Conservative Senator Nicole Eaton has asked the question: should we kick Canada’s beaver emblem to the curb and replace it with the mighty polar bear?
Actually, she’s more aggressive than that in her campaign to nix the beaver, referring to the animal as a “19th century has-been” and a “dentally defective rat”. Harsh words. If I were the beaver, I would take a good look at myself in the mirror, or at least in the reflective surface created by calm water.
While there’s nothing to be done about Eaton’s cosmetic judgements, accusing the beaver of being old-fashioned is just silly. Calling the beaver a has-been is like calling trees has-beens: a natural symbol is a natural symbol. What exactly is more modern about the polar bear? According to Eaton, it’s the animal’s “strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity”. While the other traits could be argued, ascribing the third trait to the polar bear is ludicrous: everyone knows there are few animals more resourceful than the beaver.
The really foolish thing about all of this is that it appears to be a bid to make Canada look like a strong country. Bear: intimidating carnivore. Beaver: industrious little bugger. It’s obvious.
But since when has our country appealed to an image of physical strength? That image died with the voyageurs. Let’s face it: Canada is nothing if not an industrious little bugger.
Really, I couldn’t care less about what official emblem represents Canada. I just resent the grounds on which Eaton has based her argument. Beneath all the joking, her message seems to be that since the beaver is a worker and not a fighter, it is no longer ideal as a national symbol.
I have never been one to have a good poker face, and I don’t see why my country should have one. Perhaps Eaton is right, and it’s time to reconsider our national emblem; but let’s not do so just because we want to look tough on the world stage.
After all, we have so much inner beauty.