I am not personally going to affirm or negate the level of politeness, or lack thereof of Canadians. Instead, I will leave it to the reader’s own personal past experience and point of view, after bringing to the reader’s attention something that I have noticed for a quite a while already. I have always wanted to believe, and try to convince myself, that we Canadians are above and beyond the average level of good education, ethics, and manners compared to all other countries. But it appears that I have been covering my eyes with a distorted and shady veil, which has just invited me to be biased in my perception and far from reality. Of course, I will be referring only to the average Canadian person.
It makes me laugh when some people in the United States say that Canadians are very nice and polite. But they never state compared to whom or what. Is it compared to themselves or to other European, South East Asian, Latin American, Middle-Eastern, African, or Australians? So I find it strange and also extremely biased and inaccurate to brand a nation (for good or bad) without a proper point of comparison. If it is compared to the United States, I fully agree with them, but if it is compared to other Latin American or European countries, it is absolutely a fallacy. Regardless of the fact that I personally like the American people, it is unfortunate that people from the United States are not well seen in many other countries because of their lack of politeness. When they visit other countries, the average American tends to act cocky, loud, rude, and with an omnipotent attitude. But nowadays, it is my personal experience after sharing my concerns with lots of people, that Canadians are definitely not far behind, and in fact, they are emulating Americans and catching up quicker than we want to believe. It definitely seems that Canadians have lost the lustre they used to have internationally regarding politeness and proper manners. But worst of all, many Canadians do not even want to realize it is happening, or even negate the fact when told otherwise their sad reality.
Let me give you just a few examples starting with what motivated me to write this blog: (written Without Prejudice)
- Just recently, Brittney Schneider, a 23-year-old Canadian woman from Grand Prairie, Alberta, was apprehended in Thailand for vandalism. She sprayed paint (graffiti style) on an ancient wall while apparently; she had too much to drink. Yes, I know that inebriated people act stupidly, but that does not justify her actions, “if she was drunk as she says she was.” When you drink and drive and kill somebody, you are guilty as sin and should definitely visit the jail. No excuse should be accepted. Isn’t this a similar act of drinking and vandalizing private or public property with graffiti?
Honestly, as a proud Canadian, I felt embarrassed when I saw Brittney in a public video made by the government of Thailand. To the eyes and culture of that country, she is a tourist in flip-flops, dressed like a sloppy teenager, overweight, full of aesthetically unpleasing tattoos, short masculine style haircut, wearing a baseball cap rap style, and an extremely wrong attitude of insolence, disrespect, and a mistaken sense of superiority. The above is not meant as a criticism. She is who she is, she has the right to be who she wants to be, and nobody can change that, except herself. Unfortunately, to many people she might appear to already portray a special type of disrespectful personality, which is certainly far from being good or accepted by the people in Thailand and perhaps by a lot of Canadians. This goes completely contrary to our perceived image of “nice and civilized people.” But how can she develop respect for others, their values, their culture, and their belongings? She certainly proved her attitude by getting drunk (assuming that was “true”) while perpetrating uncivilized and aggressive actions against that nation’s cultural background and deep historical values.
For more details about her own behaviour and portrayal and for the reader to make his or her own conclusion, start with the following link:
I feel for Britney because, at that age, almost everybody does or has done something stupid. Hers was plain vandalism that goes against the laws of almost any country (at least in Canada and Thailand). I personally believe that the punishment originally proposed by Thailand’s authorities does not match the crime. Yes, she should be heavily fined, never allowed to enter their country again, and booted to Canada as quickly as yesterday, but 10 years prison … come on, that is less civilized and unwarranted, abusive and definitely worse compared to what she did. Hope she comes back home soon, learns her lesson, and grows up to a mature, responsible, and respectful person.
The fact of many Canadians not paying attention to cultural values with an open immigration policy does not mean the same unfounded philosophy applies in other countries. Other countries are very selective to whom they let in because they want to preserve their identity and values, which are unique to each country, except Canada, Australia, England, and a few others. Those values, identity and behaviours practised in other countries, require to be 100% respected, because you are their guest for a period of time, and it is simply the civilized and educated thing to do. If you do not, then you fall into the category of insensitive, ignorant, abusive, disrespectful, or in my own dictionary, as dumb as a sack of hammers.
Other quick examples are:
- Three Canadian women, Isabelle Lagace, Melina Roberge and Andre Tamine were arrested in Australia for smuggling drugs while in a cruise ship. The three of them are old enough to know better, especially in another country.
- David James Raoch, a Canadian citizen, was apprehended for trying to rob a bank in 2016 in Singapore. He fled with $29,000 to Bangkok where he was followed and arrested.
- Jason Moore, from the Canadian Armed Forces, was arrested in the United Kingdom for going against the “ethical attitude and values” of Canadians.
