With Canada Day coming up (it’s July 1st for those not in the know!), I’m thinking about what it means to be Canadian. Though I’m Irish, I am now also Canadian. I wasn’t here that long before I was “eh”-ing my way through conversations. I probably say sorry more often now too.
I’m Canadian for long enough that I’m probably biased but I kinda like the place. While many might struggle to understand why we love our oft-frozen wasteland, we do. And a little part of that love of country comes from our national pride in being nice. But is it true? Are we really that nice?
Like one or two Irishmen, I came with a pretty short fuse. Considering my limited fighting skills, that probably wasn’t a good thing on occasion. Nonetheless, when confronted with something contrary to my own way of thinking, I was inclined to react somewhat aggressively. This is far in the past now, of course, but I did enjoy the odd rant & rave. Occasionally getting into a good old fashioned row.
But now I don’t! How did that happen?
Look, we’re not delusional here, we know we have a lot of bad stuff going on in Canada too. Not all Canadians are all nice, all the time. But in general, the country is safe enough that we all feel free to walk most places, most of the time. Though maybe not after dark everywhere. Most people are approachable. And most will help when they can.
So what! Isn’t that true of most people? I think it probably is. But still, Canadians have a reputation for being nice.
I am actually conscious of the social burden of niceness that comes with being Canadian. It’s part of the bill of goods we sell ourselves as Canadians. There is an expectation of niceness. And sometimes, that makes some of us a little nicer than we might otherwise be.
That’s no bad thing either.
Happy Canada Day!