Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Canadtonia: The Vancouver Wither Olympics

Posted in General on February 13th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – 5 Comments

“I’m sorry you had nothing better to do, but welcome anyway to our coverage of the Winter Olympics here, someplace in Canada.  I’m Bob Costas, along with Matt Lauer.”

Matt:  “Thanks, Bob.  Did you know that Canada is the second largest country in the world, and that no two snow flakes are alike.  I have slides to prove it.” 

Bob:  The Opening Ceremonies for this, the 21st Winter Olympics, begin with an explanation how Vancouver is different from Calgary.

Matt:  You’d think that Calgary was named for two people, but it actually is named for a place in Scotland. 

Bob:  Following the three-minute tribute to Canadian history, there will be the procession of the Olympic teams.  Twenty-three teams are here, representing 112 countries.  For example, Norway has volunteered to be proxy for Uruguay, Qatar, Laos, Benin and Portugal.  If someone provides the flag, the Norwegians will carry it.  Yes, it is a scam but as long as the Canadians don’t know, they won’t be hurt. 

Matt:  You’d be surprised how many famous people are actually Canadian.  Three of the first four actresses to win Academy Awards were Canadian.

Bob:  Mary Pickford, Norma Shearer, and–I’ll guess– Marie Dressler.

Matt:  Well, I don’t know.  The staff didn’t provide me with those notes. 

Bob:  Our viewers probably can see one of their movies on Turner Classic Movies right now.  God knows, I wish I could.

Matt:  Canada is also famous for its red-coated Mounted Police, popularly known as the Mounties.

Bob:  I bet we could get some up here if I made a death threat against the Premier.  

Matt:  That would be Stephen Harper.

Bob:  And four hours of this broadcast left.  I think we’re ready for your slide show of snow flakes.  Will the last person in the stadium please remember to light the Olympic torch? 

p.s.  Here, from the archives, are the Beijing Olympics:  http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2008/08/10/watching-the-opening-ceremony-of-the-olympics/

Serfs Up

Posted in On This Day on June 22nd, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – 1 Comment

“On this day in 1854, the British Parliament abolished feudalism in Canada.”

But for that, the Governor-General might have had the right to sleep with any bride on her wedding night. However, that would have made an interesting episode on “Anne of Green Gables.”

In fact, Parliament’s act was really meant for Quebec and the French populace. Les Canadiens still maintained a seigneurial system. After its conquest of Quebec, Britain found herself with 100,000 new and less than loyal subjects. Expelling them all would have been impossible. (Acadia only had a population of 7,000–and it was conveniently on the coast.) The British, showing surprising–even unprecedented–tact, allowed their conquered French subjects a generous autonomy.

The day to day affairs in the villes were left to the local chieftains and bullies: the usual cabal of landowners and priests. In fact, these Canadien dignitaries now enjoyed more power than the bureaucrats of France had allowed them. They were able to control and maintain their conservative, seigneurial society well into the 19th century.

That accommodation did keep les Canadiens loyal to Britain. Given their conservative temperament and comfortable arrangement, they certainly were not tempted to join the American radicals in their rebellion against Britain. And the French Revolution and Napoleon would have been abhorrently liberal to them. This was a society where the pulpits and church-run schools equated Voltaire with the Anti-Christ.

By 1854, however, Britain felt that Quebec was ready for the 19th century–or at least the 18th. Of course, Parliament’s noble sentiments required shrewd application, and the Crown played a skillful political game. The Byzantines may have invented the strategem of “divide and conquer” but the British made an art of it. There were two powers controlling the Canadien society; the British would undermine one while embracing the other. Britain’s affection for the Catholic Church would have amazed any Irishman, but it was the official and conspicuous policy in Quebec. The Church would have the first word and final say in local matters. For all practical purposes, a priest was an alderman and the bishop was the mayor.

In view of this accommodation, the Church agreed that it was un-Christian to have serfs. The landowners would simply have to regard their farm workers as better than livestock.

Serfs Up

Posted in On This Day on June 22nd, 2007 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

“On this day in 1854, the British Parliament abolished feudalism in Canada.”

But for that, the Governor-General might have had the right to sleep with any bride on her wedding night. However, that would have made an interesting episode on “Anne of Green Gables.”

In fact, Parliament’s act was really meant for Quebec and the French populace. Les Canadiens still maintained a seigneurial system. After its conquest of Quebec, Britain found herself with a 100,000 new and less than loyal subjects. Expelling them all would have been impossible. (Acadia only had a population of 7,000–and it was conveniently on the coast.) The British, showing surprising–even unprecedented–tact, allowed their conquered French subjects a generous autonomy.

The day to day affairs in the villes were left to the local chieftains and bullies: the usual cabal of landowners and priests. In fact, these Canadien dignitaries enjoyed more power under Britain than the bureaucrats of France had allowed them. They were able to control and maintain their conservative, seigneurial society well into the 19th century.

That accommodation did keep les Canadiens loyal to Britain. Given their conservative temperament and comfortable arrangement, they certainly were not tempted to join the American radicals in their rebellion against Britain. And the French Revolution and Napoleon would have been abhorrently liberal to them. This was a society where the pulpits and church-run schools equated Voltaire with the Anti-Christ.

By 1854, however, Britain felt that Quebec was ready for the 19th century–or at least the 18th. Of course, Parliament’s noble sentiments required shrewd application, and the Crown played a skillful political game. The Byzantines may have invented the strategem of “divide and conquer” but the British made an art of it. There were two powers controlling the Canadien society; the British would undermine one while embracing the other. Britain’s affection for the Catholic Church would have amazed any Irishman, but it was the official and conspicuous policy in Quebec. The Church would have the first word and final say in local matters. For all practical purposes, a priest was an alderman and the bishop was the mayor.

In view of this accommodation, the Church agreed that it was un-Christian to have serfs. The landowners would simply have to regard their farm workers as better than livestock.

How France Lost Canada

Posted in General on October 18th, 2006 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

I know how eager you are to learn more details about the Huguenots and French colonial policies. How can I refuse you….

Protestants were prohibited in the French colonies. In fact, it seems that no one was allowed in New France. France and England began colonizing North America at the same time, in the early 1600s. One hundred fifty years later, at the start of the French & Indian War, New France encompassed most of Canada, from the Atlantic to west of Lake Superior, as well as the Ohio Valley and the Mississippi Valley down to the Gulf of Mexico. The total population was approximately 100,000. By contrast the British colonies, wedged between the Atlantic and Appalachian Mountains, had a population of 2.5 million.

Britain had allowed anyone to migrate: paupers, minor criminals, superfluous sons and religious loonies. By contrast, France had a suffocatingly restrictive immigration policy. No one could just book a ticket to Quebec or New Orleans. The royal adminstrators had to approve of each and every applicant. If Quebec did not need an extra baker that year–or decade– that baker was staying in France. There was a shortage of women in the French colonies, and few female applicants. To alleviate this situation, the French government did ship arrested prostitutes to New France.

The sparse population of New France was a strategic disadvantage against the teeming populace of the British colonies. However, it did make many of the native American tribes more inclined to ally with France. Consider the tribes’ choice: put yourself in their place. On one side, there are 2.5 million British colonists who want to steal your land and kill you. On the other side, there are 100,000 French who only complain about your eating buffalo with white wine.