There are two stock phrases that I consider to be completely Canadian. I was once asked at a very boozy party in the north of Scotland to “give us your best Canadian” so I went full hoser Mackenzie brother with a “How’s it goin’, eh?” followed by a rapid fire referencing of every single Canuck cliche under the sun. A Tim Hortons opened in Glasgow last week. I feel partially responsible.
The second phrase, which I have heard far too many times in this lifetime yet it is part of the fabric of this nation would be “they’re letting too many ________ in!”, with the blank being filled by those who are perceived to be “getting in” at that given moment . Refugees and Muslims are popular blank fillers these days but you can bet since 1867 on, every conceivable race, colour or creed on this Earth has been in the blank. If you haven’t heard this phrase at least once, you haven’t experienced the complete range of Canadian Values. Plenty of people here have built their entire identity on the hatred of ________ . In general conversation, it will be the second or third thing out of their mouth, with the mere presence of another white person acting as a trigger for them to rant about The Other.
I grew up in the GTA, which is possibly the most diverse place on the planet. Not once did anyone who was on the ever changing hit list of the “too many” give me a direct problem. I’ve done a bit of a personal inventory; a reflection of a 40+ year run living here in several different towns and cities. The only people who have ever given me immediate cause for concern has been other whites. Here is a partial rundown:
All physical fights I have been in and threats of violence/harm delivered to me, up to and including “Im going to kill you” “The next time I see you, I’m going to cut your face” and “Ill give you the first punch then you are f—king toast” – white guys
Cigarette stubbed out on my leg when I was five years old just in from the UK and sounding “funny” – white guy
Beaten with a cane in Cub Scouts for a reason lost to time but probably very minor – old white guy (this also firmly established my distrust of anyone in “authority”)
Run over by a car, once on a bicycle and years later on a motorcycle, to be met with screaming/mockery/insults while lying in the road injured – white guys
Guy arrested in the backyard last week after stealing from cars who met one too many fences then the police dog – white
Threw eggs and yelled “faggot” at me from a passing car at midnight – young white guys (a unique, extra dangerous breed)
Hospitalized me from an intentional boot to the chest after the whistle had blown – white guy
Abandoned me in the middle of nowhere (twice!) because they “had to go” – devout Christian white guy
Road rage, general nuisance, causing a scene, bar fights, flaming couch in the middle of the road, screamed head off at 5am for no apparent reason, wrecked the mailbox or car windshield wipers, shat or urinated in our driveway while dressed as a leprechaun – white guys
Any boss, manager or supervisor who was a prick to me and my fellow workers (a 30+ year run) – white guy
Anyone who had pilfered something major or minor then boasted about it later whilst looking for approval with zero guilt – white guy
Made open, blanket, disparaging remarks (with a nudge nudge and a laugh) about women, people of colour, LGBTQ, indigenous, anyone “different” or anyone that fills the blank- all white guys
Harassed strangers or their own family, girlfriend or someone else’s friend/girlfriend in public, on the bus, train and streetcar, in the mall, in a parking lot, at the sports complex, the supermarket, the music festival, the club, on their own front lawn – white guys
People I went to school with or co-workers who ended up convicted criminals, including a voyeur, a rapist and another who abused children and animals and filmed it – all white
Dropped a fellow student on his head and gave him brain damage on Wyndham Street, ran over and killed a student on Woolwich Street in a stolen car then ran away from the wreckage, assaulted and killed a little girl in Mount Forest – using supplies bought at the Guelph Home Depot, ran over soldiers with a car in the name of ISIL, shot and killed three in the Quebec parliament, shot and killed four co-workers because he didn’t like them, murdered eight seniors doing “god’s work”, killed 14 women in Montreal because they were women – all white
I haven’t once lost a minute’s sleep over _________ .