The Heritage Conservation Act and the Destruction of Sacred Sites

This week, BC New Democrat MLA Maurine Karagianis (Esquimalt-Royal Roads) introduced legislation that seeks to amend the Heritage Conservation Act by strengthening provisions for First Nations’ sacred cultural sites and objects. This is the fourth time Karagianis has introduced this private member’s bill (read the 2009/10 version here). According to the NDP’s press release, amendments

…include a process by which First Nations can request a temporary protection order when people find a heritage site, object or remains. The amendments would also create a First Nations Heritage Protection Program which would provide funding to local governments so that they could protect sacred sites in their communities.

The destruction and desecration of First Nation’s cultural sites is ongoing in BC and across turtle island. Karagianis points to recent attempts to destroy Penelakut First Nation burials at Grace Islet as evidence for the need to strengthen provincial protections. This is a current example, but only one of many.

Many residents of the south coast may be more familiar with the Musqueam’s steadfast efforts in 2012 to protect the resting place of some of their ancestors from condo development. After months of protest, and keeping watch over their ancestor’s remains, the Musqueam ‘won’ the ability to buy the land – land that they have never ceded.

Sacred cultural sites are an inconvenient truth that trouble Settler claims to Indigenous territories. Weak provisions and enforcement of the Heritage Conservation Act facilitate ongoing colonialism and Settler claims to “private” property. The destruction of sacred sites not only facilitates the expansion of Settler property, it also erases the material past of Indigenous Peoples. This is something I first addressed in my MA thesis (Kelly Black, 2011; School of Canadian Studies, Carleton University).

Below, I provide two sections of that thesis (with some edits) that detail the ongoing destruction of Hul’qumi’num cultural sites in the Cowichan Valley (Vancouver Island). Although Karagianis’ amendments have the potential to provide real protections for sacred sites, much greater efforts will be needed if we are to address colonial property relations.

– Kelly Black (Twitter: @K_elly_B )

The protection of sacred sites is one desired outcome of a completed treaty process (HTG, 2007, p. 32). While the long history of the Bamberton development in Mill Bay represents a protracted struggle over a sacred site, there are innumerable accounts of Settler infringement on and destruction of sacred sites since the modern treaty process began in 1993. These transgressions represent an assault on Hul’qumi’num property and demonstrate the expansion of a Settler property regime. 

Brian Thom notes that property relations among the Coast Salish are organised “with each other by residence in ancestral communities, or descent from ancestors connected to particular places, drawing authority from their association of historical and mythical privileges handed down from the ancestors and learned by engaging in respectful spirit relations with the non-human persons in the land (Thom, 2005, p. 30).” The Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group (HTG) states:”Our oral history and customary laws teach us that we are not of the land, we are the land and its resources. Our connection to our territory is based on our ongoing history of use, occupancy, and customary laws of land ownership and is deeply rooted in our cultural fabric (HTG, 2007, p. 8; emphasis in original).” This history of use by the Hul’qumi’num is manifested to Settlers in the uncovering of cultural sites and archaeological evidence. As the HTG winds its way through the treaty process, middens and burial sites continue to be uncovered and are often destroyed through the spread of Settler property. In addition, sacred sites for traditional ceremonies are increasingly in danger from development and the sale of private property, mostly within the E&N grant (Thom, 2005, p. 154).

In Cowichan, particularly along the coast, the archaeological evidence of ancient Hul’qumi’num residency is overwhelming (HTG, 2006, p. 13). In spite of this, cultural sites are often threatened or disrespected by the Settler enactment of property. In July 1997, the Crofton pulp mill hired a contractor to clean up a popular picnic site for mill employees in advance of Canada Day celebrations. In clearing the site, the worker “levelled” a Halalt First Nation burial mound, a site registered and protected by the provincial Heritage Conservation Act (Abell, 1997, July 27). This disturbance shocked Halalt members who, at the time, were working with the mill owner to rebury remains at the site taken by an archaeological team ten years prior. Despite legal protections from the province, the burial site was again disturbed in the summer of 2001 when mill workers using heavy equipment unearthed bones at the picnic site (Costa, 2001, September 2).

Recurring events at this Halalt burial site point to the continued violence associated with enacting Settler property. These events also highlight the failure of provincial measures designed to protect Indigenous sites. The Crofton mill is ‘private property’ and, as such, not subject to inclusion in ongoing treaty negotiations.