- Homa Hoodfar, a Canadian-Iranian woman, was arrested for “dabbling in feminism” and security matters. The Iranian authorities apprehended her for promoting acts contrary to the country’s ethical beliefs, traditions, identity and values.
- In June of 2015, two Canadians were found guilty of being nude in a sacred mountain in Malaysia. They were jailed and fined, before letting them go back home.
- Every year various Canadians are arrested in all-inclusive Mexican resorts for getting drunk and acting dumb and aggressively. Some get arrested for doing and trafficking drugs.
Some individuals never seem to learn or fully understand the real difference between bad and good. In fact, many could care less about the difference and others might even suffer from a dual personality.
Source: freepresscashmir.com Source: mayooshin.com Source: befont.com
Now, let me stop providing more examples because I could be here for quite a while, which would be boring and futile for the ultimate purpose of this blog, especially if I limit myself to focusing in only one aspect of our “alleged lack of Canadian education, manners and politeness.” This goes way beyond of what I have just written previously. But Oh! How dare I say that we, as Canadians, lack more education and overall politeness so openly and strongly?
Let us be honest with ourselves. Why? Because our national level of education and politeness has been slowly sliding downhill. We are certainly not as nice and educated as some foreigners make us believe and, most importantly, as our own politicians have portrayed us and want us to believe. That was in the past, but the present has changed and it is definitely getting worse. It goes contrary to the alleged image even PM Trudeau is working very hard to depict. We are also being fed so many distorted messages, that even Gar Pardy (former Canadian Consular Affairs Director-General) publicly stated in CTV News that Brittney’s graffiti is not a crime. To my understanding, he implies it is not vandalism either. So what in the world is it Mr Pardy? It is clearly vandalism and therefore, a crime.
On average the younger generation lacks proper education, manners and respect. Putting it simply, they tend to lack the essential degree of politeness. They all talk with the “F” word. In fact, in simple and short sentences they use it several times as a verb, an adverb or any other combination you can imagine. They tend to disrespect their own parents, the elderly, their professors, their trainers, their friends, and ultimately, themselves. They presume that ending a relationship with a simple text is the right thing to do when in reality it is rude, ignorant, and cowardly. They believe they know everything and that older people are slow, ignorant, and out of touch with reality. They feel empowered, with little patience, and they give up easily in difficult situations. They do not believe in hard work, in savings, and in waiting for things to happen when the time is right. They want things immediately; they believe they deserve everything, and that they are unique and special because that is how their parents brought them up to believe. Their parents and even their professors failed to place them in reality, and with a weak educational system that is still declining, they have a hard time to express themselves efficiently either verbally or in writing. Since I arrived to Canada in 1987, I truly believe that courtesy and consideration to others are in its lowest levels in Canadian history, sex and drugs are rampant. In my professional view, the overall lack of trust in a better future economically and environmentally is turning out to be very dangerous as the years go by. In fact, it can easily be demonstrated statistically with facts and reliable sources of information. It is a proven fact that when politeness, trust, and good faith escape through the front door, self-responsibility, security, and freedom exit through the back window. This ultimately will end up haunting a country slowly but surely.
Another aspect I want to bring to the table is the ease with which Canadians give anybody the finger when they feel displeased with something. It is turning to be in our society, a Canadian tradition. Yes, anybody gives you the finger for whatever slight excuse in a low class, rude, and confrontational manner. It is especially common and acute while driving. Now please stop and think for 10 seconds what “the finger” really means. To many, it simply means “Fuck You.” Is that a nice peaceful expression that denotes Canadian civility, harmony and makes us “nice and polite?”
Source: 123rf.com Source: istockphoto.com Source: istockphoto.com
Anyways, I rest my case, because I can go on forever. I just want to take the veil off from some people’s eyes that we are not nice, educated, and polite, as we want to portray ourselves nationally and internationally. We are simply less rude and rowdy than people from the United States but certainly worse than Mexicans, Finnish, Japanese, Koreans, and many other nationalities, for example.
Recently Alec Baldwin was accused of a public scene where he said…. “You are a rude, thoughtless little pig. I don’t give a damn that you’re 12 years old, or 11 years old or that you’re a child.” (from TMZ.com). Unfortunately, Baldwin used a word that is a bit tough to hear (though to many, not necessarily wrong), which is “pig”. He could have said instead … little brat, or little punk, or little rascal, but he could have also been tougher and could have said: a little piece of shit or little “F”. But luckily, he either controlled himself or it did not occur to him at that moment. Regardless and without justifying him, I can completely understand him losing his patience, because kids nowadays challenge anybody with aggressive and abusive attitudes and actions (or lack thereof). Literally, many would like to strangle the little brats, but I am glad they can’t … LOL. The final point is that children are very disrespectful because of the way they are being brought up, overvalued and without any real repercussions.
- Do you think Canadians are more polite than Latin Americans and Europeans?
- Do you feel there is room to grow in manners and politeness within our Canadian culture? What would be the best approach to succeed?