Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 11.17.05
Stanstead, Quebec


O Canada! Canadians need to be, you know, more American, eh?

Can you feel it? Can you feel the pride? Can you sense the pan-Canadian swagger as we enjoy our new status as an economic powerhouse? Can't you just feel all those years of doubt and insecurity melting away?

Neither can I.

Come on, people. When it comes to power, it's all about the Benjamins. Or in our case, the Bordens.

The Canadian dollar is positively robust. When was the last time anything in this country was robust? Besides Tim Horton's coffee? Never.

We've got the dollar and the commodities, we've got the sweet looks and the killer dance moves. We speak French. We should be the chick magnet of nations. It's time for a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T for our GDP and GNP, not to mention our GST and NDP. But if that's ever going to happen, we have to get with the program ourselves.

For starters, let's stop comparing our dollar to the US dollar. The Yankee buck's in our house now. It can compare itself with ours! Oh yeah, who's your daddy? Who's your loonie?

Next, let's get in the face of those "at par" retailers south of the border.

For instance, last week, I was at a McDonald's in Vermont. (I'd stopped in to top off my fat and sodium levels, which were dangerously low.) Taped to the front of each cash register was a hand-written note stating, "Canadian money at par."

The effrontery! The ebbackery!

I should have grabbed that McNote, balled it into a McWad, thrown it into the McFryer and shouted, "You think you can rip me off? You think just because I'm Canadian I won't make a fuss?

Would Americans let us get away with such a scam? Never! I'm paying Canadian and I want what's owed to me: 15 cents off my Happy Meal."

Of course I didn't do that. Instead I grumbled to myself, just loud enough so that the teenage cashier could hear that I was grumbling but not loud enough for her to actually hear what I was grumbling about. Just another McDonald's customer talking to himself, she probably figured.

But that's got to change. Canadians need attitude, the attitude that comes with being rich and unapologetically arrogant. We need to be, you know, more American.

A retailer won't give you proper exchange? Pay the balance in Canadian Tire money.

Or you can take the less aggressive but equally obnoxious route: ostentatiously leave your restaurant tip in Canadian cash, making sure the waitress realizes how generous you are by adding, "Don't spend it all in one place, eh?" The "eh" is critical for optimum Canadian obnoxiousness.

Or how about this? Since it's Canada's commodities that are helping our dollar flourish, wouldn't it be cool on your next cross-border spree to step up to a US cash and pay in canola oil or softwood lumber?

"Them there's natural resources," you could say like an old-time prospector. "And there's plenty more where that came from. Here, have a bottle of sovereign Canadian water."

How many times have you heard someone from the south referring to our brightly coloured dollars as "Monopoly money" or "funny money"? Well, now it's our turn. Get creative, people.

Start referring to US dollars as "greenblecchs" or "George Washed-uppingtons."

And what about bling? We've got to have bling. Nothing too gaudy, just enough to say, "We're living the sweet life."

Can't you just see Prime Minister Stephen Harper sporting an oversized silver belt buckle emblazoned with the words "Pimp My Economy"? Fo shizzle! And maybe a solid gold maple leaf medallion around his neck. Harper's in da House of Commnz!

Weve got it, let's flaunt it.

Because, people, people, it's not going to last. Already, the dollar is sliding back to more normal let's say it more boring levels. The people who know about these things (i.e. not me) are worried that our economy is bound to suffer, something to do with trade deficits and stalled exports and the depressing effect of Stéphane Dion's sour puss. Why, since you began reading this, the dollar has dropped 2 cents. If we want to be obnoxiously un-Canadian we have to do it now before it's

Shoot. Too late.

Sorry. Didn't mean to offend. We'll be quiet now.