When Settlers first began to arrive in Hul’qumi’num territory, middens and burial sites were often the first encounter Settlers had with the land. On July, 27th 1859, a group of 18 Settlers arrived on Salt Spring Island by way of a schooner:

The schooner landed them on a sandy beach two miles south [from their lots], the site of a major [Indigenous] clam harvesting and processing site…When the Penelakut and Lamalcha returned [from the sockeye fishery] to their villages on Kuper Island there was anger over the unannounced arrival of [white people] in their midst (Arnett, 1999, p. 76).

This invasion of Settlers at Syuhe’mun (Walker’s Hook on Salt Spring Island), facilitated by J.D. Pemberton (colonial surveyor) and the colonial government, demonstrates the lack of recognition given to even the most obvious signs of Indigenous property. Nearly 145 years later, similar circumstances unfolded at the same site.

In early 2004, the provincial Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection issued a permit to an aquaculture company to dispose of fish farm waste water on Walker’s Hook (Martens, 2004, February 15). After being issued the permit, the aquaculture company conducted an archeological assessment which revealed evidence of the remains of as many as 700 people. In a notice of appeal to the provincial Environmental Appeal Board, Penelakut elders stated their opposition to the permit, noting that “…the effluent will flow over their ancestors’ bodies (Martens, 2004, February 15).” Non-Indigenous residents of Salt Spring Island were also concerned by the proposed hatchery, voicing concern through the community group Salt Spring Island Residents for Responsible Land Use. In a letter to the provincial bureaucrat responsible for approving proposed amendments to the hatchery’s permit, the community organisation expressed the need for the hatchery to “sincerely and actively consult with the HTG…prior to being granted the Permit Amendment or implementing any new plan” (Salt Spring Island Residents for Responsible Land Use, 2006, November 22). However, this was only the third of four points against the hatchery. In a similar scenario to Bamberton, Settler involvement in the conflict was chiefly derived from concern over its impact to the Settler property regime:

We are requesting that a Public Information Meeting be held…In particular, we would like to see a map showing the route of the proposed outfall pipe…Some neighbouring property owners have expressed concern about their water supply…Walker Hook beach is a public beach. With the outfall pipe [from the hatchery] going above ground, and the concerns of increased effluent discharge, how will the beach be impacted? (Salt Spring Island Residents for Responsible Land Use, 2006, November 22).

This letter demonstrates a failure to acknowledge the role Settlers play in erasing Indigenous property. Although the letter demands Indigenous consultation, it also refers to the beach as “public,” thereby simultaneously acknowledging and rejecting HTG claims. If the beach is “public”, than what further input would the HTG possibly have should the hatchery’s permit be denied? The letter points to a Settler entitlement to property – public and private notions of property are deployed when necessary. Contrasted with the Settlers of 1859 who stumbled across this sacred site to claim property, more recent events at Walker’s Hook reveal the ongoing and insistent nature of Settler claims to property, and denote the complex nature of relationships that make up the colonial nature of property relations in Hul’qumi’num territory.

Settler perspectives, like any group identity, should not be considered to be homogeneous. However, in her research on Euro-Canadian and Indigenous relations, Elizabeth Furniss rightly argues that “some discourses can be considered dominant by virtue of their ubiquity in the social landscape of Euro-Canadian life….” (1999, p. 104). Much like the examples provided above, the following discussion brings attention to Settler views on property relations and provides evidence of particular discourses around property that I consider dominant within Settler communities on southern Vancouver Island.

In a May 1993 letter to The Citizen titled “Native pride isn’t evident” the writer contrasts the “mess “ of Native “yards” with middle-class Settler neighbourhoods in Cowichan: “But, there is ‘pride’ in our city and municipality. Take a tour of Centennial Heights just off Government Street or through The Properties, or Lakeview, to name just a few…Clean up your land first, before you ask anyone to Enter Your World and Share Your Pride! (Malbon, 1993, May 23).” This Settler puts forward perhaps the most basic of British colonial understandings of property; that land must be improved and maintained through labour. In support of this letter, a second letter writer declared, “Well correct me if I’m wrong but is it only a white standard to be clean and respect the property you live on by keeping it clean? I think not! (Wight, 1993, June 6).” Although these letters demonstrate a Euro-centric understanding of property, they also reveal links to opinions voiced by colonial Settlers. These links, as explored below, demonstrate a continuity between colonial and contemporary concepts of property.

