A Confession: James is Not Canadian

Canadians.

Crazy. Eccentric. Curious creatures filled with polite mannerisms no one really understands. Except another Canadian, of course.

We eat moose and deer. We drive across ice as if it were a highway, creating bridges and roads that only exist as long as the cold weather does. We drill holes in the ice, too, happily aware that beneath it is hundreds of feet of cold dark water that could kill a man – and really great fishing.

We are Canadians.

We live in a country where spit freezes before it hits the ground. Where all children over the age of two know not to lick a metal pole and that one should never sleep in the snow – or eat it if it’s yellow.

We travel on snowmobiles (for fun these days, not out of necessity). We have two official languages and manage to mangle one of them beautifully. We love our flag, our country and sing our anthem in quiet, hushed mumbles. (Most of us are trying to remember the words).

We have a Queen. (She doesn’t live in Canada, of course, because it’s just too damned primitive here.) We have an accent, though we’ll never truly admit it. (Unless we embrace it. Yes, we say aboot, hoose an clip our words short.)

We know how to spell properly – with a U. As well, we have distinct grammar. We also know the meaning of “eh” – and apply all four million usages properly.

We invented insulin, the telephone, and light bulbs. We created the zipper, the
Wonderbra, and the poutine. (Hey, it snows here. A lot. We have to do something with our time.) And yes – we invented the retractable beer carton handle.

But I have a confession to make. Please, sit down. (You probably already are, but it was polite of me to suggest it.) I am going to show my true colors and reveal what is in my heart and soul, because I’m not really who you think I am.

Click here, turn on your speakers and have a listen:

I am not Canadian

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. Crazy and eccentric is an UNDERSTATEMENT!

    Now that I know your true nationality you are busted. Ever heard of a French Borat? Ha.

    Monika Mundell’s last blog post..Client Testimonials – Freelance Writing Guide

  2. OK. You can separate. :)

    Mark Dykeman’s last blog post..A year of Facebook

  3. James,

    52 links, and not a single mention of Red Green or Ray Bourque. :(

    (Ray figured out how to separate: move to Boston.)

    Am I wrong, or does half of you want to separate while half of you wants to stay?

    Never having heard any of those lovely words you type pronounced, I almost died laughing while the dude was swearing.

    “Way Off Topic” is far too close to on-topic for this one. File it under “Way Off Rocker.” Or “Way Without a Point.”

    Way Funny.

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Put a Cork in the Fine Print

  4. James . . . you are a dork! ;)

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz’s last blog post..Tell Me About You

  5. Mon Dieu! C’est désopilant!! My heart was lifted reading your terrific post; I felt I was reading my new anthem! Shit, never mind Joe, *you* should be in our commercials! But wait – you are not Canadian, you say. I was thinking, No. The title’s wrong, he’s bang on, he *must * be Canadian…and then the clip. That has got to be THE funniest and most accurate description I’ve ever heard of a Québécois!! And I can’t help it: now I am that much more proud to call you…er, an inhabitant of my country! (You’re Canadian to me, and if you don’t like it, you can…take off, eh? Hoser!) :)

  6. @ Kelly – If I started listing all things Canadian that we’re incredibly proud of, known for or that is fucking funny as hell, I could have turned this post into a free downloadable report of about 25 pages and then some.

    The first time I heard that audio file, I laughed my ass off. Then I listened to it again and realized that every single thing the guy said was true. That’s what was so funny. That’s typical Quebecer in a nutshell.

    DEPANNEUR, people! Not corner store!!

    And yes, that’s exactly how to pronounce all those lovely curse words :)

    Whoever hasn’t seen Bon Cop, Bad Cop should rent it. You’ll see typical Quebecer and typical English Canadian in the same movie and be able to understand exactly who I am. (Half French, half English)

    Regarding separation. Quebec is so different from the rest of Canada that it isn’t funny – different school system, different laws, different language and different culture. This is much of the reason surrounding separation.

    However, you are correct. The province has been split on whether to separate or not for decades. Every time they put it to a vote, exactly 50% (or damned close) says aye and the other nay. So they never do anything about it. (I am not for separation, btw. I love Canada as a whole.)

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens’s last blog post..A Confession: James is Not Canadian

  7. By the way, the We Are Canadians link to the YouTube video is another must see – that’s a TV commercial for beer that became a Canadian icon. Go figure.

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens’s last blog post..A Confession: James is Not Canadian

  8. My friend did a similar post earlier this year. I was tempted to do the same since I no longer live in Canada.

    In summary, Quebeçois are crazy. ;-)

    Rudy’s last blog post..Web Comedy

  9. James,

    Ha ha ha. I meant you personally, not the province. I *know* the province is split.

    I don’t believe I could understand exactly who you are from watching a movie.

    The Molson ad I had seen before. Very funny. The radio ad was killer, but his voice was not. Which I suppose made it a good ad, but I was glad to realize that it was not your voice.

    Later,

    Kelly

    P.S. Things I learned from the Wikipedia link about Canadian English:
    1. Whoever wrote it did their best, but was unaware that a lot of those things are said in parts of the U.S.
    2. You can rent a bachelor in Canada. I’m on my way.
    3. A discussion of wearing rubbers between a Canadian and an uninformed U.S. citizen may result in pregnancy.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Put a Cork in the Fine Print

  10. :) ahh, whacky…Acadia nord…do you “make groceries” not shop, at Depanneur?

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..Lavender Lingerie

  11. The Maritimes would never be allowed to split from Canada because it would lose Prince Edward Island, Halifax, and the longest covered bridge in the world. Oh, and the lobster of Shediac, too.

    And Moosehead wouldn’t be an import anymore. :P

    Mark Dykeman’s last blog post..A year of Facebook

  12. So funny, James. Reminds me of some of the rants from The Barbarian Invasions.

    Jamie Grove – How Not To Write’s last blog post..How to Use Writer’s Block to Fuel Your Writing

  13. @ Janice – Um, there are no groceries to be had at a depanneur. A depanneur is typically extremely small, with the main reason of its existence being to sell:

    Cigarettes
    Beer
    Chips

    They also sell soda pop and chocolate bars, but that’s not the main source of income. Some of the more upscale ones sell hot dog buns and perhaps toilet paper…

    @ Mark – Ahhh, now you’re talking my beer. Please note we cannot get Moosehead at depanneurs.

    @ Kelly – I admit not having read the Wikipedia on Canadian English. It was probably written by someone who is not Canadian who got it wrong. However:

    Yes, you can rent a bachelor in Canada. In my region, they run between $350 and $500 a month. (I’m laughing. I would never have picked up on that twist of words.)

    However, I don’t get the rubber thing. Um… what do you Americans use? Or is that why you all get married? (Another foreign concept in Quebec. 90% of the population does not marry.)

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens’s last blog post..A Confession: James is Not Canadian

  14. The first time I heard rubber used to mean an eraser, I almost lost it, but it was a child so I had to say, uh, excuse me? OH, yes, you may borrow that.

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..Lavender Lingerie

  15. Formidable! (I love cognates)

  16. Gee, for a moment I thought that I was really going to get to hear your voice speaking. I’m so disappointed. . . ;)

    Is THAT what a typical Quebec accent sounds like?

    (Of course, no one’s heard my southern drawl yet . . .)

    Laura Spencer’s last blog post..This Week’s Top Ten Work-At-Home Posts You Don’t Want To Miss!

  17. Dear James,

    Go read your own link, don’t ask me to read it to you, silly. It says you only know about erasers and boots as rubbers. I know about erasers and boots, but it’s not the first thing that comes to mind…

    90% of your population is not for me, then. I’ll stick to being in love with Toronto—although renting a bachelor is tempting, especially at those prices.

    Later,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Put a Cork in the Fine Print

  18. Yet again my laptop’s busted speaker means I don’t get to see the funny stuff. Damn Podcasters.

    John Hewitt’s last blog post..5 Ways to Become a Productive Writer

  19. James,

    That wasn’t very polite of me.

    And I didn’t mean you should really take off…or separate. One of the things I really love about Canada is Quebec. Quebecers probably contribute the most to my idea of Canadian identity…and humour! And I personally think we Ontarians are much harder to define.

  20. @ Steph – Good lord, woman. That was impolite? I grinned the whole way through. Take off yourself, eh? I think the little war between the Ontarians and Quebecers is part of our Canadian pride – it’s fun to pick on each other.

