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