Between 2005 and 2007, the Halalt First Nation undertook a public information campaign regarding the effects of traffic along Chemainus Road which passes through their reserve. Concerned with high levels of industrial traffic and the safety of its community, the Halalt erected signs and set-up information pickets, educating drivers and encouraging them to obey the speed limit through the reserve (Hills, 2007, June 27). However, while still reeling from the destruction of ancient burial sites at the Crofton mill, the Halalt were again confronted with cultural destruction. In 2006, fourteen wooden crosses at a Halalt cemetery were pulled out of the ground and inverted, the third time in two months that grave markers at the cemetery had been vandalised (Poss, 2006, March 1). Chief Bert Thomas feared the desecration was linked directly to the Halalt’s campaign around Chemainus Road (Poss, 2006, March 1). Such abhorrent actions represent the backlash Indigenous communities can face when they confront the Settler property regime.

The desecration of the Halalt cemetery represents an extreme action against Indigenous property. however, it is also rejected through a. The Halalt’s confrontation of Settler property elicited a response rooted in a discourse of equal rights and ‘common sense’ understandings of property:

After reading the articles regarding the “no trespassing” signs put up by the Halalt First Nation because the use of the road by motorists is “reducing the quality of their lives,” I shake my head and ask this question: Is it the motorists who cause such poorly cared for properties strewn with every kind of garbage?…Yes, the Government of Canada may not have asked for permission to take their land but this is the year 2005. There should not be any special treatment of any particular race of people. Everyone is capable of working and paying taxes (Sjostrom, 2005, December 25).

The language used in the above quote insists that Settler ways of seeing property are the only way. The writer’s dismissal of historic injustices also puts forward the idea that there is no link between colonial dispossession and contemporary property relations. This seems to support Carol Rose, who argues that these “culture-conflict stories…must reinforce the point that seeing property is an act of imagination (Rose, 1994, p. 296).” In rejecting, or rather imagining, the past, the writer also ensures that the history of Halalt struggles over property are ignored. For the Halalt, the actions undertaken on Chemainus Road are linked to similar events over 100 years before. In 1877 the Joint Indian Reserve Commission noted that the Halalt,

had to a small extent been guilty of the very serious offence of fencing in as their own, a portion of land legally owned or occupied by a white man. The deliberate overstepping the boundaries of other men’s lands, and enclosing portions with some vague notion of holding these portions by force, is a practice on the part of the Indians which should be checked at any cost. (Sproat, quoted in: Egan, 2009, p. 214).

Whereas the Halalt have been challenging Settler claims since they were first made, a discourse of Settler property deems the Halalt version of property illegitimate and is dismissed as a demand for “special treatment.” The notion that Indigenous peoples receive special treatment and special rights from the government is a common discourse among Settlers. In 1998, David Black (no relation to the author), owner of the Cowichan News Leader and Pictorial newspapers expressed concern over the settlement of treaties in British Columbia:

Setting up communistic territories…is completely discredited as a workable system because most human beings need the motivation of private property. They need to be able to build their own wealth rather than just belong to a collective that has wealth…No living apart based on race. No special rights for some (Black, 1998, October 28; emphasis added).

Black’s comments present the idea of private property as so normal that it should be desired by all as an obvious solution to the issue of “special rights” for Indigenous peoples. Indeed, the politics of ‘equal rights’ is central to property relations and is a notion often espoused in liberal democracies (Blomley & Pratt, 2001, p. 156). For the Joint Indian Reserve Commissioners and the Settlers they represented, any concession of land or resource rights given to the Indian population was often viewed as generosity that could result in an unfair advantage over white Settlers (see: Fisher, 1977, p. 200; Harris, 2002, p. 107-8). When Sproat‘s comments are contrasted with Black’s editorial and the 2005 letter to the editor we are able to see the manifestation of the colonial property regime in contemporary Settler society. Over the last two centuries the Settler view of property has been entrenched as normal; requests from Indigenous peoples to see it otherwise have been decried as counter to liberal notions of ‘equality.’ Given the above examples, the colonial nature of property relations and its impacts on Settler-Indigenous relations is made clear.



On Toothpaste and Childcare

If you follow Canadian politics at all you will know that Member of Parliament Eve Adams and her fiancé Dimitri Soudas have been creating quite the side show lately. There’s no need to recount the ridiculous details here, except to say that their behaviour recalls a culture of entitlement we’ve grown all too accustomed to seeing, both in Ottawa and our provincial capitals.

Although the news media is widely reporting MP Adams’ latest ‘privilege eruptions,’ it is the Conservative Member’s previous slip-ups that deserve our attention. In June 2013 the headline read: “Tory MP Eve Adams claimed visits to hair and nail salons, grooming products, and whitening toothpaste.”

