Canadians are welcoming and generous of other nationalities and Canada is a diverse country, more so every year. But sometimes, Canadians get annoyed at certain nationalities. For all sorts of reasons. Large and small. So, here are ten countries whose citizens Canada doesn’t want.
Despite the 70 odd years of diplomatic relations and 100 plus years of commercial relations, things have gotten a little testy. This isn’t about protests over the Falklands right to self-determination, and how Canada supports that. No, this is about sports. Rugby in particular. Argentine rugby teams have been giving way too much love to their Canadian counterparts, starting with a 35 – 0 thumping in Buenos Aires in 1981. Canada returns all the love they can muster each time the two countries face off on the pitch - you can be sure of that. And sometimes we win, like in Calgary in 2005. But no, we don’t want Argentine rugby players invading us anymore. Well, except that is for the next tournament starting October 11, as Canada hosts the 2014 Americas Rugby Championship. Should be great!
Did they have to get so big and successful? And start buying up Canadian companies, like mining giant Vale buying up Inco in 2006 for $ 17.7 billion in cash!? Come on! Brascan, a proud Canadian company, started life as Brazilian Traction, Light and Power Company with a listing on the TSE way back in 1912! And the first investments in power generation in Sao Paulo were made in 1899 by Canadian capital! Show us some respect please! Who do you think you are? A major new player on the global stage and part of some elite group including China, Russia, and India, and South Africa? Ok, Brazil is the B in BRICS and it looks like the long-sleeping giant has truly awakened. But do they have to throw so much cash around?
There’s this little island way up near the arctic. It’s called Hans Island and it’s a bleak frozen piece of rock 1.3 km long sitting in the freezing waters of the far north, between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. After agreeing to disagree in 1973 over whose territory Hans Island is actually in, the dispute between Canada and Denmark started to heat up (sad use of the word, given the climate) in the ‘80s. The Danish Foreign Minister planted a flag in 1984 and Canada’s Defence Minister returned the favour by visiting the island in 2005. That same year Canada sent a couple of warships to the area. This was after the battle of the bottles back in the ‘80s when territory was marked out by Canadian Club bottles and Scandinavian Akvavit bottles. One assumes they were empty. But fear not. Things are calmer now and apparently a diplomatic solution is being worked out.
Southhampton, Bermuda [Public Domain]
These smug little islanders in their silly shorts with all those off-shore corporations sheltering there and not paying their fair share of taxes! And by actually keeping the money they make, those Canadian companies’ stock prices rise and all sorts of Canadian mutual fund and Canadian stock investors reap the benefits! It’s outrageous! Canada finally signed a tax treaty with Bermuda a couple of years ago and it’s high time. Not only that, they say it’s a beautiful place to visit. So no, we don’t want any Bermudans invading us, and its best we go down there ourselves to tell them it to their faces! Like in mid-January.
The River Irtysh [Public Domain]
It’s not because of their oil wealth and certainly not because Canadian companies have operations there. Nor is it due to the fact that Alberta has understandably developed ties with the Central Asian, former Soviet Republic. No. It’s because these are the guys who take Borat seriously. “The film has left a negative stain on our country, and our students abroad are hurting in their hearts,” bemoaned a Kazakh member of parliament a few years ago. And they were furious when the Olympic Committee of Asia played Borat’s spoof national anthem at an awards ceremony for shooting medals in Kuwait. It was a mistake apparently. Not getting a joke is a no-no to Canadians. Fortunately, Kazakhstan has begun to see the light, especially seeing tourist visas to the country have apparently gone up ten-fold since the film’s release.
This tiny, prosperous, multilingual, principality in the Pyrenees is governed under a centuries-old tradition of 2 co-princes. One of whom is the President of France. How on earth did this come about? The principality was founded in 1278 through a treaty between the Bishop of Urgell, whose diocese covers parts of Spain, as well as Catalonia and Andorra, and the Count of Foix in France. The Count of Foix’s claims were transferred to the French Crown and, after the French Revolution, were transferred on to the French Republic. That means the French President is also a monarch, the only monarch in the world to be elected by the common citizens: of France not Andorra of course. So Francoise Hollande, a tax-loving socialist, is also a monarch. Blame Andorra! Canadians beware of the socialist monarch!
Also known in Italian (it is located in the Northeast of Italy) as: Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino. You’d be serene too if you had one of the highest GDP’s per capita in the world, no national debt, and a budget surplus. Founded by Saint Marinus and his buddy Leo in 301 AD, it was recognized as an independent state by the Papacy in 1631. It was later a refuge for those persecuted for supporting the unification of Italy in the 19th century, for which a grateful Garibaldi granted them the right to stay independent. They truly are: they were neutral in WW II, they were communist from 1945 to 1957, they didn’t join the UN until 1992, they are not part of the EU and they don’t use the Euro. As citizens of an open, trading nation which values multilateralism, we Canadians have got to be annoyed at those feisty independent-minded Sammarineses, don’t we?
Alaska Boundary Dispute [Public Domain]
Aside from the ice hockey, the real issue with Russia is: why didn’t they sell Alaska to us? Ok, so the USA moved faster than us on this one and won out seeing it was 1867 and Canada was barely formed. Plus, we could not have raised the cash. But, for goodness sake, Alaska was a frozen, fur-trading colony with missionaries hard at work bothering the local first nations. It was a perfect fit! Even in the US, William Seward was mocked for spending what was then a considerable sum to purchase the territory from a desperate Russia, who feared Britain would take the land if war broke out with Russia. Think of all those additional oil reserves we lost out on! No, there’s no forgiving Russia for not selling Alaska to us.
It was inevitable wasn’t it? We are grateful however. Grateful for lettings us win on the Plains of Abraham and before that in Nova Scotia, so that all those United Empire Loyalists had somewhere to go when they lost the Revolutionary War and America was born. Grateful for enabling English speaking barbarians to settle in wonderful cities like Montreal, and to build up wonderful cities like Toronto, in former French territory. Grateful for letting us show the world how a country can sometimes resemble a squabbling couple on the brink of divorce and somehow overcome that and continue its march to alpha world domination. What Canada cannot forgive France for, is for booing Ryan Gosling’s film Only God Forgives at Cannes in 2013. How dare they insult a Canadian heart-throb! Even if it is Cannes after all. Even if the director is Danish. Even if the Danish director has actually lived in the US since he was 11. Even if Gosling wasn’t actually present at the booing. And even if the film was a dud.
It’s not the border. It’s not the arm-twisting various governments in Ottawa have had to endure. It’s not using a taped version of O Canada at an All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. It’s not asking you how close Edmonton is to Toronto. It’s not them asking you if everyone speaks French. It’s not asking if you happen to know their friend Gord from New Brunswick. It’s when they say we have lousy beer. If you’re going to swagger across the border from Buffalo on holiday and hit a pub in say, Hamilton or Toronto, don’t tell us our beer sucks. You can always stay at home and have a Bud. No, we don’t want people who tell us our brew is no good.