Canadian Expatriates: The Expat Blog: April 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

    Saturday, April 30, 2005

    We Remember...
    by Expat

    In honour of the upcoming 60th anniversary of VE Day, Canadian Expatriates would like to pass on the link to this story, The Price of Freedom.

    Please take the time to read the entire article, as Harold Prout's remarkable life is certainly well deserving of your time.

    Thank you to all of the veterans who paid the price of freedom.

    Friday, April 29, 2005

    U2 Fans Boo Martin
    by Expat

    Something about having U2 front man Bono lead the masses in booing the Prime Minister just leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    Don't get me wrong, there is plenty for Canadians to be booing Paul Martin and his Liberal buddies about, but to be led in a session of mass booing by a rock star over Canada's foreign aid spending seems ridiculous, especially at a time when the government is such a sinking ship.

    Just to show you how out of touch Bono really is with the present Canadian political landscape, this is a quote from last night's sold out concert in Vancouver: "I think [Paul Martin's] a great leader for Canada and that he can do what we want him to do, to lead the world out of despair and poverty, this year."

    That is exactly what Canada needs - a bunch of star struck Bono fans reprioritizing government spending just as that very government is losing its grip on power. Although "making poverty history" is certainly a noble (and increasingly trendy) cause, Canadians have bigger fish to fry at present, especially when it comes to their government.

    Expat Talkback:
    Should foreign musicians dictate the Canadian government's spending?

    Today in Canadian History
    by Expat

    On this day in 1903, the coal mining village of Frank, NWT (now Alberta) was completely obliterated when an estimated 82 million tonnes of rock slid along a plane of structural weakness from Turtle Mountain onto the village. The slide lasted for less than a minute and a half and debris stretched over 3 square kilometres, covering roads, houses, farms, and a mine entrance.

    The slide left 17 men trapped in the mine. As they fought against a dwindling air supply, they dug a new shaft and emerged to freedom having spent 13 hours trapped underground. Twenty-three men, women and children were rescued from the rubble, but at least 70 others died in the disaster.

    There is still considerable controversy over the cause of the slide. Some believe unsafe mining practices were contributing factors, while others believe it was simply a natural disaster. More than likely, the slide was caused by a combination of earthquakes, erosion, and mining.

    For more information, see the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre.

    Frank Slide

    Thursday, April 28, 2005

    Welcome to Canada! Now Let's Begin the Indoctrination!
    by Expat

    David Wilkins better hurry up and trade in his car for a dog sled and start shopping around for the perfect igloo because he is coming to Canada!

    That's right folks, the South Carolina politician, Republican fundraiser, and Bush family crony has been appointed as the new US ambassador to Canada. The best part about Wilkins' appointment is that he has only been north of the 49th once, and that was only to Niagara Falls back in the seventies.

    Why is this so awesome, you ask? Why because now we can tell him about all of the things that make Canadians Canadian. Just think of the possibilities! Wilkins has yet to be introduced to poutine, the proper use of the letter "u", Canadian Minutes, curling, the metric system, and Degrassi: The Next Generation!

    Fortunately for Canadians, Wilkins appears to be a willing student, having declared, "I'm going to learn as much as I can as fast as I can" when he heard of his appointment.

    For Fun:
    Quiz: Canadian Stereotypes, Eh?

    Fifteen Things You Didn't Know...
    by Expat

    About Canadian Idol host Ben Mulroney!

    For instance, did you know that Ben models himself off of P.Diddy? Or that he owns two copies of Girl You Know Its True by Milli Vanilli?

    I bet that you didn't, but it is all true!

    Find out more fascinating facts about Ben at Ben Mulroney Finishes the Sentences.

    For previous posts about Ben, see:
    Word Search, Ben Mulroney, and a Recipe
    Big Foot Lives!

    Wednesday, April 27, 2005

    Ilanaaq: Friend or Foe?
    by Expat

    The official logo for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games has been unveiled and it is creating quite a stir, particularly in British Columbia.

    Nicknamed "Ilanaaq", which means friendship, the logo was chosen from over 1,600 submitted entries. The stocky colourful figure is meant to be an inukshuk - a directional marker used for centuries to point wayward Inuit travelers to safety - but Canada's leading expert in inukshuks says that the figure certainly is not. According to Norman Hallendy, an inukshuk is a collection of stones assembled by the northern Inuit to serve as a navigational beacon, and can take many shapes. Stone figures that take on the form of a human, as does the Olympic logo, are called innunguaq.

    The use of the northern Inuit symbol, has perplexed the West Coast natives. "It's kind of like a poke in the eye to first nations people and first nations artists," said Chief Edward John of British Columbia's First Nations Summit, which represents 150 native communities. "Does inukshuk represent Canada? I hardly think so. It represents the North. Put it this way: If there were games in Yellowknife and the logo was West Coast totem poles, do you think they'd be happy up there?" Others maintain that the icon looks like Gumby or even "like a multi-coloured, flattened out Michelin Man, created from little plastic flags like the ones used to stick in Tinker Toys."

    According to Olympic organizers, the figure is a stylized, contemporary interpretation of the Inukshuk and is meant to represent all of Canada and not simply just the West Coast. It was designed to be a symbol of Canada's hospitality.

    It would seem that although "Ilanaaq" means friendship, this little guy has found a host of enemies among his critics.

    Expat Talkback:
    What is your opinion of the Olympic logo? Does it represent Canada?

    2010 Olympic Logo

    Tuesday, April 26, 2005

    How Bizarre
    by Expat

    A Calgary, Alberta man has been arrested in India for impersonating a police officer in an attempt to scam women into marrying him.

    When 27 year old Inderjit Singh Dhanota was arrested last week in the Indian state of Punjab, he was in possession of a toy gun, and a fake badge and uniform similar to the ones worn by the Calgary City Police. For the past month, he had been driving around Ludhiana with a flashing red light affixed to the top of his car and the word "police" painted across the side. He allegedly placed an ad in the local paper claiming that he was the "Commissioner of the Calgary Police" in an attempt to lure young women into meeting him and marrying him. He also opened up a business specializing in immigration to Canada next door to the hotel where he was staying.

    Dhanota has been charged with impersonating a police officer and cheating on the two women that he managed to dupe into marrying him.

    Isn't it Ironic, Don't ya Think?
    by Expat

    Ten years after Alanis Morissette rocked the music scene with her album, Jagged Little Pill, word is that she is selling out.

    According to an article in Maclean's, Morissette has recorded an unplugged, not so angry version of her angry chick music. Where can you buy a copy of her new album? Why at the yuppiest of trendy coffee shops, Starbucks!

    As Alanis herself once sung, "Who would've thought? It figures."

    Monday, April 25, 2005

    A Passive Aggressive Protest
    by Expat

    Two ranchers just outside of Regina, Saskatchewan have found a creative way to protest the U.S. border closure to Canadian live cattle.

    Miles Anderson and Jay Fitzpatrick both have given up haircuts in their attempt to put pressure on the American government to reopen the border to Canadian beef. Neither man has had a haircut in over a year and are wondering how much longer it will be until they can once again ship their cattle and snip their locks.