Leaving aside the rather odd act of claiming reimbursement for toothpaste, what the headline does not mention is Adams’ claims for childcare expenses.

Elections Canada allows candidates to claim childcare expenses incurred during the campaign period. This is a good thing. The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC explains why:

Access to quality, affordable early care and learning services advances women’s equality, helping women to both parent and work, study, or volunteer in their communities. To Canada’s shame, such care is hard to find.

– 72% of women with children under six are in the paid workforce

– Overall, 2 in 3 young children with employed or studying mothers are in some form of childcare

– Childcare is generally the second highest cost for families and frequently exceeds the cost of post secondary education. For many families, this cost is unbearable.

Lack of access to quality, affordable early care and learning is a primary reason why mothers with young children experience the highest levels of work-life stress in Canada.

In BC, the 2010/11 provincial median for childcare (toddlers) was $854/month, per child. During the 2011 federal election, Eve Adams claimed $2,346.00 in child care expenses. According to media reports, Adams paid the childcare provider a meagre $12/hour. If this is the case, that works out to just over 195 hours of childcare during the 30 day election period.

Adams went on to win her riding and become one of a record number of women elected to Parliament (76 out of 308 seats – still a long way from parity). Clearly, Adams benefited from the opportunity to claim childcare expenses from Elections Canada (although the same may not be said for the underpaid childcare provider).

The Royal Commission on the Status of Women first recommended the creation of a national childcare program in 1970. Successive federal governments have failed to implement this recommendation (as they so often do with Royal Commissions). The Conservative Party of Canada, claiming to finally take action on the issue, boasts about its introduction of the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) which claims to offer families choice in childcare.

While Adams and other candidates deserve to have the ability to claim childcare expenses, there is a hypocrisy in all of this that should alarm us far more than claims for toothpaste or an outburst at a gas station. The UCCB provides $100 a month to families with a child under the age of six. Recall that in BC care for one toddler averages $854/month and that Eve Adams spent over $2000 on childcare in one month. Adams, however, was able to receive a full reimbursement for her costs.

Eve Adams and the Conservative party tell Canadians that a paltry $100/month is more than enough to provide them with ‘choice’ in childcare. Yet, Adams’ expenses reveal the truth of the matter: the costs of childcare are a growing burden on Canadian women and families.

That Adams would claim $2,346.00 for one month of childcare and, at the same time, promote a policy of $100/month for the rest of us reveals what we already know about how much of the political elite in Canada think: they are entitled to their entitlements and the rest of us can struggle along.

Canadian women, children, and families have a right to public, affordable, and accessible childcare. They should not have to run for election to gain access to it.


Coastal Diss-patch: Graduate Students Work and Learn Far from Campus

(This article first appeared in The Leveller, Vol. 6, #6:

There’s a new graduate student in town.

Just kidding, we’re not in town.

After finishing PhD course work and exams, Kelly moved to Victoria, British Columbia, and Amanda moved to Irvine, California. We have chosen to continue our studies about as far away from Ottawa as you can get and still be on the continent, leaving us with one foot in the Pacific and the other in the Rideau Canal.

Why would we do this to ourselves? It’s complicated. Our decisions to leave campus were motivated by any combination of fieldwork, finances, relationships, wanderlust, employment opportunities, and affinity for a warm(ing) climate.

The relatively recent and still somewhat unusual opportunity to work and live far from campus is made possible by the Internet and new forms of digital pedagogy. However, we have quickly realized that within these new opportunities there exist unique challenges for those who work and study remotely.

Many graduate students face the difficulties of isolation. For those on-campus, there are opportunities to engage with the university community by attending talks, working on campus-based initiatives, and socializing in the grad pub. For students working remotely, this lack of a campus-oriented schedule can be wholly replaced by the cycle of teaching, writing, and research. When combined with isolation, feelings of being overwhelmed are intensified. Continuously working on a growing list of projects, rather than socializing or eating vegetables or even leaving the house, becomes the new normal.

If you work from home, like we do, it’s all too easy to sit around in your pajamas eating ketchup chips; dissertation deadlines are mentally present but geographically distant.

That’s why it’s important to keep in touch with your department. Get news (and gossip!) from on-campus students and schedule regular online or phone appointments with your supervisors and supportive mentors. Work on fun and fulfilling collaborative projects (such as articles in The Leveller!) with fellow graduate students suffering from pajama-and-ketchup-chip-induced malaise. (In case our supervisors read this, we’ll add that we’re also co-authoring a peer-reviewed journal article.)

