Buffalo N.Y. News Article About Canadians

(This is an arti­cle that was post­ed in the Buf­fa­lo News by Ger­ry Boley. Please read more about Ger­ry Boley at the end of this arti­cle. I received it by e‑mail from a friend on Novem­ber 15, 2015 and although it has noth­ing to do with Souris, MB., I feel it is a most wor­thy item, which requires read­ing by Cana­di­an Cit­i­zens.       Ferg Devins of Souris Rail­way Museum.)

Mis­con­cep­tions in the Unit­ed States about Cana­da are quite com­mon. They include: there is always snow in Cana­da: Cana­di­ans are bor­ing, social­ists and paci­fists: their bor­der is porous and allowed the Sept. 11 ter­ror­ists through: or, as the U.S. Ottawa embassy staff sug­gest­ed to Wash­ing­ton, the coun­try suf­fers from an infe­ri­or­i­ty com­plex. With Cana­da Day and Amer­i­ca’s Inde­pen­dence Day just past, this is a great time to clar­i­fy some of these mis­con­cep­tions and bet­ter appre­ci­ate a neigh­bour that the Unit­ed States at times takes for granted.

With the excep­tion of the occa­sion­al glac­i­er, ski­ing in Cana­da in the sum­mer just isn’t hap­pen­ing. Frigid north­ern win­ters, how­ev­er, have shaped the tough, fun-lov­ing Cana­di­an char­ac­ter. When it is 30-below, the Canucks get their sticks, shov­el off the local pond and have a game of shin­ny hockey.

The harsh win­ters have also shaped Cana­di­ans’ sense of humour. Cana­da has some of the world’s great­est come­di­ans, from ear­ly Wayne and Shus­ter, Mike Myers, Leslie Niel­son, John Can­dy, Mar­tin Short, Eugene Levy and “Sat­ur­day Night Live” cre­ator and movie pro­duc­er Lorne Michaels.

The sug­ges­tion that Cana­di­ans are soft on ter­ror­ism is a myth. Prime Min­is­ter Pierre Trudeau backed down the Front de Lib­er­a­tion du Que­bec ter­ror­ists dur­ing the1970’s. And the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report­ed that ter­ror­ists arrived in the Unit­ed States from out­side North Amer­i­ca with doc­u­ments issued to them by the U.S. gov­ern­ment. Like­wise, the Cana­di­ans in Gan­der, New­found­land coun­tered despi­ca­ble ter­ror­ist acts with love and car­ing to their U.S. neigh­bours when planes were divert­ed there.

Amer­i­cans glo­ri­fy war with movies, but it is the Cana­di­ans who are often the real “Ram­bo.” The Cana­di­ans are any­thing but paci­fists and their his­to­ry is cer­tain­ly not dull. Be it on the ice or bat­tle­field, this war­rior nation has nev­er lost a war that it fought in — War of 1812 (ver­sus the Unit­ed States), World War I, World War II, Korea and now Afghanistan. Dur­ing the ’72 Sum­mit Series, Sovi­et goalie Vladislav Tre­ti­ak said, “The Cana­di­ans have great skills and fight to the very end.”

In hunt­ing the Tal­iban in Afghanistan, U.S. Com­man­der and Navy SEAL Capt. Robert Howard stat­ed that the Cana­di­an Joint Task Force 2 team was “his first choice for any direct-action mission.”

Con­trary to Thomas Jef­fer­son­’s 1812 com­ment that, “The acqui­si­tion of Cana­da will be a mere mat­ter of march­ing,” the wily Native Amer­i­can leader Tecum­seh and Maj. Gen. Isaac Brock cap­tured Brig. Gen. William Hul­l’s Fort Detroit with­out fir­ing a shot. The Amer­i­cans nev­er took Que­bec and when they burned the Cana­di­an Par­lia­ment Build­ings at York, the White House was torched in retal­i­a­tion. Cana­da con­sid­ered its sta­tus as a war­rior nation dur­ing World War I bat­tles at Vimy Ridge, Pass­chen­dale, Somme and the Sec­ond Bat­tle of Ypres, where sol­diers were gassed twice by the Ger­man but refused to break the line. By the end of the war, the Cana­di­ans were the Allies’ shock troops.

In the air, four of the top sev­en World War I aces were Cana­di­ans. Crack shots, the names William “Bil­ly” Bish­op, Ray­mond Coll­ishaw, Don­ald McLaren and William Bark­er, with 72, 60, 54 and 53 vic­to­ries, respec­tive­ly, were leg­endary. These were the orig­i­nal Crazy Canucks, who reg­u­lar­ly dropped leaflets over ene­my air­fields advis­ing Ger­man pilots that they were com­ing over at such and such a time, and to come on up. Bish­op and Bark­er won the Vic­to­ria Cross, the high­est award for gallantry.

The pilot who is cred­it­ed with shoot­ing down the Red Baron, Man­fred von Richtofen, with a lit­tle help from the Aus­tralian down under, was not Snoopy but Roy Brown from Car­leton Place, Ontario.

Dur­ing World War II, Win­nipeg native and air ace Sir William Ste­hen­son, the “Qui­et Cana­di­an,” ran the under­cov­er British Secu­ri­ty Coor­di­na­tion under the code name intre­pid from Rock­e­feller Cen­tre in New York, as a liai­son between Franklin Roo­sevelt and Win­ston Churchill. Stephen­son invent­ed the machine that trans­ferred pho­tos over the wire for the Dai­ly Mail news­pa­per in 1922. Amer­i­cans were not aware that the BSC was there or that it was stocked with Cana­di­ans secret­ly work­ing to pre­serve North Amer­i­can free­dom from the Nazis.

