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Canada’s National Nature Symbols

July 23, 2010

I succumbed again. An internet poll solicited opinions on what Canada’s national plant should be: The Dandelion (!), The Fiddlehead, The Stinging Nettle (!!), The Sugar Maple, The Trembling Aspen, or The Wild Rose. Hmmm.

It’s hard to resist these internet polls and surveys. They’re so quick and easy.

I have no illusions about their significance. They prove nothing, and some of them are thunderously inane. Should Lady Gaga change back to being a blonde? The option I would choose (she is as ugly as a capering mule and should disappear from public consciousness immediately and forever) is not provided. I vote anyway.

The national plant poll was tricky and subtly subversive. Option 4, not option 1, was The Sugar Maple. How could any self-respecting Canuck not vote for it? The maple leaf is our actual national symbol. It’s on our flag. It’s part of our national anthem (The Maple Leaf Forever).

If, say, The Dandelion won, would some ambitious politician lobby to have our flag and anthem changed? The Dandelion Forever just doesn’t have the same kind of ring to it. Plus it’s redundant. The dandelions in my yard will never die! Would we then have to re-vote and choose between the brushy, yellow version and the puffy, white one?

I was tempted to vote for The Stinging Nettle, just to be nettlesome. I also considered The Fiddlehead (a curled-up baby ostrich fern) because it’s so cute and silly.

In the end I voted with my taste buds. I love maple syrup too much to vote for anything else.

A follow-up poll on Canada’s national animal also included a patriotism test. It asked poll-suckers (pollees?) to choose between The Beaver (Canada’s current national symbol), The BC Spot Prawn (honest!), The Black Fly, The Canada Goose, The Woodland Caribou. The Polar Bear, and The Prairie Dog.

Those choices just emphasized the inanity of this entire polling enterprise. They made me too aware of the omitted animals. Why the BC Spot Prawn and not the MB Goldeye? Why the Black Fly and not the Mosquito? Why the Canada Goose and not the Common Loon (it’s on our dollar coin)? Why the Caribou and not the Moose or the Elk? The Polar Bear instead of the Grizzly, eh? Why the Prairie Dog and not the Gopher or the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel? (Wow! We’ve got a lot of distinctive animals!)

Wait a minute. The Prairie Dog is a Gopher. It’s also called a Richardson’s Ground Squirrel. As a prairie guy, I had no other option; I had to vote for it.

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