Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bye bye to Bucky?

It's time for a new national symbol. Despite his historic role in the fur-trade that kick-started Canada, the national rodent is lugging too much baggage into the 21st century.

A disliked, unwelcome, guest everywhere he goes, he is far from a noble beast. Even on the nickel, he crouches low, hoping not to be noticed. He is thoroughly out of sync with the trend to urbanization, thoughtlessly building his dams in locations that greatly inconvenience the higher orders.

All in all, an anachronism that fails to symbolize the hopes and dreams of Canada in the digital age, and a PR nightmare.

So, what might be a more suitable replacement?

The Canada Goose has an even worse public image, being essentially a flying cow that brings down airliners, while fouling beaches, parks, golf courses and other public spaces.

The Polar Bear is magnificent, even regal, and very photogenic, but is largely seen now as a candidate for extinction, a victim of climate change. For the long haul, a poor choice.

The Wolf is a strong candidate. Living in a pack, he symbolizes the Canadian belief in community and the primacy of the collective. Unfortunately, Goldilocks put paid to his chances for fame and fortune.

Others --- Prairie Dogs, Groundhogs, Porcupines, Raccoons and the like --- all have deficiencies that make them unsuitable for national symbolhood.

The Lemming initially looked promising. Resourceful, cute, likes winter, completely vegetarian. But it turned out to be lunch for just about everything that flies or walks.

At the end of the day, I think I'd pick the Moose. Like many things in Canada, he looks like he was designed by a committee. All the parts do work together, and he can move fast when necessary, but it all seems a bit ungainly. Looking like that, you know he must have a great sense of humour, and would be unlikely to take himself too seriously. Those are definitely Canuck traits. He's a big guy, up to 10 feet long and 1600 pounds, and he needs a bit of space.

He won't go looking for a fight, but is a tough critter when provoked. A charging moose is something to be reckoned with, and in a highway collision, he can take out a Hummer.

The moose. It just feels right. Happy Canada Day.

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