    But the gallant young piper would never return.

    Today in a museum's glass case display
    The mud-crusted pipes that he played on that day
    And at night when the great hall is empty, they say
    You can still hear the sound of the young piper play.

    The song is based on the heroism of Piper James Cleland Richardson, of Chilliwack, British Columbia, who served in the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish during the First World War. On October 8, 1916 the seventeen year old piper, along with the First Canadian Brigade, was advancing against the Germans lines through the early morning darkness and heavy rain when his Battalion became pinned along an unbroken barbed wire fence in No Man's Land. As the battalion took on heavy casualties and commanding officer Major George Lynch lay dying, Richardson stood up and walked back and forth under heavy fire for a quarter of a mile playing Reel of Tulloch. He inspired his Battalion to continue moving forward and they managed to take on the fiercely defended German position before the ruined French village of Courcelette and cleared Regina Trench.

    Later that day, Richardson escorted the wounded Sergeant Major and several prisoners to the rear. He forgot his pipes behind and when he later went back to the front line to retrieve them, he was killed in action. He was one of 8,000 Canadians that were listed as killed and missing at Courcelette. It was on June 15, 1920 that his remains were exhumed from a battlefield grave, identified, and reburried at Adanac Cemetery. His pipes were discovered in 1917 by Major Edward Bate near Courcelette. They were broken and mud soaked. Bate kept the pipes as a souvenir of the Battle of the Somme and gave them to Ardvreck School in Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland, where he was a teacher. For over seven decades the pipes were on display at the school, that is until Roger McGuire, a Canadian historian and pipe major, saw a post on the internet asking for information regarding the history of the pipes. McGuire flew to Scotland and confirmed the authenticity of the pipes, whose ivory material was still stained with blood and mud. The inside of the bag still proudly displayed the Lennox Tartan which was unique to Richardson and Piper John Park, both of the 16th Battalion and both lost on October 8, 1916.

    Richardson was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously in April of 1919. He is the only Canadian Piper to receive the award. The pipes are still located in Scotland but hopefully will one day be repatriated to Canada.

    Further reading:
    Piper Richardson Statue Project
    Chilliwack Museum and Archives

    Tuesday, March 15, 2005

    Ten Observations from an Expat Canuck
    by Expat

    1. Americans can not make a decent Canadian (pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese) pizza. The ingredients may be the same, but it certainly does not taste the same.

    2. Krispy Kreme can not compare to Tim Horton's in any aspect, although it is fun to watch the doughnuts being made.

    3. A $5 cup of coffee from Starbucks can not compare to a $1.50 cup of coffee from Tim Horton's. Plus, sitting next to blue haired men discussing curling is far more enjoyable than sitting next to a bunch of yuppies on laptops.

    4. One can purchase Tim Horton's coffee off of eBay. Conversely, one can sell Tim Horton's coffee on eBay to Tim deprived Expats and make a profit!

    5. Canadian chocolate bars kick ass, yet can not be found in the US. As such, Coffee Crisp groupies have united to create a movement to petition Nestle to begin distributing the java bars in the US. Now we just have to create websites to bring Sweet Marie, Crunchy, Crispy Crunch, Oh Henry, Mr.Big, Turkish Delight, Aero, MacIntosh Toffee, Wine Gums, and Mars bars to this country.

    6. Canadian chips rock! Especially Old Dutch, which can safely change its slogan from "The Best in the West" to "Simply the Best".

    7. It is impossible to find Ketchup chips in the US and most Americans look at you funny when you tell them of such a thing. Some will even resort to making gagging noises.

    8. Americans also look at you funny when you order a side of gravy for your fries yet they think nothing of smothering biscuits in gravy and calling that breakfast!

    9. Americans can not hear the word "poutine" without making a dirty joke.

    10. The US has Canada beat when it comes to soda pop. Nowhere do have the selection that they have here.

    More later....

    Absolute Arrogance!
    by Expat

    I frequently surf Canucklehead for my fill of Canadian content blogging and was absolutely astounded by this media clip*. Apparently Ann Coulter believes that "Canada is lucky that the US allows Canada to exist on the same continent". Wow Ann! How novel that you are still clinging to the notion of Manifest Destiny!

    WARNING: Clicking that last link is bound to piss off any red and white blooded, passive aggressive, Tim Horton's coffee swigging, maple leaf patch sewer onto backpacks, Casey and Finnegan raised, dog-sledding (do we really all have dog sleds?!? Ah Tucker Carlson, how you misrepresent us) Canadian! It is not for the faint of heart. You have now been duly warned! *

    I was certainly struck by the words of Ann Coulter, the right wing (fascist?) lawyer/columnist/ self proclaimed pundit/Faux News groupie and spewer of all things both hateful and absolutely idiotic. But then, the fury quickly subsided as I remembered to consider the source. Ah yes, consider the source! This is after all, Ann Coulter, the same woman who brought us the following gemstones of wisdom.


    To a disabled Vietnam vet: "People like you caused us to lose that war."-- Ann Coulter, MSNBC

    "I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote."---Hannity & Colmes, 8/17/99

    "I think [women] should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote."---Politically Incorrect, 2/26/01

    "I think we had enough laws about the turn-of-the-century. We don't need any more." Asked how far back would she go to repeal laws, she replied, "Well, before the New Deal...[The Emancipation Proclamation] would be a good start."---Politically Incorrect 5/7/97


    Let's face it. Ann is not dealing with a full box of Tim Bits. She bases her extreme statements on emotion rather than on reason. She makes off the wall, off coloured statements in the hope of stirring up the emotions of her audience. Overall, she is successful. Most dismiss her crazy statements as being nothing more than "Ann-isms" but there are the select few who are blinded by the stupidity serum that Coulter peddles under the guise "American patriotism". That is very unfortunate as it is those who follow her absurd line of reasoning that cause Canadians to stereotype Americans in a negative way.

    Here is a fun party game provided to us by AntiCoulter. When reading statements made by Ann, substitute her name for the word "Liberal" and see if you can determine if Ann is evil or just plain stupid!

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Welcome to the Expat Blog!
    by Expat

    This blog will contain articles written by Canadian Expatriates living around the globe. It will offer a Canadian perspective on everything from world politics and current affairs to how to cope without a Tim Horton's nearby. It is designed to give Canadians a sense of home away from home.

    If you are interested in contributing, please send us an email. Also, if you are a Canadian Expat Blogger, please add your site to our tagboard and we will link to you in our blogroll!

    Feel free to investigate the links up above and join us on the Message Board. We also invite you to leave your mark on our Guest Map

    We look forward to getting to know you!

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