    @ John – You rarely see audio on our site. We hate podcasters too. But this one was just too good to pass up.

    @ Kelly – I didn’t have to read. I know all about Canadians :)

    But please, let me assure you – rubbers as erasers and boots is a British thing and definitely not a Canadian thing. Which only reinforces my belief that the dweeb who wrote that information didn’t deserve to write the bloody thing.

    As for 90% of our population… they’re *smart*. Marriage is about relationships, not money. Commitment is about what’s shared between two people in a mutual agreement, not a church or a justice of the peace. Love is about love, not about a piece of paper.

    My personal believe is that marriage is until death do you part, so I do take it seriously. But I also believe that thousands of dollars and a piece of paper is not the way to marry nor does it make a commitment more valuable than two people who decide to share a life.

    Now. Back to rubbers…

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens’s last blog post..A Confession: James is Not Canadian

  21. Original Quebecer here! One of the english ones (yes, we exist). But in BC for the last 11 years or so. I’ve heard that radio spot before and love it, as well as the Molsen commercial. I heard they stopped playing it because it was ‘too’ Canadian…?

    I miss depanneurs (because of the easy beer buying), good poutine (with those real, greasy fries) and great Greek food. Montreal has the best Greek food! I’ll be back soon enough for a visit.

    Gee, now I’m feelin’ all home sick for some french swearing James. :)

    Karen JL’s last blog post..Pencil vs Pixel: A Storyboarding Showdown

  22. Oh…and when I hear ‘rubbers’ I think condoms. But say ‘tuque’ to an American and see the look you get. :)

    Karen JL’s last blog post..Pencil vs Pixel: A Storyboarding Showdown

  23. Okay, okay. I cannot read Depanneurs and poutine without laughing my head off…it’s probably me, probably a southern thing…and a stupid extension…

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..Lavender Lingerie

  24. hahahha, I just came back from the Depanneur, and I read this post, all I can say is:

    osti que j’ai ris barnak!!! :)

    Jon Phillips’s last blog post..The Best Business Secret That You Already Know

  25. Ahahahaha! Good one, Jon!

    All this talk’s made me feel rather patriotic. I’m thinking of booking our anniversaire in Quebec to celebrate its 400th. What the hell, maybe we’ll do it the Québécois way and go to Club Super Sex! I had my first cigarette, poutine, and pogo stick (the food, I mean) in Quebec City, was chased by a raving madwomen on Sainte-Catherine’s Street in Montreal, had ten bucks stolen from me by a métro attendant, and learned to play pool like a pro in Longueuil. I got to swear like a sailor and came to believe the exact same views as you on marriage. Good times. When I was sixteen I swore I was going to live in Quebec. Screw Ontario, nothing ever happens there.

    Yet here I am, in Ontario, where I still (at 34) get carded at the beer store. Editing a Canadian history book and reading about what a hard time Quebec gave Ottawa…from 1929-1992. Not much has changed! Those Quebecers, always wanting to do their own thing. Like make their *own* commercials.

  26. Okay, you know you’re a dumb Canuck when you read people talking about stuff that’s right outside your door or just one city over and you’re feeling all warm fuzzy that you have these things. I mean, two people talk about poutine and here I am with a dumb grin on my face.

    I’m such a twit.

    @ Jon – J’ai ris comme un esti d’malade quand je l’ai entendu – le gars qui me l’a fait écouté est un anglo qui hait les français pis il voulais me faire honte. There I was going… oh yeah! YEAH! Oh YEAH!

    @ Karen – They can’t even pronounce toque right ;)

    @ Steph – Heheheh… oh yeah, just like home. Hey, go stay at the Ice Hotel in Quebec. Now that’d be a nice memory!

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens’s last blog post..A Confession: James is Not Canadian

  27. @Steph: “learned to play pool like a pro in Longueuil” LOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    @James: no way!!! man faut tellement que je te shoot un mp3 du typique customer service rep Quebecois lol

    Jon Phillips’s last blog post..The Best Business Secret That You Already Know

  28. Anyone willing to do a transcript? :)

  29. Brett Legree says:

    Canadians make approximately 60 percent of the world’s medical isotopes. The bulk of the procedures done on a daily basis use Tc-99m for radioimaging purposes (looking for cancer, for instance).

