Canada, More or Less


Define Canada?
You might say the home of McSorley
Or Ron Hextall
Who inspired innovative use of the hockey stick as
lethal weapon
But we’re more than just aggravated assault
And salt-of-the earth goons
In wheat-growing and steel-making towns

Some say what defines us is our excessive consumption of
over-proof beer
And our friendly-to-a-fault willingness to give strangers
Even if it’s just “Ya can’t get there from here”
Or some other bum steer
We are so friendly to strangers
We greet them at the YVR airport—with Tasers!

We are vegans and seal-clubbers
We are seamen and land-lubbers
We are loggers and tree-huggers
We are dipsomaniacs and abstemious tea-chuggers
We are a land of such equal opportunity
That not only our politicians, but our serial killers too
Can be hog farmers or Air Force brass
(That they are drawn still from the ranks of white men
Is a matter of some concern, but we’re working on that,
let me assure you)

We are constantly taking it up the ass
From our neighbour, for which we say not only thank you
But please sir, could I have some more?
Because we are more

We are the global economy’s friendliest whore
We are vast tracts of pristine land
We are pipelines, tailings and tar sand
We are exporting asbestos to India
Our number one motto’s “Buddy, get it inta ya!”

We are raping our fish stocks and when we reap our forests
We replace ’em with fast-growing stands of future
bum paper
We’re melting, we’re melting
And all the while we’re belting out smug odes
As we keep putting the rubber to the road

We campaign from the left and govern from the right
We turn off the light and take back the night
We are getting tough on crime
And we’re doing it on your dime
Think art grants expensive, how ’bout hard time?

We are universal healthcare—if you’re in the right province
We are kernels of truth and nuggets of nonsense
We are paying recompense in monthly installments
We are a ragged patchwork of problematic diversity
We are in debt to our eyeballs for going to university

We just can’t decide
We were perpetrators of genocide
But we don’t call it that and we feel really bad about the
whole thing
We have interned innocent citizens and taken their
On a dérangé le peuple Acadien
Comme tout le monde, on dit merci et de rien
Mais une fois à la maison, on donne un coup de pied à
notre chien

We are one Jew too many
We are not two solitudes, but as long as the knackered nag
still knickers, might as well flog ’er
We are a game of Don Valley Parkway frogger
We are a pedophilic diocese
We are increasingly obese
We are plus-sized and disingenuously self-deprecating
We are eating where we are defecating
We are doing your dirty work, as long as it pays
We are not the sum total of our feel-good clichés
But you need more than an upbeat demeanour to sweep
garbage away

Saying “we are more” is just one more trite meme
We are still trying to forge what we mean
And what this means is
We made our bed
But we must change the sheets if we want to make it clean

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