    Although Anderson says that he will continue his protest for as long as it takes, he does express some concern with the rapid approach of wood tick season. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, is quickly growing tired of maintaining his 'do, despite having received many comments about both his lengthly locks and his protest.

    There is no word on whether any of those remarks were to the effect of "get a haircut and get a real job".*

    *Not that we at Canadian Expatriates believe that ranching is not a real job!

    Prejudice or the Price of Living in a New Land?
    by Expat

    The Halifax Herald is reporting that Julia Ebell, a Washington D.C. native who is studying in Halifax at the University of King's College, is facing plenty of "anti-American prejudice" from fellow students. This prejudice includes her peers saying "ohhhhh" when she tells them where she is from, followed by "What are you doing here?" and "Why are you here?". She has also been called that "American girl" and told that she should meet the other "American girl" on campus.

    If that is considered to be anti-American prejudice, then this Canuck has been facing her own obstacles on this side of the border. I could not count the number of times that someone has asked me where I am from or what brought me to this area. For awhile, I was even nicknamed "that immigrant girl" at my workplace and I frequently hear all of the stereotypical Canadian jokes. Does it bother me? No. When I moved here, I realized that there were cultural differences that would give away my heritage and that people would notice that, and perhaps even question me about it. Does it mean that the people that I interact with are "anti-Canadian" because they notice that I spell things differently, speak differently, or hold different views? Absolutely not. It simply means that I am Canadian and my heritage sets me apart from Americans.

    Of course, it has not all been a positive experience. There have been plenty of times where curiousity or good natured humour have not been the motivation behind the questions and jokes. I have encountered everything from long monologues against immigration (some filled with hate), anger towards Canadians for their government's stance on the war in Iraq, and just general ignorance when it comes to Canada. Although such attitudes can be hurtful, it is necessary to disregard those statements and not let them affect who I am. Once I came to terms with that, life in a new country became much easier. I suggest that Julia Ebell do likewise.

    Sunday, April 24, 2005

    Winning the Legal Lottery
    by Expat

    A Windsor, Ontario man was awarded $340,000 in damages after suffering a "recognizable psychological injury" for seeing a fly in a bottle of Culligan water.

    According to the Windsor Star, on Nov. 21, 2001 Waddah Mustapha and his wife were "preparing a new bottle of Culligan water to put in their dispenser when she saw something dark in the bottle. Both looked closely and saw legs and wings and realized it was a dead fly". As a result of the incident, Mustapha claims that he suffered severe depression, a loss of his sense of humour, constipation, nightmares, and a phobia of showering that required him to undergo therapy - all this from merely having seen a fly in a bottle of water.

    Certainly seeing a fly in a bottle of water would not be pleasant, but would it really be all that life altering? Could it really cause a person to stop showering? Either this gentleman had a "recognizable psychological injury" prior to this incident that caused him to become so unhinged or his reaction to the incident was excessive. Either way though, it would appear that Americans no longer hold a monopoly on frivolous lawsuits.

    Saturday, April 23, 2005

    Hockey, Mountains, and Rink Yaks
    by Expat

    The NHL may be letting the fans down this season, but a group of Canadian mountain climbers are still keeping their passion for the sport alive with a game on Mount Everest - complete with a Yak zamboni.

    For Fun:
    Hockey Monkey (opens in Media Player)
    Send a Zamboni eCard
    Zonker's Lego Zamboni Page

    Friday, April 22, 2005

    Not a Story for the Weak of Stomach
    by Expat

    I have heard of folks being hungry enough to "eat a horse", but a cat?

    That is just plain wrong.

    For the story see:
    Remains in Refrigerator Might be Cooked Cat
    Couple Criminally Charged with Killing and Cooking Neighbour's Pet Cat

    Should US Military Deserters Become Canadian Refugees?
    by Expat

    Thomas Hayden, the retired California state senator, one time husband to Jane Fonda, and anti-war activist, believes that there is a humanitarian crisis within the United States and that it is Canada’s role to get involved.

    Hayden has teamed up with Celeste Zappala, whose son died in Iraq last year, and Canadian human rights lawyer Jeffry House to appeal to Ottawa to establish a new category of refugees. The trio wants the Canadian government to provide work permits and opportunities for asylum and sanctuary for these new refugees. If they get their way, these new refugees will be United States military personnel who no longer wish to serve their country. Hayden has even gone as far as to claim that the dissension among US military personnel is a “humanitarian crisis”.

    But can a deserter be considered a refugee simply because of their refusal to fulfill the Oath of Enlistment and the duties that they volunteered to fulfill? Is a person a refugee simply because they fear combat or dislike military service on whatever grounds? Is a person a refugee because they will surely face prosecution if they return to their own country?

    Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board says no. In fact, it was only last month that U.S. Army Specialist Jeremy Hinzman lost his bid for refugee status after he had abandoned his unit because he believed the invasion of Iraq was “criminal”. This is the same Hinzman who joined the Army 10 months prior to September 11th. His job? A paratrooper in the Army’s most gung-ho unit, the 82nd airborne.

    Hinzman is not a draft dodger, nor is he a refugee. The US military is a voluntary service, just as Canada's is. When Hinzman and others volunteered to serve their country, they were aware of the magnitude of the commitment and they pledged to abide by the Oath of Enlistment. This oath is the same for all branches of the US military with the exception of the Army National Guard, who pledge to obey both the President and the Governor of the State in which they serve. With that Oath, a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine is no longer a civilian. They now serve their country and their Commander in Chief. Yes, they may not agree with the decisions made by the President, but their job is not to question those decisions, it is to follow though with them. To avoid fulfilling that volunteer duty is simply desertion and that is simply cowardice.

    Expat Talkback:
    Should Canada create a new category of refugee particularly for US military deserters?

    Thursday, April 21, 2005

    by Expat

    Tired of looking for hidden meaning in Prime Minister Paul Martin's address? Already read Stephen Harper's victory speech?

    If you want to see what Mr.Martin meant to say, check out the Maple Lounge's advance press copy of the Prime Minister's address.

    In the meantime, here is a fun little game, courtesy of the CBC, to keep your mind off of whatever it is that you are supposed to be doing: Show Me the Honey!

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    Let's Party, Canada!
    by Expat

    Today marks yet another accomplishment for our proud nation. Canada is now the only place on the globe where you can legally use peppermint flavoured marijuana spray!

    Go Canada!

    (Just remember to keep plenty of snacks on hand for when the munchies set in.)

    For Fun:
    The Grow-Op Board Game
    (Hey, it's Canadian!)
    Online Game: Virtually Stoned

    Big Foot Lives!
    by Expat

    Not only has there been a Big Foot sighting captured on video, but now we have proof that Big Foot is, in fact, a Canuck. He makes his home, where else, but Norway House, Manitoba. According to the Globe and Mail, this sighting is the "real deal".