Also lit­tle known is that intre­pid trained Ian Flem­ing, author of the James Bond series, at camp X, the secret spy school near Whit­by, Ontario. Five future direc­tors of the CIA also received spe­cial train­ing there. It is sug­gest­ed that Flem­ing’s ref­er­ence to Bond’s 007 license to kill sta­tus, his gad­getry and the “shak­en not stirred” mar­ti­nis, rumoured to be the strongest in North Amer­i­ca, came from Stephenson.

When Wild Bill Don­ald­son, head of the U.S. OSS, fore­run­ner of the CIA, pre­sent­ed intre­pid with the Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Mer­it in 1946, he said, “William Stephen­son taught us every­thing we knew about espionage.”

Amer­i­can mil­i­tary writer Max Boot wrote recent­ly in Com­men­tary mag­a­zine that Cana­da is a coun­try that most Amer­i­cans con­sid­er a “dull but slav­ish­ly friend­ly neigh­bour, sort of like a great “St. Bernard.” Boot needs to come to Cana­da, have a Mol­son Cana­di­an beer and chat about Cana­di­an his­to­ry. He owes his free­dom to Canucks such as Stephen­son and the coura­geous sol­diers and fliers of the world wars who held off the Ger­mans while Amer­i­ca strug­gled with isolationism.

Cana­di­an inven­tions such as the oxy­gen mask and anti-grav­i­ty suit, the fore­run­ner of the astro­naut suit, allowed U.S. and oth­er Allied fight­er pilots to fly high­er, turn tighter and not black out with the result­ing G‑force. The 32 Cana­di­ans from the Avro Arrow team helped build the Amer­i­can space pro­gram and were, accord­ing to NASA, bril­liant to a man. The most bril­liant, Jim Cham­ber­lin, chief design­er of the Jet­lin­er and Arrow, was respon­si­ble for the design and imple­men­ta­tion of the Gem­i­ni and Appo­lo space pro­grams.        ( Read­ers please note… Don “Kayo” David­son of Souris.MB. worked on the Avro Arrow in Cana­da, before it was scrapped…he lat­er moved to Cal­i­for­nia and worked for Avro.…FD)

Although Cana­di­ans have had a free, work­able med­ical sys­tem for 50 years, they are not social­ists and there are not long line­ups, as some politi­cians opposed to Oba­macare sug­gest. This writer (Ger­ry Boley) has had a rup­tured appen­dix, hip replace­ment, pinned shoul­der, blood clot, twist frac­ture of the fibu­la and bro­ken foot, and in every case, there was zero cost to me. Cana­di­ans have and val­ue a med­ical sys­tem for all Cana­di­ans that is free with min­i­mal waits. That is not social­ism; that is car­ing about Fel­low Canadians.

Amer­i­cans may be sur­prised by the Cana­di­an con­tent in their life. Super­man — “truth, jus­tice and the Amer­i­can way” — was co-cre­at­ed by Cana­di­an Joe Shus­ter, the dai­ly Plan­et is based on a Toron­to news­pa­per, and the 1978 film­s’s Lois Lane, Mar­got Kid­der, and Super­man’s father, Glenn Ford were both Cana­di­ans. The Cap­tain of the star­ship Enter­prise was Mon­tre­al-born William Shat­ner. Toron­ton­ian Ray­mond Massey played Abra­ham Lin­coln in 1956. And as Amer­i­can as apple pie? Ah, no. The McIn­tosh apple was devel­oped in Dun­dela, Ontario, in 1811 by John McIntosh.

Many of the sports that Amer­i­cans excel at are Cana­di­an in ori­gin. James Nai­smith  from Almonte, Ontario, invent­ed bas­ket­ball. The tack­ling and ball car­ry­ing in foot­ball were intro­duced by the Canucks in games between Har­vard and McGill in the 1870’s. Five-pin bowl­ing is also a Cana­di­an game. Lacrosse is offi­cial­ly Canada’s nation­al sport, and hock­ey — well, Cana­di­ans are hock­ey. And Jack­ie Robin­son called Mon­tre­al “the city that enabled me to go to the major leagues”

To make every­one’s life eas­i­er, Cana­di­ans invent­ed Pablum, the elec­tric oven, the tele­phone, Mar­quis wheat, stan­dard time, the rotary snow­plow, the snow­blow­er, the snow­mo­bile, Plex­i­glass, Oven clean­er, the jol­ly jumper, the pace­mak­er, the alka­line bat­tery, the caulk­ing gun, the gas mask, the goalie mask, and many more.

Cana­di­an infe­ri­or­i­ty com­plex? That is anoth­er myth. Nev­er pick a fight with a qui­et kid in the school­yard. Nev­er mis­take qui­et con­fi­dence for weak­ness. Many a bul­ly has learned the hard way. Cana­di­ans are self-effac­ing and do not brag. That does not mean we do not know who we are. We are car­ing but tough, fun-lov­ing but polite and cre­ative, and we share with each oth­er and the world. Our his­to­ry is excit­ing but we don’t toot our horn. The world does that for us. This is the third year in a row that Cana­da has been vot­ed the most respect­ed coun­try in the world by the Rep­u­ta­tion insti­tute glob­al survey.

Per­haps once a year around our col­lec­tive birth­days, Amer­i­cans can raise a toast to their friend­ly, con­fi­dent neigh­bour in the Great White North.

(Ger­ry Boley is a Uni­ver­si­ty lec­tur­er and writer liv­ing in St. Cather­ines, Ontario, Canada)