We have heard Canada called boring many times by many people (including some Canadians, but most often by Americans), and we just don’t quite get it.
We live here, and it seems a suitably stimulating country – not one that puts us into a semi-conscious state, at all.
You may have heard the latest slur against the country. It was made by an aging pop star we will decline to name, because the slur appeared to be made to attract attention.
She was inviting Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan to stay at her New York City apartment instead of Vancouver Island – a blatant and very successful attempt to generate publicity by linkng into a big international story – when she tossed in the gratuitous insult of Canada.
There may be several reasons some people consider Canada to be boring.
There is no question that our politics can appear boring compared to the upheavals and insanity in other countries, especially in the United States of Trump. Say what you will about President Donald Trump, he is not boring. A dangerous and vengeful authoritarian with delusions of being the chosen one, but not boring.
Canada is not in a state of constant political upheaval, and that relative political stability might look kind of boring.
In a choice between the two, we’ll take politically boring.
Even our separatist movements – which would cause chaos in many other countries – become tedious and boring when subjected to Canadian compromise.
Another reason is that many people in the world consider winter to be naturally boring, and believe Canada is a frozen wasteland where people huddle around fires for 11 months of the year.
Those people unfamiliar with winter don’t realize it can be a great time of year – hockey, snowmobiling, skiing, skating, ice fishing and curling (yes, curling can be exciting). Even just getting around in winter cannot be said to be boring when you are driving on snow and ice.
We have a feeling that the perception of Canada as being boring is also related to another misconception that all Canadians are polite.
We see it all the time in popular culture and in the media – Canadians are polite with a curious habit of saying ‘sorry’ all the time.
Of course, many Canadians are anything but polite. Canadian politeness is just a stereotype.
Yet, many Canadians might be OK with the idea of being considered polite. However, we believe it somehow mutates into the idea that Canadians don’t stand up for themselves and are not really a factor on the international stage. In other words, inconsequential, not worth listening to and, yes, boring.
A curious example you can find of that – on YouTube, if you care to look – is a line from the old sitcom That ’70s Show. One character mentions something about Canada to his mother, who replies, “Oh, honey, Canadians don’t matter.”
Canada as a boring country is basically a stereotype, as incorrect, meaningless and even offensive as any other national, racial or ethnic stereotype in the world.