The Canadaland Guide to Canada by Jesse Brown, Vicky Mochama, Nick Zarzycki, Touchstone, US $23.00, Pp 256, May 2017, ISBN 978-1501150630
Canada is our most important neighbor, and political and trade partner. It is also one of the top countries for immigrants. But unfortunately, it is also the least understood country. Most Americans will have more information about countries in Europe than Canada. The tens of thousands of immigrants, who move to Canada every year, equally have little knowledge of the country they are going to adopt.
Authors of The Canadaland Guide to Canada say that no man is more credited with the birth of Canada than prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald. He united four British colonies into a single dominion and built an epic railway to connect them. He did all this while drunkenly extolling the virtues of the Aryan race, binge drinking his way through federal elections, puking during speeches, intentionally starving “Indians,” and setting himself on fire. Macdonald was still 30 percent less drunk and racist than everyone else in the country at the time.
Quebec is the sullen teenager in the happy Canadian family. Authors of The Canadaland Guide to Canada write, “Quebec wants you to know that she is not like you, you don’t understand her, she hasn’t forgotten all the shit you put her through, and she will be much happier when she moves out. But for now she wants more money for hanging out and fucking around. You’d better give it to her, or she will make your life truly miserable.” Quebec claims that it is very, very “secular.” But did you know that there is a massive crucifix hanging in the Quebec legislature? Or that there is a giant cross on the top of the mountain covered in crosses? Except this is fine, because they are part of Quebec’s “cultural heritage.” The Quebecois do have a legitimate beef. They went from being the castoffs of France to the vassals of Britain to the ridiculed stepchildren of dull Protestant English Canada. All the while, they were kept dirt poor and knocked-up by the Catholic Church. Through it all, they developed and held on to an ancient dialect, a genuinely, deliciously unhealthy cuisine, and a charming “eh, fuck it!” attitude. And to all that a seething anger; and you get a political movement in the late 1960s called the Quiet Revolution, which was clearly not named by anyone who has been cornered by a French separatist in a Quebec pub.
Billionaires in other countries often do tacky and attention seeking things like running for president and/or giving their fortunes to charity. Not in Canada. Authors say that a handful of super rich families have the good sense to lie low and avoid publicity while they enjoy some of the world’s lowest corporate tax rates. And thanks to the complete absence of inheritance and estate taxes in Canada, they can keep their wealth locked within their private clans forever, regardless of how shitty their offspring might turn out to be. Canada’s robber barons have few hospitals, museums, galleries or universities to their names. Most of them don’t even live here. And most Canadians don’t know they exist.
The most important thing about the Canadian billionaires is that they have monopolized the media. The Thompsons are the richest family in Canada with a net worth of $39 billion. The family has a controlling interest in the daily Globe and Mail, and in the Thomson Reuters newswire. The Irving’s net worth is $7.6 billion. They became rich by selling oil and buying trees. Their local media monopoly caused the federal government to declare New Brunswick “a journalistic disaster zone.” Jimmy Pattison with $5.7 billion is the richest individual. Owning the media, The Jim Pattison Group is Canada’s largest private Western-based radio and television company. The Saputo’s have a net worth of $10.6. In 2008, Saputo Inc. sued a number of newspapers for falsely associating them with organized crime. An out-of-the-court settlement was reached in 2009, and a La Press article was retracted.
If you think your knowledge of your most important neighbor is not enough or if you think you do not know nothing about the country you are planning to adopt, The Canadaland Guide to Canada is the best book to start with. Every aspiring immigrant to Canada should read it before moving to Canada or even applying for immigration. It is the best introductory book on Canada for everyone.