    Either that, or Canadian Idol host Ben Mulroney and his massive head of hair are vacationing near the Nelson River.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    The Expat Files
    by Expat

    While reading the news on CBC's website this evening, I came across The Expat Files. It consists of several articles written by Canadians who are currently living abroad. Locations include the Czech Republic, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and China, among others.

    It may be of interest to some of our readers who are currently overseas and curious as to what other Canucks thought about the experience.

    Variations on a Theme: Another Tim Hortons Post
    by Expat

    It is not as though Canadians need yet another reason to love Tim Hortons, yet here one is!

    Is there anything that Tim's can't do?

    Canada's Loch Ness Monster: Ogopogo
    by Expat

    Salish aboriginal legends indicate that there has been a large sea creature living in south central British Columbia's Lake Okanagan long before the arrival of the white man. According to folklore, the lake monster was originally a demon possessed man who murdered a local man named Old Kan-He-K (who lent his name to Lake Okanagan). As punishment for the homicide, the gods turned the murderer into a sea serpent who would be stuck at the scene of the crime for all of eternity. Out of fear that the creature, known as N'ha-a-itk, would rise out of the waters and claim their lives, the Salish Indians would never canoe near the area of his lair without first carefully scanning the water and bringing an offering of small animals to appease the monster. According to the legend, the lake monster's lair is a cave at the bottom of Lake Okanagan, under Squally Point and near Rattlesnake Island.

    The first documented sighting of the creature occurred in 1872 by a Mrs. John Allison and the sightings have continued into the present. Some of the sightings are remarkable because of the quantity of people who saw the monster at the same time. On September 16, 1926 for instance, thirty car loads of people all witnessed the monster emerge from the lake, just off of Mission Beach. It is not surprising, in that case, that there are commonalities to the sightings. Most of the accounts describe a green serpent about two feet in diameter with the head of a horse or a goat. The length of the sea creature generally varies from 15 feet to 50 feet.

    Although most sightings of Ogopogo are met with amusement and skepticism, the depth of Lake Okanagan does make the existence of such a creature somewhat plausible. The lake is 169 kilometres in length, extending from Vernon at the north to Penticton in the south with Kelowna in the middle, with depths of almost 1,000 feet in some parts. Despite the fact that there is little documented proof that the creature exists, apart from multiple eye witness accounts and grainy photographs and video tape, some scientists believe that Ogopogo may be a giant serpent or an aquatic dinosaur. Some scientist have even gone as far as to identify the sea creature as basilosaurus cetoides, a primitive form of whale.

    It may be disputable as to whether Ogopogo is an urban legend or actually exists, but one thing is clear - he certainly is good for the Okanagan tourism industry.

    For Fun:
    Unpublished Stories of Ogopogo
    Song: Just a Lonely Ogopogo (audio)
    Video of an Ogopogo sighting and the story behind it.


    Monday, April 18, 2005

    Another PSA
    by Expat

    Once again, Canadian Expatriates is issuing a public service announcement. This time it is directed towards the good folks in British Columbia.

    If your car runs out of gas, don't lay in the middle of the road.

    As Canadian as Maple Syrup
    by Expat

    While today's children dine on the freaky delights of Boobah, the preschool version of a psychedelic acid trip, their parents, at least on the north side of the 49th, are left to ponder the question, "what on earth has happened to children's television?". These parents and their parents grew up in a different era, one in which every child invited a balding middle age man, his tickle trunk, and his puppet sidekicks into their homes weekdays at 10:30 am.

    Sounds somewhat ominous, doesn't it? But it wasn't.

    The middle aged man, of course, was Ernie Coombs, otherwise known as Mr.Dressup. Coombs was born on November 26, 1927 in Lewistown, Maine. He moved to Canada in 1963 as an understudy to his friend, fellow American Fred Rogers. They both worked for the CBC on an early version of what would later become Mister Roger's Neighborhood. A year later, Rogers moved back to the United States where he would find success, but Coombs stayed in Canada to work on the children's show Butternut Square, which would later evolve into Mr.Dressup. Before long, this American would become a Canadian icon.

    Over the course of his nearly 30 year run on CBC television, Mr.Dressup taught many a child arts, crafts, make believe, and the importance of friendship. His sidekicks were Casey, the orange haired rouge-wearing "is it a boy or is it a girl" puppet, and Casey's silent dog Finnegan. It is rumoured that Finnegan did not always have to rely on Casey to be his mouthpiece. That situation evolved after Finnegan became so foul mouthed that CBC producers no longer allowed him to have a microphone. Casey and Finnegan both lived, unsupervised, in Mr.Dressup's backyard treehouse.

    Mr.Dressup had numerous friends, both of the puppet and human variety that would drop in for a visit or a game of make believe. From 1967 until 1992 children were entertained by Aunt Bird, Hester the Witch, Wise Old Owl, and Alligator Al. Come 1992, puppeteer Judith Laurence retired and her puppets retired with her. Casey and the crew were then replaced with Chester the Crow, Annie (who sported a mullet), Granny, Lorenzo the raccoon, and Truffles the clown. Many of Mr.Dressup's original fans never warmed up to these new additions and some even maintain that Casey and Finnegan's departure signifies the day that Mr.Dressup jumped the shark. However, reruns of the program and its ongoing popularity undermine that theory.

    In 1994, Coombs, who by now had left an indelible mark on the landscape Canadian childhood, became a Canuck himself. He was presented with the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's lifetime achievement Earle Grey Award that same year. Two years later, Coombs was appointed to the Order of Canada. 1996 also saw Mr.Dressup close his tickle trunk one final time as he retired from television, but not from the hearts of his fans. In fact, his tickle trunk did not stay closed for long, he was soon traveling from coast to coast doing stage shows for his old, young, and new fans.

    In the spring of 2001 Coombs was awarded an honourary degree from Trent University. As Coombs addressed the graduating class, he advised, "Always keep an open mind and an open heart. Don't take life too seriously - it doesn't last forever, you know. And for the last time - keep your pencils sharp, your hands out of the sticky tape, and always put the lids back on your markers." Coombs died not long after that speech on September 18, 2001.

    Peter Gzowski once said, "A cure for what ails the world: a little Mr. Dressup every morning". One can only wonder how different the world would be if Mr.Dressup had been exported for those thirty years that it was on the air.

    For Fun:
    Mr.Dressup Theme Song (audio)
    Jim Parker's "Where are You Mr.Dressup?" (A catchy tribute!)
    Fact and Opinion on Mr.Dressup (Rated PG)
    Quiz: How well do you know Canadian children's television?

    Sunday, April 17, 2005

    Sunday Night Challenge
    by Expat

    In need of a hockey fix?

    Combine your love for the sport with a test of your knowledge of all things Canuck in the Great Canadian Trivia Shootout.

    Good luck! The game can get kind of violent, if you stink at the trivia!

    Saturday, April 16, 2005

    Public Service Announcement
    by Expat

    A word of advice to our readers from the fine province of Ontario:

    You may want to stop purchasing milk from mysterious white vans.