In your new location, try to attend public talks and get involved in local events. This was made easier for us when we both relocated to towns with nearby universities. It is hard to balance life in two places – you can’t give up your student status and forget your home
institution, but you need to find ways to build a new community to supplement the one you left behind.

In our experiments with PhD-ing remotely to date, the division between here and there was made most clear when our fellow Teaching Assistants (TAs) took a strike vote and gave CUPE 4600 a strong bargaining mandate. As TAs for online courses, we continue to follow the struggle for a fair contract, but we remain unable to participate in the show of hands that follows discussion and debate.

Whether you’re off campus temporarily for fieldwork or indefinitely for personal reasons, know that you are not alone. As stay-at-home grad students, we offer these suggestions to the relocated and their supporters:

– Share your off-campus predicament with your department. Encourage your department to start and maintain an active presence on social media and digital forums. Inquire about opportunities to digitally attend lectures and events via online chat platforms. Ask your friends for support. Build alliances and encourage inter-university cooperation. Student and labour unions are connected across Canada and have the potential to be an important resource for relocated students.

– Share your stories. If your friends are the ones missing from campus, let them know you’re thinking of them. Send them emails with pictures of the Ottawa snow to remind them that they made a good decision to move somewhere warmer. Catch up with them at academic conferences, invite them to contribute to the departmental blog, or cut out this article and mail it to them.

– Share your desk. If students from other institutions have moved to your town, offer to share your work space, offer them recommendations of quiet coffee shops, or invite them to grad activities. If unfamiliar faces attend talks at your university, get to know them and invite them to start a writing, walking, or reading group.

Although we miss the on-campus opportunities for free food, the challenges have also presented new opportunities to collaborate, expand our scholarship, and experiment with online pedagogy. Whether you’re off-campus, on-campus, or in a host community, we hope sharing our experiences can help you build community, learn, and grow wherever your studies (and travels) take you.

Multiculturalism Has Failed…..(?)

Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism,” the prime minister said.

Apparently the UK PM, David Cameron, thinks multiculturalism has failed…but not for some of the reasons you might think. According to the BBC, “he suggested there would be greater scrutiny of some Muslim groups which get public money but do little to tackle extremism…”

Governments have only implemented such policies in order to ensure immigrant groups stick to the parts of their culture that dominant society can “tolerate”: samosas, saris and steel bands.  Extreme elements of Islam within the UK have provided the PM with an excuse to reinforce the supposed need for cultural groups to adhere to hegemonic views of a “liberal” society.

I wonder what Stephen Harper thinks of all this….?

Good old Globe & Mail (Toronto)

I’ve always been a sucker for primary-source research, and my work in grad school has been no exception.  The past is just hilarious.  Can’t wait for “Jersey Shore” to be the only trace of contemporary civilization left to historians of the future.

For your reading pleasure, here’s a column by the prolific J. V. McAree from the Globe & Mail, 8 April 1949, p 6.

“A hearty welcome to Newfoundlanders”

Two or three years ago we wrote something about the country which was interpreted as disparaging, and we had several warm letters of protest.  We were probably wrong and hope we have been forgiven…  As we all get to know each other better we shall like each other better, unless we are unfortunate enough to find sound reasons for our dislike.  There is this to our personal credit—we have never spoken of a Newfoundlander as a Newfie, and we are on record as having protested against the use of the term by others.

“Wrong Ideas”

There are some old misconceptions, of which most of us will have to rid our minds.  One of them is that Newfoundlanders always go about with yellow oilskin coats and hats, lugging huge fish over their shoulders like the old advertisements for Scott’s Emulsion of Codliver Oil.  We shall find that Newfoundlanders are really as smartly dressed as anybody else; and that their girls are well qualified to be included in the description of Toronto girls recently published in Mayfair, in an article which roused considerable indignation, but not among the girls.  Among the young men we shall no doubt find some promising hockey players; and athletes to represent this country in the next Olympic games which will feature whaling boats.  We should not be vastly surprised if it should turn out that the Great Canadian Novel should be written by a former Newfoundlander.  Our expectation is confirmed by the thought that it is not likely to be written by anybody else.

