Only In Canada, You Say

 

Only in Canada….can you get a pizza to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in Canada….are there handicap parking spaces in front of a skating rink.

Only in Canada….do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in Canada….do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries…. and a diet cola.

Only in Canada….do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Only in Canada….do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put all our useless junk in the garage.

Only in Canada….do we use answering machines to screen calls, and then have call waiting so we won’t miss a call from somebody we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.

Only in Canada….do we buy hot dogs in packages of twelve and buns in packages of eight.

Only in Canada….do we use the word ”politics” to describe the process so well: “Poli” in Latin meaning “many” and “tics” meaning “bloodsucking creatures”.

Only in Canada….do they have drive-up ATMs with Braille lettering.

Only in Canada….do we buy the kids’ Halloween costumes big enough to fit over a snowsuit.  (American SpellCheck doesn’t recognize “snowsuit”, but offers swimsuit.)

 

Forget Rednecks, here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Canucks:

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May you may live in Canada.
If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don’t work there, you may live in Canada.
If you’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Canada.
If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialled a wrong number, you may live in Canada.
If “Vacation” means going anywhere south of Detroit for the weekend you may live in Canada.
If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Canada.
If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Canada.
If you have switched from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again, you may live in Canada.
If you can drive 90 kms/hr through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Canada.
If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Canada.
If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Canada.
If the speed limit on the highway is 80km — you’re going 90 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Canada.
If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Canada.
If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Canada.
If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Canada.
If you find 2 degrees C “a little chilly”, you may live in Canada.
If you actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your Canadian friends & others, you definitely live in Canada!

Only in Canada would we have, not one, but two huge Maple Syrup thefts.  I’m not talking about some guy who got over a fence, sneaked in the back door, and got away with a couple of gallon jars of sweet stuff.  We’re talking about millions of liters, and perhaps as much as thirty million dollars worth of purloined stock.

The province of Quebec produces between 70 and 80 % of the world’s maple syrup, and two-thirds of that is exported to the US.  Inventory losses at a Quebec bulk storage warehouse were traced to a company in New Brunswick.  The stolen syrup was impounded and returned to its legal owners.  An idea of the size of the theft, is that the police-escorted return convoy consisted of fifteen full-sized tanker trucks.

The second theft does not appear to be quite as large.  Police estimate 800 barrels, which is 36,000 gallons, which is 163,500 liters.  That’s a sweet lot of pure profit.  I’m astounded at the size of the first theft.  One truckload is understandable….but fifteen?

Truckload-lot thefts are more common than you might think.  Trucking firms in the area have lost as many as three trailers at once.  A couple of guys cut the chain on the gates, roar in, hook up to already loaded and waiting trailers, and are gone by the time security or police arrive.  Stealing maple syrup involves bringing your own tanker, and waiting till it’s pumped full, in the first robbery, fifteen times.

Young women in Quebec eat a lot of, both maple syrup, and French pea soup.  This may explain why they are round and sweet, all except Celine Dion.

One co-worker’s brother was a truck driver for a local Seagram’s Distillery plant.  About once a week, he was sent to Toronto to bring back a tanker load of rye whiskey, for blending or bottling.  When he pulled into the yard, he would connect the dump valve on the bottom of the tanker to a large flexible hose, and open the valve.  When the tank was empty(?) he would drive to the parking area, where his truck was obscured by other trucks.

He would place a clean plastic pail under the valve and reopen it.  After finishing his paperwork, he would go back out and pick up half to three-quarters of a pail of rye, collected from those last drops on the inside of the tank.  He filled easily obtained empty bottles, and sold them for half price, making an extra hundred dollars a week, and a lot of friends.

A trucker from near the Quebec border, who delivered to my son’s plant, also owned a farm with a woodlot.  He made his own maple syrup, and my son bought some from him for several years.  It was the dark, strongly flavored type, at a good price.  A new job means we now buy it, a gallon at a time, from Mennonites at the farmers market.

Trees used to be tapped and drip into buckets.  There could be contamination.  Nowadays all taps, several to each tree, are connected to plastic tubing, which delivers the raw sap directly to the boiling shed.  If you drive past a sugar-bush in operation, it looks like the trees are caught in a giant spiderweb.

That’s not all I know about maple syrup, but I know that it’s time to call for a rest.  Anyone hungry?  How about some pancakes or waffles?

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Attawapiskat

The title of this post is a Cree Indian word meaning, “If white man and red man co-operate, we can really f**k things up!”  Attawapiskat is really the name of an Indian reservation on the western shore of James Bay, in Northern Ontario.  It’s so far north, you can barely see The Harem Master’s back door.