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Anyone gotta flag?
    by Bethanie Odd

    Although each of the three stories is 100% accurate according to my memory..
    *The car was blue officer, it was a blue Ford
    *Um Ma’am it looks as though it was a yellow Mazda….
    I am using the most saturated as examples in these stories, otherwise it is hard to put people in boxes and what fun would that be?

    Part One of Three: Canadians in Asia

    I walked down the centre of the dim street. In the Chinese district of Penang, Malaysia, the pre-war store fronts all had second story shuttered windows where I could imagine slender beauties with their long white traditional tops, and pitch black bone straight hair flirtatiously gazing to the streets below. The Chinese calligraphy above each double door added to this otherworld sensation I was having in the darkness that had hushed the hard working people of this street. I could hear the soft hiss of the dark skinned, almost black, Hindi shoe cobbler who spent his day sitting on a plastic box. He blended into the shadows. It was at his hiss that I knew where to turn. I had no idea until much later this almost wheeze omitting from his mouth was a tout, I just thought he had an annoying habit. I feel like I have become much more open, meaning I didn’t kill the guy, over the years to cultural differences between nations and my middle class Canadian upbringing (eg: eating with your mouth open making a smacking sound) so I paid it little heed.

    I turned into the little shop with the red chilli lights illuminating the entry way. There were about 10 people sitting on stools in an area no bigger than my “downstairs” bathroom growing up. Half of them had instruments. A drum with one drum and a cymbal, an old guitar and a kids key board. I ordered a beer and split it with a man I knew from another trip. Traditional Malay love songs were roughly played as a game of football (soccer) was shown on a tv mounted to the peeling plastered wall. I could hear laughter from down the dark alley way and was curious to see who was going to join in the small little pub gathering. Rounding the corner with huge bright smiles was a young couple. He was sporting a Roots t-shirt and a MEC backpack with a Canadian flag taking up the bulk of the base. Originally, though, he had his provincial flag on the smaller upper part of the sac. She was wearing a “Canadian Chicks Kick Ass” shirt with a MEC day pack, with a smaller flag shining vibrantly. “It’s Canada Day” they yelled into the bar. The man walked up to the mic and repeated “ITS CANADA DAY”. The Malays smiled at him and at each other not knowing what that meant.

    I called to them, Where are you from? They answered, Canada. My friend started to laugh. I said, well yes, I figured but where in BC? They turned around grabbed the mic from the man, handed one to the girl and tried to teach the band the basic course of our beloved national anthem and resigned to singing it over the speakers to the tune of a Malay love song.

    They were out exploring the world together. They were taking risks ie: being on this street this late at night, and they were proud of where they came from. They reminded me of when I had first moved out of Canada and would wear Canadian flagged boxer shorts under a kilt, fishnet stockings, Doc Martin boots and a “Spirit of the West” t-shirt almost everywhere I went. Don’t mistake me for an American, I am proud of where I come from, yet I was the only one wearing my flag in 20 different places. Two days later I saw the same couple stumble into the bus heading back to Thailand. Again, “decked out”, he was wearing a Molson Canadian t-shirt and she a little tank top with a flag and a beaver on the chest. She placed her bag in the upper storage bin and her MEC cargo pants shifted on her slight hips exposing her thong and her little Canadian flag tattoo.

    Posted by Bethanie Odd at 9:56 PM

    Canada Deems Toy Guns a Threat
    by Expat

    The Canadian government has ordered the recall of 21,000 toy guns on the basis that the toys pose a threat to the nation.

    The rifles, which were manufactured in China, were weighted down with a bag of soil, which also originated in China. The Canadian government is concerned that the soil may contain pests and bacteria which will pose a threat to Canada's crops and forests. For that reason, Canada bars the importation of soil from areas outside of North America.

    "We didn't expect plant protection problems from toy guns," said Canadian Food Inspection Agency spokesman Alain Charette.

    Intitial tests show that the soil had not been properly treated to remove contaminants prior to shipping.

    Tim Hortons and Canadian Cultural Identity
    by Expat

    There is an interesting discussion going on here.

    Bethanie has posed the question why is "so much of modern Canadian cultural identity is based on a coffee shop"? It is definitely a topic that deserves some exploration!

    The man for the job to answer that question would be Steve Penfold. Penfold wrote his masters thesis on the sociological aspects of Canadian doughnut shops, including Tim Hortons. For his research, he won the 1999 Ig Nobel Prize. Sadly, we at Canadian Expatriates, do not have the number to Steve's red phone so you are stuck with my inane ramblings on the subject.

    There is no denying that Tim Hortons is one of the most successful companies that has ever come out of Canada. With franchises springing up every couple of blocks, it is hard not to notice its presence. Those franchises, though, are not just mom and pop operations. Certainly they do take on the flavour of the area in which they are established, but through the power of branding, you can always rely on the service and the product being consistent. According to Tim Hortons' executive vice president of marketing, "People do not experience our brand through radio and TV spots. They experience it over the counter every time they order a coffee, knowing that they are going to get it fast, fresh, and at a good price." To ensure this, employees at every new franchise must undergo seven weeks of training.

    Although the ad executive tries to play down the commercials, there is something to be said for Tim Hortons marketing. The company's commercials are certainly memorable and they do play on a sense of Canadian national pride and identity. In all honesty, Canadians have had a difficult time defining themselves. As a nation, we try so hard to distance ourselves from our powerful neighbours to the south that we end up defining ourselves more as "not American" than as Canadian. That is what made Molson Canadian's "I am Joe and I am Canadian" ad campaign so successful. It provided Canadians with a tangible sense of national identity, even if it really was just highlighting the differences between the two nations.

    Tim Horton's ad campaign, on the other hand, actually did supply Canadians with that missing sense of identity. To promote the 1999 "Roll Up the Rim" contest, a television spot began airing which featured a Canadian proving his citizenship to a border guard by declaring "Rrrrrroll up the rrrrrim!". Not long after that, border guards reported an insurgence of Canadians using the shtick to enter the country. Another successful commercial for Tim Hortons was one that featured a Canadian student studying abroad in Scotland. Homesick, the student wrote a letter to Tim Hortons and received a care package in the mail. In the package was a Hortons' coffee maker, coffee, and paper cups. It was a taste of home and a taste of Canadian pop culture.

    At the same time as the clever marketing campaigns, This Hour has 22 Minutes and The Royal Canadian Air Farce were featuring skits set in coffee shops. Even the movie Wayne's World spoofed Tim Horton's when the characters went to the fictional coffee shop "Stan Mikita's", the name of another former NHLer. As Canadians saw themselves reflected in these shows, it became clear that these shops were not just a place to pick up coffee and a doughnut. They were more than that. In fact, they were a community where people could sit leisurely and visit. Tim Horton's had come to represent that sense of community, and that sense of being Canadian. Isn't it ironic then, that this icon of Canadiana is actually owned by Americans?

    Expat Talkback:
    What does Tim Hortons represent to you?
    What is it that you miss most about being away from Canada?

