Canadian Vignettes

Skimming through the Canadian Vignettes, I came across a couple of historical films. They remind me of the filmstrips Mr. Myer, my seventh grade social studies teacher, would occasionally show. He was not a great teacher, but he told interesting stories and went off on tangents that probably should have gotten him fired. Like the time he told us about “Nam” and needing to drop his drawers for a shot of penicillin because he picked up VD from a street girl. Or there was the time he waxed philosophically on the fact that he could have gone for the real money – like his old Nam buddy – and gone into real estate instead of wasting his time trying to teach the children of the unwashed*.

Anyway, I loved to sneak history into my Language Arts or English classes and the more offbeat – the better. 


*Myers was a bit of an elitist. We weren’t trailer park but our fathers were working class.

“What does it mean to stand on guard for thee?” BabyD asked me recently.

They have been preparing the kids for a spirit day assembly at school – which I missed … twice.

“Don’t you remember anything anymore, Mom?” was the stinging rebuke I took for that.

But getting back to Canada, the schools here do an excellent job of laying the Canadian pride groundwork at the elementary level, I am guessing the superiority  complex and intense disdain for America comes during the upper grade levels. BabyD and her classmates, in addition to learning songs designed to promote harmony and reduce bullying, have also been learning the national anthem.

“It means that we would defend Canada from its enemies.”


A very good question because in the minds of many Canadians the most likely scenario for needing to defend Canada will come when America runs out of clean water and can’t afford to buy oil on the world market anymore. Plenty of both those natural resources up here and in addition our precarious claim to the Northwest Passage makes us a prime target for a revival of the old American standby “manifest destiny”, which simply means,

“We need it. We can take it from you. So we will.”

But BabyD is a U.S. citizen and always will be. And I, a U.S. citizen as well, am standing idly by while she is being assimilated. I mean every day she is less and less of an American. In a bit more than two years from now, she will have spent exactly half her life in both countries with the latter being far more formative from a conscious standpoint.

I think about my status, and hers, a lot because I love Canada. I can’t imagine living in the United States full time again – though I would never say never .

Last night, Rob stumbled on a series of short films that the CBC used to air in between shows when he was a child. They were called Canadian Vignettes. Just little history snippets supported by the Canadian arts council and used to the meet the very strict requirements that mandated that a large percentage of Canadian television originate in Canada. Have to admire the dedication to stemming the corrupting tide of American values.

Kinda reminds me of learning how bills become laws in between cartoons on Saturday mornings.