Editorial Comment

Ice isn’t just for drinks anymore


Canada isn’t like the other guys. We’re not quick to anger and we never pick a fight with tough guys like our American cousins do. In fact, we don’t pick a fight with anybody, tough, or not. Not even Holland. It comes as one of those embarrassing realizations, much like suddenly becoming aware you accidently coughed a lugie on your hostess’ bosom, that Canada is kind of a nerd. All the other guys know we will only go beat some other guy up if we’re part of a group.  If Canada was in Junior High, we’d be wallflowers at the dance while all the girls cozied up to the “Bad Boys”. 
Part of that “Nice Guy” makeup is that we have never been an expansionist nation. We have always lacked a plan for world domination. While the other nations were conquering the known planet, we felt we had our hands full conquering our own country.  It never occurred to us to try and spread our empire beyond that of a few hundred miles north of the Trans-Canada Highway. We have a hard enough time getting goods up to Tuktoyaktuk, never mind goods to our far-flung colonies. 
Canadians are actually the antithesis of imperialistic. So averse are we to world domination, we have even rebuffed countries that have actually wanted to take us over. There’s been an astonishing array of them, too.  In 1886, there was a movement in Jamaica to request a political and economic partnership with Canada. Can you imagine it? Jamaica; the eleventh province... the only provincial budget without an expenditure code for snow removal. Whereas many provinces now observe “Family Day” and Quebec has their winter carnival with their mythical figure “Bonhomme de Neige” which, in English means “Michelin Man with a scarf”, The province of Jamaica would have April 20th as their special day. If you don’t know why, ask your kids. 
Unfortunately, when the man behind the idea brought it to the Jamaican Legislative Council, he was the only one who voted for the measure. We didn’t even get to say no. We were just unceremoniously dumped.
After waiting a respectable time so they wouldn’t be accused of going for us when we were on the rebound from Jamaica, the Bahamas came calling in 1911.  This time the proposal was shot down by the Canadian government in a short-sighted move. Apparently, it was still too soon after Jamaica.
Other Caribbean nations that have made similar proposals were The British West Indies and the Turks and Caicos Islands. There were also rumours of a hard crush with Barbados, too, but it couldn’t be verified by Wikipedia researchers.
The 80’s were the last time we had any courtship displays and that was by the Turks and Caicos Islands. Again, the arguments for the initiative were persuasive. A nice, safe place for rich, fat, Canadian tourists to enjoy an island holiday and still use their own currency, not to mention keeping that currency within Canada. Alas, once more nothing came of it.
Now we have another country showing interest. Iceland appears to be making googly eyes at us but we know what they really want. They just want us for our money. Their currency has a current value lower than the Alberta Green Party’s polling figures and they want to tie it to a stronger currency much as some small South American nations have unilaterally adopted the US greenback.
Of course we could absorb the impact of their currency. Their entire population is about 300,000 or about the size of a small Canadian city. 
Plus, there has been a long standing connection between Gimli, Manitoba and Iceland. In fact, the word “Gimli”, besides being the name of a dwarf on the quest for the one ring, is Icelandic for “New Iceland”. Indeed, the second largest group of Icelanders outside of their capital is in this prairie municipality. It’s like Iceland started out trying to absorb us, starting with Gimli, but they plain just gave up.
Adopting Iceland may have some value; however, it doesn’t stir the senses as annexing the Bahamas might. I don’t think the beaches in Iceland are any more inviting than the beaches near Gimli on lovely Lake Winnipeg. Jetting off to an island vacation usually doesn’t involve destinations with the word “ice” in it. The only ice we want to encounter on our holidays go “clink” in the glass before you add the spiced rum.
On the plus side, if quaffing drinks adorned with little umbrellas is not your style, Iceland may be your answer. They boast a type of schnapps called Brennivin which has a savoury flavour and an unsavoury reputation; much like the folks Canada always wanted to hang out with but were too nerdy.  
Another reason it might be a good idea to cozy up to Iceland is for back up. They would be the ideal replacement if Quebec ever votes to leave the federation. Just think of it. They don’t have enough of a population to be nearly as bossy as Quebec but they still have that quaint charm of speaking in an incomprehensible language, much like that other non-English-speaking province; Newfoundland and Labrador. At least no one will be forced by law to put Icelandic on their cereal boxes. 
So we should say yes to the Icelandic people and give them a hand. If we can help out 300,000 peaceful folks with virtually no downside to the relationship, why not do it? Aren’t we the “Nice Guys”?

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