    Tc-99m is a decay product of Mo-99, which we make at my company.

    Perhaps 30000 to 40000 procedures per day are performed at hospitals around the world, using material from Canada. Other isotopes are also produced at my company.

    Something Canadians can be proud of, I think.

    (So long as we don’t mess it up, in true Canadian fashion… think Avro Arrow if you catch my drift.)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  30. And of course nothing beats Frangalais. ‘Stop’, ‘un truck’, ‘un hot dog’…My brother once asked for ‘une grande cafe’ at a coffee place. The girl stared at him for a bit then said (in french) “Oh! Une LARGE!”

    Too funny (not sure if I got my masculine and feminine mixed up there…sorry). ;)

    Karen JL’s last blog post..Pencil vs Pixel: A Storyboarding Showdown

  31. Jon: What, man, what? That pool hall was where EVERYONE went!! LOL!

    James: Too late for the ice hotel. I think the season ended in March. Where else? Seriously. Our anniversary is next month.

    Brett: VERY cool!

  32. @Karen P: I did a search and found this just for you:

    I AM NOT A CANADIAN

    Guy Québecois

    (clears throat)

    I’m not unemployed or smuggling cigarettes across the border
    I don’t eat Pepsi and May West for breakfast (*)
    I don’t watch da hockey game doing it doggie-style
    And no, I don’t know Claude, Manon, or Francois in Abitibi-T?miscamingue (*)
    But I’m sure they all have nice teeth

    I smoke in church
    I speak Québecois in joual, not French or English
    I pronounce it “tird”, not third
    And eating French fries with cheese makes sense, mon ostie,
    I believe in a distinct society, as long as someone else pays for it
    I believe in language-police, not equal rights
    And, calisse, I believe that Club Super-Sex is an appropriate place
    for my wife and me to celebrate our anniversaire
    What the hell, she goes on at ten anyway

    In Québec, the Stanley Cup actually comes around more often than
    Halley’s comet
    I can get beer at the dépanneur, not the convenience store
    And maybe I can’t turn right on a red light
    But tabarnak, I can go right through it
    Because Québec is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup
    The home of Céline Dion and Roch Voisine
    The land where everybody is shacking up and the legal drinking age is
    just a suggestion

    Je m’appelle Guy, and I am not Canadian

    Mot, t’a dit, tabarnak, ostie.
    Merci, salut la vedette

    (Transcribed by Monique Adriaansen, Mel Priddle, & Jon R. – February 2004)
    (*) (Corrections by Alan Bick – December 14th, 2004)

  33. Karen: Cool! But tabarnac ostie de câlice! Québécois has TWO accent égus!

  34. whoops. Haha. I mean accent aigu.

  35. Brett Legree says:

    @steph,

    Yeah, I always thought it was cool.

    (The reason I know about it is that I was the production supervisor of that facility up until January of 2008, when I transferred to waste management.)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..running debrief – the five year plan.

  36. Many thanks for finding that, Harry! Hard to believe that 90% stat– is that really true? So everyone’s mostly shacking up north of the American border? :)

  37. lol it certainly feels like 90%. I believe the stat is around 70%. I only know one married couple out of all my friends and acquaintances.

    If you want stats that are 7 years old, check this out – interesting stuff on here:

    http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/products/analytic/companion/fam/canada.cfm

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens’s last blog post..A Confession: James is Not Canadian

  38. OMGosh!! I loved it! laughed so much!!! I really like your blog….

    Single’s last blog post..This Is How You Tell Him I LOVE YOU???

  39. Karen Swim says:

    That is the funniest thing I’ve heard! I turned up the speakers and laughed heartily! Je’taime Quebec!

  40. Michael Martine | Remarkablogger says:

    Funny, I really was thinking about going to Club Super Sexe with my wife for our anniversary.

    Michael Martine | Remarkablogger’s last blog post..How to Use Twhirl, a Twitter Desktop Program

  41. Marketing Integrity says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MncbiP1UHE&feature=related

    Marketing Integrity’s last blog post..Blog Pack Anyone?

