Over the weekend, The Globe and Mail published a list of the Top 10 Canadian Heroes, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Conservative Party of Canada. The survey was compiled for the upcoming 150th anniversary of Confederation, approaching in 2017. This was not a final list of any stretch, but it still provides some insight.
From the top of the list: Pierre Trudeau, Terry Fox, Tommy Douglas, Lester B. Pearson, Chris Hadfield, David Suzuki, Jack Layton, Sir John A MacDonald, Wayne Gretzky, and Romeo Dallaire, figures pivotal as well as…political.
What can we learn from this? Well, if we were total strangers (or foreigners) who looked at this list and did a quick internet search to learn about these figures, here’s what we would probably find.
Terry Fox is someone who Canadians actually care about, and a person who has left a meaningful legacy to his nation and mankind. They apparently do a lot of running to honour his legacy, and something about cancer. He shows us that Canadians care a lot about athletics.
Tommy Douglas influenced Canadian healthcare. He was also a eugenicist that vilified “American imperialism.” Maybe the whole “selective breeding to enhance the human race” and healthcare innovation go hand-in-hand. We’d make a nasty comment, but his own statements about forced sterilization of the “sub-normal” are scary enough.
Lester B. Pearson made peacekeeping cool. The Maple Leaf flag is cool too. I guess he cemented Canada’s status of benign meddling in other people’s foreign affairs.
Chris Hadfield is an example of how much Canadians hate each other. We hate people so much that we want to send them to space. They don’t even do anything up there, and we banned that video of him singing. Also, that moustache.
David Suzuki is the token minority who cares about the environment and also has multiple private holdings in Nelson Island and Quadra Island (one of which Sun News claims is co-owned by an oil company). The lesson here is that you can be a self-righteous hypocrite and no one really cares.
Jack Layton is the federal politician who single-handedly handed the Bloc Quebecois their asses on a silver platter. He was also found at a massage parlour while it was being raided by police searching for underage Asian sex workers. We learned here that no one cares if you cheat on your wife, because family is irrelevant.
Sir John A. MacDonald is probably the only one on this list that can be labeled conservative (even though he was apart of the “Liberal-Conservative” coalition at Confederation). He also got drunk, nearly got into fist-fights in the House of Commons, vomited on stage during a debate, and executed a high-profile Aboriginal figure. Alcoholism is okay kids!
Wayne Gretzky is hockey. Also, Paulina Gretzky. Moral for the foreigner: “yay sports yay.”
Romeo Dallaire is the recently resigned Liberal senator who led the ill-fated UN delegation to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. He, like Terry Fox, is the only other one on this list that could be called a Canadian hero. The lesson to be learned here is that if you do something moderately good you’ll be enshrined until you die in the Canadian senate.
Pierre Trudeau is that one Prime Minister who slept with a lot of women and married a 22-year old while he was in his 40s. He declared martial law in Quebec and told people to “just watch” how far he would go in arresting people. He went pretty far. Oh, and Fidel Castro was his homie. His placement reminds us that Canada is still a police state.
All in all, we’ve learned that there are no female Canadian heroes. Pivotal figures like Wilfrid Laurier, Frederick Banting, Alexander Graham Bell, Nellie McClung, or Margaret Atwood just aren’t heroic enough. The real moral is that if you want Canadians to remember you, don’t do science or provide services. The way ahead is to be a politician or an activist and make some YouTube videos.