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    by Expat

    New Brunswick boaters are getting a hot and heavy earful when they dial Transport Canada's toll free hotline.

    Government Hotline Leads to Phone Sex.

    Another Tim Hortons Lament (This one with an action plan!)
    by Expat

    Nothing goes better with a warm spring day than finding that last year's shorts are a little too big around the waist and a picking up a frothy cold Tim Hortons' iced cap.

    But where can those of us living abroad go to fulfill that iced java craving? Sadly, Tim's has not yet taken over the world and there are still many underdeveloped areas of this continent with a *shudder* Starbucks or a *double shudder* Dunkin Donuts on every street corner!

    Well, don't fret because thanks to this handy dandy recipe, Canucks abroad can make iced caps at home.

    That's right, break out that blender, baby!

    Copycat Tim Hortons' Iced Cappuccino Recipe
    4 cups milk
    1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer (Tim's uses 18% cream!)
    2 tsp. vanilla
    2 Tbsp. instant coffee
    3 Tbsp. hot chocolate mix
    1/4 cup cold milk

    Heat the 4 cups of milk to boiling; remove from heat. Add creamer, vanilla, instant coffee and hot chocolate mix; stir well. Pour mixture into a container with a lid; put into freezer and freeze until very firm, but slightly slushy. Put mixture in a food processor; while processing, add the 1/4 cup milk in small increments to mixture. Process until all is combined and nicely slushy.

    The recipe is "supposed" to make 6 to 8 servings, but we won't tell if it just amounts to one giant serving.

    For Fun:
    Tim Hortons Trivia
    Tim Hortons Locator (Includes US locations)

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    A Celebration of Canadian Animation
    by Expat

    The CBC's new series Maple Shorts provides a showcase for Canadian Flash animators to display their skills and gain national exposure. The show itself is a half hour in length and features short animated films that range from four minutes to six minutes. It airs on CBC Wednesdays at 4:30 pm.

    Those of us with a definite geological disadvantage when it comes to watching the CBC, can view the films on the Maple Shorts website. There will be a new selection of cartoons to watch each week and an opportunity to vote online for your favourite short animation. Last week's favourite film was Dr. Pin. (Requires Windows Media Player.)

    Now where do I find Dr. Pin's Aphrodesiaxa?

    Today in Canadian History
    by Expat

    On this day in 1645, Charles de Menou d’Aulnay attacked Fort La Tour, which is now the site of Saint John, New Brunswick.

    Charles La Tour's wife, Françoise-Marie Jacquelin, surrendered on the understanding that the garrison would be spared but d'Aulnay's broke his promise and executed all the men but one, who had agreed to be executioner. Françoise-Marie was not hung, although she was forced to watch the horror. She died after being put in "severe restriant" for trying to send a message to her husband, who was in Boston meeting with supporters, through a Mi’kmac ally.

    In a strange twist of events, La Tour would later go on to marry d'Aulnay's wife. There is no record on whether La Tour was haunted by Françoise-Marie's angry ghost.

    The entire story can be found here, Civil War in Acadia.

    Spare the Duct Tape; Spoil the Job!
    by Expat

    A steady stream of cars are lining up to see two polar bears who reside in the frozen harbour of Newfoundland's small community of Embree. Initially the bears created so much of a stir, that startled drivers were slamming their brakes to get a better look at the mother and cub. The bears, although they look realistic from a distance, certainly are not.

    In fact, the bears are something that Red Green and the folks up at Possum Lodge would be immensely proud of. Composed of a month's work, nearly 50 rolls of packing tape, plastic, and wood, the bears really are a bit of a masterpiece. Their creator, Edward Collins, likens them to yard art and says that he made them in order to give the small town with a population of nearly 900 "something to talk about". Indeed, it has.

    That's right Edward, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy! (audio)

    Keep your stick on the ice. (audio)

    More on duct tape:
    Duct tape is an effective wart remover
    Duct tape wall tapings
    Make a duct tape hammock

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    The Tale of a Woman Disguised as a Man Disguised as a Woman
    by Expat

    Sarah Emma Edmonds was one of only a handful of women who succeeded in enlisting in the United States Army during the Civil War.

    She was also Canadian.

    You can find an adorable flash cartoon of her life at Heritage Moment and a more indepth biography about her fascinating career as a spy at the Civil War Home.

    Grandma's Cannabis Casserole
    by Expat

    Patricia Tabram should consider packing her bags and moving from England to Canada, the first country to regulate the medicinal use of marijuana.

    The 66 year old grandmother has a penchant for marijuana and includes it in her casseroles, cookies, biscuits, cakes, and scrambled eggs. She then shares her cuisine with her friends and neighbours. Tabram first began using pot last year, after she was introduced to it by some friends. She says that she uses the drug for its medicinal properties and since she does not care for smoking it, the former chef decided to cook with it.

    Last May, police came to Tabram's East Lea home in a raid. The grandmother explains, "When the police came to my door I invited them in. I told them to look in the loft and I offered them some tea and biscuits." In her home, police found 31 cannabis plants along with hydroponic cultivation equipment. In a later raid they found 47 bags of "skunk," a particularly strong form of marijuana. Although British police are not expected to arrest people for possessing a small amount of cannabis, it is illegal to supply it to others.

    Tabram plead guilty to charges of "intent to supply" but was spared hard jail time in favour of a six-month suspended prison sentence.

    For more on Canada's stance on cannabis, please see the CBC's Pot and Politics: Canada and the Marijuana Debate and Canada Health's Straight Facts about Drugs and Drug Abuse.

    A New Campaign Strategy
    by Expat

    "Voting for convicted criminals may be hazardous to your health," reads hundreds of posters on display in two ridings on Vancouver's Westside. Featured on the posters is British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell's mugshot. Some of the posters also have the words "Convicted Criminal" stamped across Gordon's forehead.

    The mugshot originated two years ago when Campbell was arrested in Maui for drinking and driving. As a result of the incident, Campell was ordered to pay pay fines and fees totaling $913 US ($1,350 Cdn), complete a 14-hour alcohol assessment program, and have a substance abuse assessment. He also became the subject of public criticism and faced calls for his resignation.

    Looking at the posters, one can only wonder if things would have been different had there been posters that read "Voting for the Liberals is Hazardous to the Health of the Nation" with a picture of Jean Chrétien with the words "Will Reward Payoffs, Kickbacks, and Secret Donations with Hefty Federal Contracts" stamped across his forehead during the 1993, 1997, and 2000 federal elections.

    For Fun:
    Create a poster for Jean Chrétien's election campaign.

    Chrétien's Campaign Poster

    Click the image to enlarge.

    Monday, April 11, 2005

    Peter MacKay: Fast and Sexy!
    by Expat

    Conservative MP Peter MacKay, who was just last week named as one of Canada's sexiest MPs, will be serving back to back seven day driving suspensions after being caught speeding twice last year.