“Home for Misfits”

Dr. Jim Campbell, an old friend of ours who spent several years in Newfoundland, tells us that the men are physically the toughest he has ever met, not because they like to be but because they have to be.  They should be a welcome addition to a nation which is suspected of becoming effete and disinclined to arduous toil.  Now that the Newfoundlanders are really part of us, we can afford to hold out to them the hope of doing the real hard work of the nation; something that might have proved an obstacle to the union had it been mentioned earlier.  As compensation the other Provinces might consider seriously the idea of setting up a kind of Devil’s Island in Newfoundland.  It is a Province of vast unoccupied spaces, and it ought to be possible to establish there a penal colony where offenders from other parts of Canada, who have found it impossible to live as law-abiding citizens, might be sent.  They would be out of harm’s way and out of everybody else’s way, and might indeed find the surroundings favorable to rehabilitation.  The climate of Newfoundland has bred a race of hardy enterprising men and a similar environment might have its effect upon the citizens who now mainly inhabit our penitentiaries.  We are certain that a few months spent with a sealing fleet would work radical changes in them.

“Our Dog Carlo”

The first Newfoundlander we ever knew was named Carlo and it was from him we learned that Newfoundland had the distinction of being one of the two islands in the world named after a dog.[…]

We trust the union will make life easier for them in some respects at least.  They have gone through hard times for generations.

– AM

North American* Code-Switching

People from Canada and the United States have a lot in common.  Some subtle differences, however, make it difficult to lead a life with one foot in each country.  The most noticeable differences may be spelling and terminology.  Setting aside the obvious, I will focus today on some special words that stand out in conversations in these two neighbo(u)ring places.  Why?  Because it’s a blog, and blogs are for typing.  Also, because I just had a really funny chat with someone where I found myself translating (or code-switching) mid-sentence.  Furthermore, this will help you blend in if you are planning any border-crossing in your near future (perhaps for holiday shopping?).

– College, university: interchangeable in the US, not so in Canada.  In Canada, college means “community college” or “trade school.”  It’s funny because I used to refer to McGill as “my college,” much to the chagrin of my Canadian friends, but now I refer to most schools as “universities,” which makes me sound pretentious when I am in the US.

– Freshman, sophomore, junior, senior (US): In Canada, for high school, you have Grade 9, 10, 11, and 12.  In university, you say “First Year,” “Second Year,” and so forth.  Canadians should know the US terminology from all of our TV, but it is pretty cute when they don’t.

– Partner, spouse, husband, wife: In Canada, since 2005, people have been able to marry other people of the same gender / sex due to legislation at the federal level.  Within academia, it seems fairly common to stick with the term “partner,” but using that term in a broader context often gets you in trouble with US border guards.  It is also handy for confusing folks.

– Defence: According to my partner, this means “to remove a fence.”

– Poutine: This is a Canadian delicacy that involves French fries, cheese curds, and gravy.

– Tacos: This is a food that cannot be replicated by Canadian restaurants promising Mexican food.  Trust me, I have looked.

– Shwarma: This Lebanese food category is over-priced, badly done, or both in the US, but widely and inexpensively available in Canada-land.  Thanks, Canada-land, for many a cheap shish taouk.

Chesterfield: Canadian for “couch” or “sofa” (depending on your region in the US).

Toque: Canadian for “hat” (preferably with ear flaps and fur).

– Premier: Canadian for “governor.”

– Governor: US English for “premier.”

– Hockey: Not the national sport of Canada.  (That would be lacrosse.)

– Beaver: Official Canadian symbol.

– Eagle: Official US symbol.

– Eagle clutching a beaver in its talons: My next tattoo.

– “Z:” Pronounced as it’s spelled in the US.  Pronounced “zed” in Canada.  They’re crazy, and sometimes a little British / French.

– Pasta and drama: Pronounced “past – uh” and “dram – uh” in Canada.  Pronounced properly in the land of the free, home of the baseball, etc.

– Celsius: This is what Canadians use to measure temperature, height, and volume.

– Fahrenheit: This is what people in the US use because we like to be different from the rest of the metric world.  Also, a base-ten scale makes things too easy.

– Litres: Canadian measurement of gas.  There are about 40 US thimbles to a litre.  Or something.

– Tim Hortons / Dunkin Donuts: Same thing, different name.  (Oh, yes, I went there.)

– Webcomics: Canadians are really good at these, in my humble opinion.  May I suggest Hark a Vagrant, Dinosaur Comics, and A Softer World?  But only if you like to procrastinate.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure in vocabulary.  Feel free to add your own contributions in the comments.

– AM

* Excluding Mexico