In colonial times things were often done that we are now not proud of, nor happy with the results.  The white men gathered all the Indians, who had made a subsistence living from hunting and fishing, and said, “In return for stealing all your land, you have to live on this reservation, but we will take care of you.”  For over a hundred years the government has thrown money at them, actually, a lot of money, but last year we found that sending money wasn’t the same as *taking care of them*.

Stories leaked to the press about Indians living in squalor, in moldy shacks, and tents, up where temperatures can get down to minus forty.  It doesn’t matter whether Celsius or Fahrenheit, at that level, they’re the same thing.  The white men stuck them on swampy ground.  They have no reliable water supply.  They have no sewage system.  People, especially children, are getting sick from contaminated water.

This is a little town of less than 2000 people.  White men taught the Indians how to live in a town like the white men do.  White men gave them money to support themselves, but white men didn’t teach them how to manage the money.  This is like Jeff Foxworthy talking about giving money to rednecks.  You just know that they’re going to buy a fancy belt-buckle, and an Elvis, Jack Daniels decanter.

In the five years from 2006 to 2011, the Federal Government gave ninety million dollars to the band.  Besides that income, they are receiving royalties from the recently opened Canadian diamond mines, so why are so many living in crappy conditions?  The government has tied its own hands.  All monies are paid to the band, and the government is forced to remain at arm’s length, and cannot tell them how to administrate it.

This town of 2000 has three chiefs, or mayors, each earning $100,000/year.  The tiny town has 18 councillors, each earning (well, let’s say receiving) $90,000/year, as well as other well-paid bureaucrats.  It’s unknown how many are in it, but the school board is also fully paid.  There’s a funny story about the school board.  The school also was full of mould, and derelict, so it was pulled down….and replaced with an arena.  And, now that they’ve got a new arena, they bought a Resurfice ice-machine, made in nearby Elmira, for it.  With all the extras, this machine cost $96,089.55, but it cost almost that much again, to have it shipped north.  It got trucked to Cochrane, sent by train to Moosonee, and sent by barge to the town.  The band already has a 1997 model in the arena they now plan to pull down.  They claim that income from bingo games paid for the new machine, more government money from a Southern Ontario casino paid to get it to Moosonee, and the barge company hauled it for free.

Despite the outrageous shipping-included costs of everything, these people are status Indians.  They pay no taxes, no income tax, no sales tax!  Their $100,000/yr. is like our $200,000/yr.  Other than the few local streets, they are two hundred miles from the nearest road, and yet there are a number of beautiful big sport-utes in evidence.  $40,000 to buy and $50,000 to ship, and gasoline at $4/liter to run them.  The government sent an investigator north to have a look at the situation, but he was perceived as a white man, interfering in Indian affairs, and was forced to leave.  He reported what little he found to a Federal judge, who finally ruled that there were no financial improprieties.

People were outraged; surely there are improprieties – but it’s the hands-off regulation again.  Within their community, they are allowed to make their own rules.  If they want to select three chiefs, if they want to pay them, and the bureaucrats, and the school board, if they want to tear down the school and put up an arena c/w brand-new ice machine, that’s their business.

I wrote recently about a man who asked if it was moral to kill pigs, just so that we could eat bacon.  Here is another place where it seems to be a good idea to ask the question, “Is it moral to revise the statute, so that the government can step in and take care of those who cannot take care of themselves and those they are responsible for?”  It’s the thin edge of the wedge.  I don’t trust white bureaucrats any more than Indians do.  President Ronald Reagan said the most dangerous words were, “I’m from the government.  I’m here to help.”  And yet, can we stand by and do nothing?

This situation spills over into other social areas.  Charities say that they are having increased trouble collecting funds for worthy causes.  Canada sent $25 million to Haiti after the earthquake and still the people have no homes, no food, no safe source of water.  What we do see is even more politicians driving Cadillac Escalades past the shanty-towns.  What we see is Somali war-lords taking Red Cross food before it reaches the people who need it.  I feel extremely sorry for the northern Cree, the common Haitians and the poverty-stricken Somalis, but why should I donate, when I see that my money will not help those in need?

It took several hundred years in England and Europe to establish the concepts of social equality and concern for others.  We can only hope that other sections of the world learn faster.  The Canadian troops have returned from Afghanistan.  BrainRants is still there with folks who are trying to teach them better manners, but it’s a long road.  We can’t even get rid of three petty warlords chiefs in Ontario, how can we change the entire middle-east?  Far too many outside North America think in hierarchies, first me, then my family, then my clan, then my village, then my valley.  Equality, democracy and concern for others are a long way down the scale.  It’s sad, but it’s a fact of global life, that we can only hope and try to change.