Dear Bolt Readers,
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a real-live Canadian, from the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario. I moved to Huntington Beach three days before the beginning of freshman year. All the time, I get asked some curious questions about Canada, which I am more than happy to answer!
What follows are all ACTUAL questions that ACTUAL people ask me most frequently.
“Is Canada communist?”
Quite the opposite! Canada’s current government is very conservative! However, there is a Canadian Communist Party that exists. Yes, it exists. But this existence is about as reflective of the society it’s in as is the fact that there is a Texas Communist Party. (Yes, there are real-live communists in Texas)
“Is Canada socialist?”
No. However, Canada’s Official Opposition*, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is a social democratic party.
“Is Canada a monarchy?”
No . . . well, not in the sense that most people think of when they think of a monarchy, with images of 18th century France, lavish palaces, and elaborate ball gowns. Canadians, in fact, don’t keep portraits of the Queen Elizabeth II in frames above the doorway, worship any monarchs, or indoctrinate their children with a pledge of allegiance to the Queen.
Canada is a democratic constitutional monarchy. To the Sovereign, the Canadian constitution delegates “the executive government and authority of and over Canada.” At first, this will seem like a sweeping amount of power. However, while power is vested in the Crown, who is also formally the head of Canada’s parliament and commander-in-chief of the Canadian armed forces, the monarch entrusts her powers to the Canadian government to use on behalf of the people. Thus, while power is formally vested in the Queen, she has little to no involvement in political decisions. While she technically does have the power to reject laws the government passes, this has never been done, and would most definitely lead to national uproar. The Queen functions as little more than a figurehead in the grand scheme of Canadian politics, making periodic visits to Canada every three or four years as a simply symbolic visit.
“Is there freedom in Canada?”
Freedom is a rather abstract concept, so whenever people ask me whether Canadians have freedom I’m a little perplexed, even though it’s a question I often get asked. So, um, if you would like to know if we have to walk around with electric shock collars, and live in some sort of police state, the answer is no. If you somehow were kidnapped and dropped off in the middle of Nunavut, you wouldn’t be able to tell any difference (except for the negative temperatures, and lack of substantial population).
Is there McDonalds in Canada?
At this point, I think the McDonalds craze ended 10 years ago with the release of “Super Size Me,” but even still, most people seem pretty concerned about whether or not Canadians can also enjoy the delicious taste of chemical fries that never decompose. To respond to your concerns, don’t worry, as Far East, West, Worth, or South as you go, the golden arches of glistening oil will shine upon the horizon. If you ever want to find a land free of McDonalds, good luck.
Is there < Insert name of any restaurant here > in Canada?
There are several major American food chains that are non-existent in Canada. These include but are not limited to: Del Taco, IHop, Wienerschnitzel, In and Out, Chick-fil-A, White Castle, Jack in the Box, Five Guys, Sonic, and Carl’s Junior. But hey, who needs a hundred varieties of greasy burger venues?
America lacks one quintessential Canadian chain, Tim Hortons! Tragically purchased by American corporate giant Burger King, imagine Tim Hortons as Starbucks, except cheaper and with an endless variety of donuts and food that isn’t stale. Canadians eat more donuts per capita than any other nation!
Are you an illegal immigrant?
Phrased more politely as, “Umm, so are you like, uh . . . supposed to be here?”
I cannot tell you how many times people have asked me if I am an illegal immigrant. One time, I had eight people ask me if I’m an illegal immigrant in ONE WEEK. Eight people!
So, yes I just snuck across the border to escape the icy claws of Canadian oppression. (Image to the right caption: Canadian Prime Minister and Cat-lover Stephen Harper.)
I hope I’ve helped to solve the mystery of your neighbor to the North! If you have any funny or serious questions about Canada, send them in to the Bolt website: ehsboltnewspaper.wordpress.com where you can troll us, do some reading, and have a nice look through the archives!
*The Official Opposition is the party that gets the second most votes in the federal election. The part that gets the most votes is the party whose leader becomes the Prime Minister of Canada.