  42. I found it interesting that “The prevalence of common-law couples is roughly twice as high in Canada as it is in the United States. ” I thought the U.S. was pretty high to begin with. So why do so many Canadians shy away from marriage?

  43. I was wondering if it’s the Church, at least in Quebec. I know in New England where the Catholic Church is still quite strong, some people get so antsy about “’til death do us part” that they wind up doing trial runs in case this isn’t The One. The opposite of the intended effect…

    Kelly’s last blog post..I Know It Was Earth-Shattering! But I Lost It in Bed!

  44. Here’s a great article on Quebec and marriage:

    http://family.jrank.org/pages/653/French-Canadian-Families-Quebec-Family-Marriage.html

    Shitty site, accurate portrayal.

    In Canada, and particularly in Quebec where the Catholic Church’s rule prevailed, divorce was practically impossible until 1969, when an important bill was accepted by the Canadian Parliament, making divorce accessible to couples who acknowledged the failure of their marriage. After this, marriage changed from being an irrevocable institution to being a commitment that could be questioned. During the following decades, divorce increased to the point that by the end of the twentieth century, Quebec couples had one of the highest divorce rates in the world, estimated at about 50 percent (Duchesne 2001).

    In the early 1990s in Quebec, 80 percent of young women chose cohabitation when they first entered conjugal life.

    Another site (good one; gov’t stats) http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/maps/peopleandsociety/family/family1996/familystructure/1

    French-Canadians are generally Catholic, but religion in Canada is mostly neglected, practiced in a personal way or never really mentioned. We have a very quiet attitude about religion as compared to some other countries.

    But Christmas and Easter fills churches to cracking.

  45. Mark Dyck says:

    Well said, Guy, and happy Victoria Day :-)

    Love the part about the driving. My first trip to Montreal was nearly my last after I tried to cross Rue Ste Catherines sober…

    Mark Dyck’s last blog post..claiming the blog

  46. @ Mark – Did someone pick you up? ;)

  47. James, I’d say the nature of Québécois swearing and how passionately they do it defies your statement: “We have a very quiet attitude about religion as compared to some other countries.” :)

  48. @James,

    Hey, a lot of Quebeckesr here.

    I live in Ontario now, I’m an Anglo, but I grew up on the West Island and went to French school from Grade 3 to Grade 10. So I’m Parfaitement Bliingue.

    There IS a distinct society in Quebec Hard to describe, you just have to live there to experience it.

    Language police, poutine, smoked meat, Depanneurs, un Pepsi pis un Mae West, not eating chocolate during Lent… Tintin Comics and watching Charlie Brown in French..it’s all good.

    Plus they really know how to curse!

    Watch “Tete a Claques”. If you understand why this is a big hit in Quebec, then you truly understand the culture! :-)

    Friar’s last blog post..Friar’s Top Ten Assholes of the Animal Kingdom (*)

  49. Les Tetes a Claques is soooo funny…

  50. So funny – thanks!!!

    Laurie’s last blog post..The Future of Solo Law Practice?

  51. There is a rather amusing perception of Canadian’s in the Middle East.

    The standing joke in Riyadh about Canadian’s is “How do you spot a good Canadian? They go home to Syria for the weekends.”

    My 6 year old son recently came home from school and commented that he is the only native English speaking child in his class at the American school. When I quizzed him and he told me there are no American children and no British children. When I asked about Canadian’s, he replied Yes, lots of Canadians, but they don’t speak English in Canada. I asked what language they do speak and was told Arabic of course and treated to a look of absolute scorn for not knowing this basic fact.

    French is still the preferred language of instruction for a lot of Lebanese, Palestinian & Syrian families, due to the belief that it gives easy access to Canadian citizenship. In the Middle East it is normal to want safe haven citizenship as a insurance policy against the next lot of conflict. However Arabic peoples do not cope well living in Canada, *shiver *shiver, to cold for desert folk. Interestingly most Canadian citizens of Middle Eastern origin educate there children in English, French is not the same priority for them, as speaking French is only seen as a useful way to speed your progress so the immigration queues not as a useful language for work or tertiary study. Professional people almost never educate there children in Arabic.

  52. Crazy guys them Canadians.

    I have a pic dedicated to James http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigredtomato/4092501850/

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