I’ve been reading some articles lately debating the merits of keeping our national animal the beaver. First, Senator Nicole Eaton suggested that we change it to the polar bear, and now there’s an article in the Huffington Post where the author suggests the Canada Goose is a more appropriate symbol of his suggested aspirations for our great nation; monogomous (???), loyal, brave, and hard to intimidate.
I’m gonna have to strongly disagree with both suggestions. In my opinion, we should keep it the beaver. Living abroad has really made my level of patriotism increase…perhaps even to a chauvinistic level. As a result I am currently almost blindly proud of all things Canadiana. One thing I’m really proud of about the Canadian people is our modesty (see: irony). In all seriousness though, I think one great attribute of most (there are certainly some acceptions) Canadian people is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. This is precisely why I think we need to keep the beaver our national animal: we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. Canada is a land full of brilliant comedians, sprawling wilderness, and poorly chosen town names (try explaining to someone that you’re from the Dublin that’s near Stratford and pretty close to London and then say that you’re not from the UK). We need to celebrate both our achievements and our flaws to maintain our balanced, accessible, generally jovial national personality.
Maybe this ability to laugh at ourselves comes from our humble roots. Our country was explored not because of war, not due to some divine religious right, or some quest for fairer sea travels…but to make hats! Not just any hats either, but hats out of Beaver pelts. I therefore think it’s only fitting that our national animal remind us of our humble roots and all the amazing qualities of Canadians that may or may not be a result of these roots, rather than prescribed (and I’ll say it, obnoxiously American sounding) aspirations. Let’s keep Canada a comedic, clever, industrious, and proud country that I think is very well represented by the low brow double entendre joke about the beaver that I’m almost avoiding making right now.