Saturday, May 19, 2007

Oh Canada?

The Ottawa Senators are in the Stanley Cup finals, and I am angry about it. "Why would a Canadian be mad that a Canadian team made it to the finals?" you may ask. At first I thought that the answer was very simple: I hate Ottawa and everything they stand for. I hate the city, I hate the people, and I especially hate their hockey team. Furthermore, I feel that it is actually my sworn duty as a proud Torontonian to hate Ottawa and its unexplainable status as our nation's capital.

When explaining this to a non-Torontonian co-worker, I was confronted by the idea that maybe my blind hatred needed some sort of explanation so that the uninformed could more fully understand the depths of my loathing, and the reasons for it. So, here are two perfectly decent examinations of the reasons behind this Torontonian resentment of Ottawa.

1 - Despite being the only Canadian city that non-Canadians can name (and being the only city in the entire country that actually matters to anything), Toronto is not the capital of the country. Rather than choosing a dynamic, exciting, international city for its capital, The Dominion of Canada somehow chose to put the nation's government in a sparsely inhabited hick-town on the border between Ontario and Quebec. The reason for this decision is beyond me, but it happened, and it makes alot of us angry. The status as capital has also made the toothless residents of Ottawa rather arrogant, as they feel they are somehow entitled to compare themselves to Torontonians...again, how they can think like this is baffles me. Speaking at any greater length about this matter will just make me mad, and unable to type. Thus, I will cut it short and sum it up in one sentence: any self-respecting Torontonian has a healthy dislike of Ottawa, a dislike that transcends national boundaries and forces us to cheer for any team that is playing against Ottawa, be they Canadian, Francophone, or American...whoever they play, we all wish for Ottawa to be cut down to size.

2 - Now we must examine the deeper and more widespread roots of this intra-province enmity (as well as the cause of much of Canada's political problems). For a nation state to function properly its inhabitants must be able to conceive of the nation itself as an entity with some sort of meaning. Nationalism grows out of the idea that a nation is a unified community of people with comparable lifestyles, values, or culture. Since no citizen of a nation will ever meet every other citizen, they must imagine that people across the country are similar to them (this is why Benedict Anderson refers to nations as 'imagined communities') in some way, thus creating the ideological basis for sentiments of national unity.

Here is where we come to our problem. I do not -and honestly cannot- believe that people from any of Canada's other 9 provinces and 3 territories are anything like Ontarians. When I talk about Canada, I am actually referring to Ontario...and maybe to the part of Quebec that was once Lower Canada. To go even further, when I refer to Ontario (and therefore Canada) I am really only referring to Toronto. Quite simply, Toronto = Canada. My inability to see a similarity between myself and people from Ottawa (or Vancouver, of Halifax, or Calgary etc.) can be seen by some as a lack of nationalist sentiment. This is not true. I love my nation. My nation, however, consists only of Toronto, and yet Ottawa constantly claims to be the most important city in my nation. Excuse me, but is Ottawa in Toronto? No, it isn't and therefore it means nothing to me. It's claims of political sovereignty over my nation angers me to no end. A good analogy would be the disbelief the French would have if Monaco or Andorra decided that they were actually in charge of France. The ridiculousness is clear for anyone to see. Therefore, because of its interference in the political independence of my homeland, Ottawa must suffer, and its sports teams must be punished.

So, to sum up...Toronto should be capital of Canada, people from Ottawa are too arrogant, and I cannot see sufficient similarities with Ottawa to consider them part of my nation. This is why I want them to lose...and maybe this explains to any non-Torontonians the reasons for our problems with Ottawa, and our hatred towards it. So, GO Ducks/Red Wings!!!! Beat the hell out of the Senators for us, and we'll be happy despite our own terrible season. If the Leafs can't win the cup, then the Sens can't either. Thanks again, and ciao.

P.S. The Maple Leafs are actually the only team in hockey that really matter. We are the lead actors and every other team is just our supporting cast. Hockey does not exist without the Leafs, just as Canada does not exist without Toronto. Ciao.

No comments: