and entering

Child Learns Canada Isn't Real

O Canada, our purely fictive land...

On Thursday, at approximately 3:45 pm, Steve Windgate, age 9, returned home from school with a bloody nose and clothes covered in dirt. Mrs. Windgate, a Women and Gender Studies professor at nearby Galbraith College, immediately rushed to her son to find out what had happened.

            “I got in a fight with some kids at school.”

            Mr. Windgate, ponytail possessor and proprietor of local organic food store ‘Native Sigh’, demanded an explanation for the boy’s behavior.

            “It wasn’t my fault! John said his dad said that socialized medicine doesn’t work, and I said yeah, it already works in Canada, and he said I was stupid and that Canada doesn’t exist!”

            The Windgates reportedly looked at each other wistfully before sitting their son down on their vegan leather couch to explain the truth about Canada.

            “Son,” said Mr. Windgate, “your mother and I have been talking, and well, we think you’re about old enough to know that Canada isn’t an actual place.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “You see, son, sometimes parents tell their kids little stories which aren’t entirely true, but which are fun for them to believe in for a while. Canada is like that. Believers in the liberal tradition like to tell their kids the story of a magical, snow-covered land in the north, where the the maple syrup flows freely and the people appreciate liberal values. Sooner or later, though, every child has to learn that the country doesn’t actually exist.”

            Steven allegedly remained doubtful. “But how come it’s printed on all our maps at school?”

            “The textbook companies agree to do that, honey, so that children don’t find out until they’re ready. North Dakota is actually much larger than it appears,” explained Mrs. Windgate.

            “But what about all the people who say they’re from Canada?”

            “Those are actors and volunteers who work around the world to make Canada seem more real. They go to a special school to learn the accent and become what we call ‘Canada’s helpers.’ For instance, there are about five Justin Biebers touring the U.S. at any one time.”

            Steven paused. “So, there’s no Quebec?”

            “No, son.”

            “And no Mounties? No Alex Trebec? No poutine?”

            “I’m afraid not.”

            Seeing that his son appeared glum, Mr. Windgate held him close to offer some encouragement.

            “Listen, son. The magic of Canada isn’t in Ottawa, or Saskatchewan, or Toronto,” said Mr. Windgate. He then pointed to Steven’s heart. “It’s in here.”

© 2012