    The offences occurred on November 11, 2004 when an RCMP officer clocked Mr. MacKay going 134 km/h in a 100 km/h zone on Highway 104 in Broadway, N.S.; and on December 23, 2004 when the same officer pulled MacKay over on Highway 6 in Caribou River, N.S., for going 109 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. In addition to the suspensions, which will begin May 21, MacKay also has to pay $430 in fines.

    Don't you fret though, Peter, as we will not let your lead foot nor your reliance on public transit taint our lust for you! You are still one of Ottawa's finest!

    So Long Joe!
    by Expat

    Five years after Joe introduced the world to the terms "chesterfield", "touque", and the letter "zed", Molson Breweries is saying "hit the road Joe". That's right, the "I am Canadian" advertisement campaign is over. Witnesses declared that Joe's death knell could be heard as the Montreal based Molson merged with U.S. brewer Adolph Coors Co in a $6 billion Ameribuck deal.

    To replace the flannel wearing, flag waving, free toque in your case of beer, declaration of national pride advertising campaign, Molson Canadian has introduced a new tagline and a new series of commercials to pitch their product to thirsty consumers. In Joe's stead, we will now find bodacious babes and frat boys partying it up in television commercials along with the tagline, "It Starts Here". Clearly this new and innovative marketing campaign will set Molson Canadian apart from all of those other brands of beer whose manufacturers have not yet clued in that sex sells liquor.

    As a nation mourns the end of an ad campaign that became part of the Canadian cultural identity, we can only cling to what remains of the "I am Canadian" gear. Thanks to the heads up from Mudpuppy, we know that there is a good stash of it here.

    Looking for more?
    You can find all sorts of variations of the "I am Canadian" rant here, including the original. You will also find a rant for our American friends here. (Audio)

    If you are one of my in-laws or an American who does not have a sense of humour (not that being my in-law and lacking a sense of humour goes hand in hand) do NOT click that last link! I am totally serious. You might think that I am kidding, but I am not! Seriously, I am serious.

    The Sourtoe Cocktail
    by Expat

    The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon offers all the things that a visitor has come to expect: modern comfortable rooms, a jacuzzi, telephones, cable TV, complimentary limo rides to the airport, a gift shop, and also something that some visitors may not expect: the Sourtoe Cocktail.

    Found in the hotel's Sourdough Saloon, the Sourtoe Cocktail consists of a shot of Yukon Jack and a petrified human toe. The idea is to allow the toe to touch your lips while you swig the shot. If you do, you will receive a certificate attesting to that fact and also membership into the Sourtoe Cocktail Club. You also will have one heck of a story to gross out your friends.

    The tradition of the cocktail began in the early 1970s, and is a very recent tradition when compared to Dawson City's rich gold rush history. All of the toes have been donated. Some had to be removed due to frost bite, while another had met its severed fate at the blades of a lawn mower. There have been a few cases where a toe has been stolen or even swallowed, so there are a number of second string toes on hand.

    For more see:
    Sourtoe: A Poem
    Virtual Tour of The Downtown Hotel
    A Personal Tale of the Sourtoe Cocktail

    And, of course, The True Story of Trapper Jack's Big Left Toe. Nothing makes for a better children's book then a tale about severed toes and whiskey shots!

    Haven't had your fill of Yukon bar room attractions? Then see, "Hotel Owner Displays Dead Cat"

    Saturday, April 09, 2005

    Further Anti-Canadian Propaganda
    by Expat

    This time an American editorialist at the Niagara Falls Gazette scathes Canada for not supporting Bush's military efforts and asks, "Whatever happened to that proud nation?". This, while much of his own country and the majority of the global community are also unsupportive of Bush's measures in the Middle East.

    The article is filled with errors and it is clear that David Livingston has yet to learn that Google is his friend. Errors include:

  • Calling Prime Minister Paul Martin, "Tony Martin".

  • Claiming that the friendly fire incident in Afghanistan that killed four Canadians occurred last year, when it actually happened on April 18, 2002. Then going on to complain that Canadians refuse to dole out daily condolences when it comes to US casualties in Iraq.

  • Livingston also writes that he feels the real reason why Martin did not want to participate in developing a missile shield for North America was that he is "worried that a missile aimed at Washington might end up hitting Toronto by mistake". Dude, see the above friendly fire incident that you say "certainly is not uncommon"!

  • Claiming that the US "is sending their young men and women to die in the place of Canadians" and that Canada is placing a burden on Britain, who has to pick up the Canadian slack in this war. Is this even possible? Can a nation claim that its military is fighting in the stead of another nation who formally does not support the war? Um, no.

  • The author also claims that America has lost more than 412 times as many men in combat as Canada since 1945. Does it occur to him that the US has been involved in more wars than Canada in that time frame and are much more aggressive when it comes to taking military action?

  • World War 11 is World War Eleven. World War II is World War Two.

    About the only part that Livingston did get right is that the Canadian Armed Forces "have so long been neglected that they are little more than a parade ground police force that is more suited to protecting food shipments than engaging in real battle". I will hand him that, but as for the rest, if you want to sound remotely credible when you spew your hatred, check your facts.

  • Friday, April 08, 2005

    Jungle hockey
    by Bethanie Odd

    Last year, during the cusp of the rainy season, I woke up with patriotic anticipation. I left my bamboo husk bed and went into the computer room of my beach front bungalow in Phuket, Thailand. I turned on the fan to distil the smell of urinal cakes from the room. Years prior I had learned the hard way, that ants love warm little boxes… like computer towers. I also learned that urinal cakes and moth balls inside these boxes keep the bugs away yet emanate the rankest of smells. I then, like every other day in Thailand, went downstairs and made myself a muesli, mango and coconut yogurt breakfast. By the time I re-entered my computer room my adrenaline had escalated. The sun beamed through my soft blue Indian sari curtains and I tried to savour the build up. Today was the day the Flames were to win the Stanley Cup.

    It had been a long time since I had paid any attention to hockey. After a game or two on visits to my parents, I realised that all of a sudden the players are hot. PRESTO I liked the sport again. (This is the same reason I bought the first 50 cent album as well.) Thank god my hormones chose the season which my home team made it to the finals. It launched me right back into the sport, gigantic pointed sponge finger and all.

    I managed to get my dial up modem (28.8kbps) to receive ESPN’s live broadcast of the final game. I called my dearest friend here, who happens to be from Blackie Alberta, to switch on her computer. We listened and conversed over messenger services. Just like the good ol’ days where the whole family sat around the radio, only this was on teak rather then bear skin and through the internet….. hmmmm. There were a lot of sentimental notes about the strength of the Canadian accent once you had been gone for a while and the comedic importance put on Tim Horton’s coffee. Yes, yes I know. It is now a cultural icon. We even distribute our money through this establishment, however when I left Calgary ten years ago it was just the only place that was open to get coffee prior to an out of town hockey game. I suppose that, in itself, is why it is so popular now.. Although I find my families chanting of “going to Timmies for a double double” grating. I love my Timbits.

    Here we sat, my friend and I, in two separate locations on a tropical island, waiting, praying, hoping. I had this secret knowledge the Flames were going to win The Cup. I had the same feeling in 89 when I cried tears of joy while running out of my parents Calgary home, face painted yellow and red, arms in the air, full of more happiness and pride then I had ever experienced.

