This is How You Know it's a Slow News Day


Today comes news that Conservative Senator Nicole Eaton wants to replace the industrious beaver with the majestic polar bear as our national symbol.

In her words:

the polar bear is Canada’s “most majestic and splendid mammal,” and a powerful symbol in the lives of aboriginal peoples in the North. She believes the furry white carnivore’s “strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity” add up to an appropriate symbol for modern-day Canada. The beaver has been Canada’s national emblem because of its role in the fur trade, which helped to establish the country.The beaver has been Canada’s national emblem because of its role in the fur trade, which helped to establish the country. (Alex Pajunas/Associated Press)

By contrast, she derides the lowly beaver as a “19th century has-been,” a “dentally defective rat,” a “toothy tyrant” and a nuisance that wreaks havoc on its environment.


Funny that she would call the beaver a toothy tyrant. Because last time I checked, the polar bear was North America’s largest carnivore. A (admittedly) majestic but ultimately terrifying beast that, when hungry, considers human beings as lunch.

Okay, I admit, that makes it kind of cool. Which is what I suspect is really behind Senator Eaton’s campaign here. Tired of our lowly beavers, she has a serious case of eagle envy. I can just see her at high school, glowering as the teacher presents the symbology of the Cold War, grumbling, “The Americans have an eagle, and the Russians have a great, big bear. And all we have is a rodent?! (grumble!grumble!grumble!)”

I know that she’s thinking that because, hey, what Canadian high school student hasn’t at some point during his or her history classes?

But I thought that Conservatives tended to claim that we as Canadians didn’t appreciate our history or our national symbols enough, and the Canadian Beaver has been our symbol since before Confederation. Even Senator Eaton acknowledges the history the beaver pelt has played in building this country.

And, isn’t it the Canadian way to compromise on these things? Sure, the beaver isn’t exactly an animal you’d want on your side if you were up against both a Russian bear and an American eagle. But surely, though the miracle of genetic engineering, we could combine the strengths of both the industrious beaver and the bad-ass polar bear.

So, I respectfully suggest to Prime Minister Harper that some research money needs to be freed up here. Scientists need to get on this project right away so that, preferably in time for the Pan Am Games to come to Toronto, we can unveil to the shocked crowds the new, magnificent Polar Beaver!

Who’s with me?

In other news, the attendees at the British Commonwealth summit voted unanimously to say that a first-born female had as much claim to the British throne as a first born male in the line of succession. The meeting took less than thirty minutes to complete before attendees did the right thing, and move on to topics that, you know, actually matter to ordinary people.

And my latest post at the Kitchener Post is now up. If you want to read my take on Frank Klees campaign to become Speaker at Queen’s Park, read here

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