    Then my friend broke the news. They scored.

    *Wait. Who scored? Are you kidding?

    I listened to my computer speakers in desperation.

    *WHO SCORED? I typed frantically.

    **Tampa did.

    *What? WHAT?

    My computer had a 30 second delay and when the announcement finally was shared I felt this shift of absolute disappointment. I called my family back in Canada for some very expensive condolences and then called my buddy here to sulk.

    There are many things that change over time and alter in importance. Things I identified myself as culturally. Many of the obvious Canadian-isms (saying sorry all the time, wearing a flag on my clothing when I travel, having to own 10 pieces of MEC clothing) have slipped away over time but hockey hasn’t. From the days of my dad flooding our back yard and tying on double blades to our shoes as soon as we could stand, to being the constant goalie in street games, hockey has been something that stays with me everywhere I go. I don't really even like it. It's just life. It's part of me. Even on dial up. Even in the jungle

    Posted by Bethanie Odd at 12:44 AM

    Deadly: Revisted
    by Expat

    Deadly, the new movie centered on the romance and grisly crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, is still without a distributor in Canada. While Ontario theatre owners are concerned that showing the film will result in a major backlash that includes boycotting and picketing, the producers of the movie are not concerned. In fact, Quantum Entertainment, the Hollywood production company behind the movie says that the intention was never to sell the movie in Canada and that there interest is only in "making as much money as possible".

    The movie, which stars Laura Prepon of the TV comedy, That 70's Show, was made with a budget of about $5 million but stands to garner at least $100 million in revenue following its September release.

    If the movie does find a Canadian distributor, it will be rated by the government and then it will be up to the individual theatre owners whether or not the movie is shown in their establishments. If the movie fails to find a Canadian distributor, then Quantum Entertainment may arrange with individual theatre owners to show the movie.

    Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, is urging people to boycott the movie. "I don't think that legally we can prevent that movie from being shown in Ontario," Mr. McGuinty said. "I certainly will not be viewing that movie and I guess my advice, and my encouragement to Ontarians, is that they would do the same." Consumer Minister Jim Watson said he'd like to see it kept out of Canada.

    Movies and television shows based on true crime are commonplace, but the grisly sex slayings of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French forever scarred the Canadian psyche. Clearly there has been little healing over the last decade since the crimes were committed and the frequent news stories of Karla Homolka's pending release from prison, despite the fact that she is still considered a danger to society, does little to comfort Canadians.

    For previous posts on Deadly, see:
    Exploiting a Families' Pain for Profit
    More on Deadly

    Expat Talkback:

    Should the movie have been made?
    Should the movie be shown in Canada?

    April 12th Update:

    Karla Homolka will not face charges in the drug-rape death of her sister.

    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    Chucks's Bad Week
    by Expat

    Poor Prince Charles is having a rough week. First, he threw a royal hissy fit for the media while he was on vacation skiing with his sons, then he had an immense temper tantrum at having to reschedule his wedding to Horse Face because of the death of Pope John Paul II, and now the tabloids are selling souvenirs that include commemorative tampon boxes, dart boards, and chamber pots.

    As if the Brits were not already thoroughly unsupportive of the royal nuptials, they are even more upset that the change in wedding date has nearly doubled the cost of policing the event, due to police officers having to work overtime. Many are calling for Charles to pick up the tab. There has also been word that the historic Grand National Steeplechase, a beloved British tradition, has been scaled down to allow for the BBC's broadcast of the wedding, an outrage to sports fans. Even the Australians are not feeling the love for the Prince of Wales these days as wedding gifts from that country are being described as "meagre", and indeed they are compared to the gifts to Charles' first go around with Diana.

    Could it be that this wedding is cursed? Perhaps Charles and Camilla should have considered repenting for their "sins and wickedness" prior to the big day. Overall, it would certainly appear that the Queen was right in declining the invitation to attend her son's wedding.

    Chuck's Bad Week

    You know the drill. Click the image to enlarge.

    April 8th Updates:

    Unluckiest Prince in the World
    Charles and Camilla to Admit They Have Sinned
    Charles and Diana and Charles and Camilla

    Rest in Peace Tim Horton
    by Expat

    Didn't we already know this?

    April 9th Update:

    For more on Tim Horton, check out The Maple Lounge's hilarious exposé , "A Grimace from the Grave".

    The Soup Nazi Comes to Canada
    by Expat

    Chef Al Yeganeh of Soup Kitchen International has signed a deal with Canadian lawyer Brian McAsey to bring his soup to Canada. Yeganeh and the phrase "No soup for you!" was made famous in 1995 when his eatery was featured on Seinfeld.

    The soup deal calls for over 100 kiosks across Canada and will target shopping malls, universities, hospitals, and office buildings from west coast to east coast. Eight different soups will be available at each kiosk. The cost of a bowl of soup, topping, French bread, fruit bowl, and a piece of chocolate will be around $10 Canadian, which is pretty steep considering you can get a bowl of soup, a biscuit, a cup of coffee, and a doughnut for about half that price at Tim's.

    Soup Kitchen International CEO John Bello saw Canada as an excellent place to expand because "The Canadian weather is conducive to year-round soup consumption and the people there are health-conscious trend-setters and taste-makers." Hopefully Canadians will continue to be health conscious as Yeganeh has been featured in commercials for The Center for Consumer Freedom denying to serve customers who he feels are too fat.

    The soups will be made by Yeganeh in his New York eatery, flash frozen and transported to the Canadian kiosks to be warmed and served. Each kiosk will be supervised by Yeganeh through a webcam.

    Excellent. Now Canadians don't have to go all the way to New York to be turned down for Yeganeh's soup. They can be turned down at the local mall via a webcast!

    For fun:

    A quiz: How well do you know Seinfeld's Soup Nazi?
    Soup Nazi Recipes
    Soup Kitchen International

    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    Memory Maps
    by Expat

    It has been a very long time (too long, in fact) since I was last home. I have found that my memory of the geography of my hometown is fading somewhat as I struggle to remember the locations of stores and restaurants when I talk to family and friends from home.

    As such, I was quite happy to come across Google Maps. The service is still in beta, but it is incredible. It features a draggable map, route planner, and business locator for Canada and the United States. What is most amazing though, are the satelite maps which were just unveiled on Monday. I was quite smitten with studying the images from home. It was nice to see some very familiar places and take a walk down memory lane.

    Some further research led me to discover that folks are taking the Google satelite maps and combining them with Flickr's ability to add notes directly to the image. The result has been tagged "memory map".

    Here are some other links of interest for the map nerds (like me):

  • Geocaching
  • Flickr Memory Maps
  • The Canadian Atlas Online
  • Canada at Scale: Maps of Our History

  • Pimpin' Politicians
    by Expat

    Dear Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Halle Berry, and Elsa Benitez,

    It is time to move over and make room on the sexy scale because you are about to run into some smoking hot competition from the men and women of Parliament Hill.

    That's right folks, the Hill Times has held is 13th annual survey for the sexiest MPs of Parliament Hill. Ottawa's sexiest men are Liberal MP Scott Brison, and Conservative MPs Peter MacKay and Rahim Jaffer. Sexiest women are Bloc Québécois MP Caroline St-Hilaire, and Liberal MPs Jane Stewart and Liza Frulla.

    Get used to it world, as the term "Canadian politician" becomes synonymous with "smoking hot Canadian".

    Crazy Eyes expat G.

    Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    Pet Peeve of the Moment
    by Expat

    It is very aggravating to see Canadian politicians make ridiculous statements that will later be picked up by the American media and aired to show just how silly the neighbours to the north must be.

    Here is the story, "CNN Can't Find Us on a Map", via the Toronto Sun.

    Thanks Gloria Lindsay Luby! Five gold stars to you for ushering in a new wave of "Canadians are so dumb" jokes this week! We salute you!

    Submarines, Deployments, and Pickle Torpedos
    by Expat

    Many years ago my husband served on a submarine. I would pack him a box of goodies to be opened half way through the patrol and and a stack of coloured index cards, each in their own dated envelope. Every day that he was under weigh, he would open a specially marked envelope and find a hand drawn postcard. On the front of the card would be a clever cartoon and on the back, would be a note of encouragement and love. (How awesome was I?)

    One of the cards that I made for him was a comparison of the US Navy and the Canadian Navy. The picture was set at sea with the American sailors aboard a submarine sandwich and a Canadian sailor struggling to stay afloat on a raft made out of a cracker. I had forgotten all about that card until I read this article about Canada's troubled submarine force.

    Ships Ahoy!

    As always, click the image to enlarge.

    The picture is very apt, isn't it? I thought that the pickle torpedo was a nice touch!

    As an aside, if you ever decide to do this idea for a lengthy patrol, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to draw all of the pictures. Otherwise, some of the pictures will be rushed and look like the one above - not too mention the blisters that you will suffer from burning the midnight oil with a pencil crayon permanently affixed to your hand!

    by Expat

    Canadian Expatriates welcomes Bethanie_Odd to the blogging team!

    I strongly encourage you to visit her blog, Odd Muse. If you do, I promise that you will become a regular visitor there. Her entries are filled with the most wonderful imagery as she uses words to paint a picture of her life in Thailand. I can't help but think that she has the soul of a poet.

    Welcome to the team, Bethanie!

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    The Legacy of Pierre Berton
    by Expat

    This past November saw the death of a quintessentially Canadian icon, Pierre Berton.

    In Berton's lifetime, he produced countless columns; wrote fifty books, won over thirty literary awards, made numerous television appearances, received dozens of honourary degrees, and was appointed as companion of the Order of Canada in 1986.

    He also taught young Canadians the proper way to roll a joint.

    Rest in peace, Pierre, and thank you for making history cool!

    Link opens in Media Player. Definitely worth a look!

    For Mature Audiences
    by Expat

    A new study is painting Canada as "one big happy nation" with 96% of respondents describing themselves as "happy".

    This is interesting news in light of another recent study, which claims that 88% of Canadians rate themselves as being dull in bed.

    Perhaps the two are unrelated?

    Game of the Day: Insert Your Own Punchline!
    by Expat

    On this day in 1893, Ontario's legislative building, Queen's Park, opened on the site of what was once a lunatic asylum.

    Insert punchline here!

    An Invitation from Foreign Affairs Canada
    by Expat

    As part of the eDiscussion, 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.

    Sunday, April 03, 2005

    Sunday Night Challenge
    by Expat

    Did you know that Jeopardy's Alex Trebek is a Nuk? Well he is! He was born on July 22, 1940 in Sudbury, Ontario.

    Thanks to the marvel that is the internet, you can now challenge your friends to a little Canadian style Jeopardy. Categories include Land, Economy, People, Places, and Odds and Ends.

    If you want to make the game really interesting, why not make a little bet with your non-Nuk friends? Loser cooks dinner for the winner or has to do the pile of laundry that is sitting on the floor. (Who said anything about this challenge being fair? )

    A Warm Welcome...
    by Expat

    The Expat blogging team would like to extend a warm welcome to it's newest member, Nicole.

    Nicole will be contributing to the blog from London, England. You can find her home on the web at A Canadian Student in London.

    Welcome aboard Nicole! We look forward to working with you!

    Friday, April 01, 2005

    A Wee Rant...
    by Expat

    There are many people who absolutely love Fox News and others who consider it to be pure entertainment, Faux News if you will. Opinion on the network seems to vary based on political allegiance.

    I generally try to avoid all of the major television news networks because their spin drives me batty, but today I was lured into watching Fox News to keep abreast of the Pope's condition. I did not have any complaints until...

    Shepard Smith announced that they were going to join Fox's sister station, Sky Italia. Just as they were joining the broadcast, you could hear this woman (a reporter) yell, "I am screaming here, what do you mean nobody can hear me?" It seemed like she was screaming for a lengthly period of time and it was very obvious that she was ticked off with someone. Then the "someone" (later identified to be a producer) broke in angrily screaming, "HELLO, the Pope is dead. HELLO, the Pope is dead". This was all over top of the Sky Italia report of a conference that we were supposed to be hearing, and over images of the masses that are being held in Rome. How appropriate.

    Fox then went back to Smith who apologized for bringing the news to us that way and said "well the facts are the facts" and then proceeded to go on about how the Pope has passed away, confirming what we had heard. He actually handled the situation very professionally and looked just as shocked at what had occurred as I felt.

    I was stunned to hear that the Pope had passed away, even if we are expecting it, but to hear it like that is just horrible. Plus, none of the other news agencies are reporting that he has passed on yet. There has been no word from the Vatican. Fox was just trying to scoop the story. "The facts are the facts" said Shepard Smith. Really? Smith is now reporting that the Pope is alive and is recanting the original report.

    Granted, that this one circumstance was more of an unfortunate incident than anything else and it must be difficult to cover an event as it occurs, but geez.

    Rude Awakenings in Canada
    by Expat

    An Edmonton, Alberta woman awoke to a pain in her chest at 4 am this morning. Initially thinking that she was still dreaming, she realized what had happened when she saw a hole in the ceiling and a bullet beside her on the bed. Fortunately the bullet had slowed down enough that it did not cause too much damage, leaving her with red welts, a bruise, and a sense of insecurity. Police are still investigating.

    Canadian MP Don Boudria also awoke to find an unusual situation occurring on his property. Boudria was at home with his wife when his constituency office called to alert him to the fact that he would have some "trouble leaving his driveway". Turns out that a frustrated cattle farmer dumped a bovine carcass on the politician's property during the night in what the farmer calls an "act of protest intended to mobilize public opinion." The farmer was upset "because the government didn't do much to solve the (mad-cow) problem." The U.S. border has remained partly closed to Canadian beef since May 2003, when a case of mad-cow disease was discovered in Alberta.

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