Canada!?

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Re: Canada!?

Post by Enail on Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:42 pm

Crap, I didn't mean that I was qualified to make that guide! Uh-oh

Umm...I'll give it a go and other Canadians (and non-Canadians who know more about Canada than I do, which doesn't take a lot) can correct me?

Enail's Probably Shockingly Inaccurate Guide to Le Canada


Part I: Regions


Atlantic Canada/East Coast - New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador (Newfoundland & Labrador is one province, not two). Physically small, fairly low population and a weaker economy that depends heavily on resources, especially fishing, and thus often talked about as "have nots," but they're known for distinctive cultures and are becoming pretty strong in tourism. Tend to be fiscally left but socially conservative (for Canada, which is not the same as socially conservative in the US), making them pretty variable in how they vote (I think?)

The Maritimes - Technically only New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI, but outside Atlantic Canada people tend to use it to mean Newfoundland&Labrador as well.

Eastern Canada - The Atlantic provinces + Quebec and Ontario. Not used as much in Quebec and Ontario, who think of anything with the word "East" as meaning East of them.

Central Canada - What Quebec and Ontario call themselves. The biggest in terms of population and thus political power, with both big urban and rural areas, a mix of demographics, and a wide range of industries. Everyone else resents them (EDIT: Wait, apparently it's mostly just Toronto and all of Quebec, the rest of Ontario's ok unless you count general politician-hating at Ottawa. Thanks, Bomaye, for the fact check!)  Quebec is always interesting politically due to their concerns with protecting their distinct culture and occasional major pushes for separation from the rest of Canada; they also often approach issues around immigration, race and religion quite differently.

French Canada - Usually people just mean Quebec, but occasionally also refers to New Brunswick, which has a significant French population, or even includes Francophone or Métis populations in other provinces.

Prairies - Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but people are mostly thinking of Alberta when they say it. Primarily agricultural and energy-based economy, which has made them carry a fair bit of weight politically. The heart of the Conservative and other right-wing support, but also have surprising amount of left-wing in the mix (the NDP, the leftest of the 3 main parties, and public healthcare, originated from the Prairies, and Alberta has an NDP provincial government right now for the first time in half a century).

Western Canada/The West - Prairies + BC, but often just used to mean Prairies.

West Coast - BC gets this one all to itself! (though technically I think the Yukon has a teeny bit of Western coastline too) Heavy on resources, nature tourism and Asia-Pacific trade. Has a mix of that typical West-Coast leftiness/environmentalism, particularly some strong Aboriginal environmental movements, union-style fiscal left, and energy-oriented business and worker interests.

The North - The Yukon, North-West Territories and Nunavut. Basically never talked about in politics. Sparse population, a slight majority of which is Inuit and other Aboriginal people. Economy based on resources, and for obvious reasons, they're pretty central to questions of Arctic sovereignty, which is a bit of an up-and-coming issue but not one anyone would campaign on.


Last edited by Enail on Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Canada!?

Post by bomaye on Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:03 pm

Enail wrote:Wow, a majority, how long has it been since we got one of those?

Besides the one we just toppled? Uh-oh

It would've been 2004ish since the last Liberal Majority, though.

Enail wrote:
(fact check: do y'all resent all of Ontario, or just Toronto?)

Mostly Toronto. Probably Ottawa a lot of the time too, but that would be true for anywhere the political elite ply their trade


Also, kind of an afterthought, but I'm pretty impressed by how much loyalty Green supporters have, that they'll elect May solidly even in a year when most of the other left-leaners are voting strategically.

Their future is firmly in Justin Trudeau's promises right now
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Re: Canada!?

Post by Wondering on Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:14 am

Do y'all call the province Newfoundland & Labrador every time you refer to it? Or is it most commonly just Newfoundland?

(Partly curious since it's the only province I haven't been to.)

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Re: Canada!?

Post by WJMorris3 on Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:18 am

Wondering wrote:Do y'all call the province Newfoundland & Labrador every time you refer to it? Or is it most commonly just Newfoundland?

(Partly curious since it's the only province I haven't been to.)
Memory serves, it only became Newfoundland and Labrador in the last decade or so. I do want to go there sometime, I've heard Saint John is quite spectacular.

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Re: Canada!?

Post by bomaye on Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:08 am

I grew up knowing it as Newfoundland, but they're separate places so you'll be in one or the other either way
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Re: Canada!?

Post by Wondering on Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:18 am

Well, when I go, I'm going to Newfoundland because that's where the capital is. By ferry. From Nova Scotia. (Yes, I do indeed already have the whole thing planned out.)

I'm guessing I won't offend anyone there if I just call the province Newfoundland? What if I make jokes about curling? Grin

I did not know that the Maritimes were considered the Have-Nots. I've only been there once as a tourist, so it wasn't something that stood out to me. Mostly, they just looked like a lot of fishing towns. But I see how if your province doesn't have a large economic center other than fishing towns, there's not a lot to bolster the economy. I did spend my American tourist dollars there, though!

And New Brunswick is the only province I've been in that has bilingual road signs. I assumed Quebec would, as well, since I was taught that Canada is bilingual. But nope! French only in Quebec. I'm glad we'd driven through NB first so we knew what a "sortie" is. Also, I'll tell you what, Quebec is the only place outside the US I've been where I wanted to announce loud and proud everywhere I went that I was American. Because they didn't expect Americans to speak French, but damn, if they thought you were from somewhere in the rest of Canada and didn't speak French....

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Re: Canada!?

Post by bomaye on Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:29 am

I've heard that if you're outside Montreal, they do not take kindly to anglo-Canadians trying to speak at them in the wrong language Uh-oh
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Re: Canada!?

Post by Wondering on Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:47 am

Yeah, we were in Quebec City and Ste. Anne de Beaupre. And then Sherbrooke. And my experience watching Quebecois interacting with Anglo-Canadians (or me before they knew I was American) supports what you've heard.

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Re: Canada!?

Post by Werel on Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:50 am

Now I kind of want to roll up in Quebec like "salut mes gars, je suis americaine et même francophone" just to ruin it for other Americans. Laughing
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Re: Canada!?

Post by litterature on Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:39 am

Wondering wrote:And New Brunswick is the only province I've been in that has bilingual road signs. I assumed Quebec would, as well, since I was taught that Canada is bilingual. But nope! French only in Quebec. I'm glad we'd driven through NB first so we knew what a "sortie" is. Also, I'll tell you what, Quebec is the only place outside the US I've been where I wanted to announce loud and proud everywhere I went that I was American. Because they didn't expect Americans to speak French, but damn, if they thought you were from somewhere in the rest of Canada and didn't speak French....

I don't know about Quebec, but to my knowledge no nation is bilingual by choice, and usually the most staunch proponents of bilingualism are monolingual in the dominant language either because they can't be arsed to learn the other language or because they refuse to use it in practice (or because they come from monolingual areas and like to comment about political situations that don't really have much to do with them). From afar, though, Canada seems more civilised than other places such as France, Italy or Spain when it comes to language policy (as in the survival of the French language in Quebec seems to be guaranteed unlike what happens in France and Italy and doesn't seem to depend on a perpetual power struggle unlike what happens in Spain.)

Again I don't know about Quebec, but there are often very strong political undertones to bilingual situations, so someone saying "hey I'm from X why don't you talk to me in X?" might be sorta hitting the wrong buttons unintentionally (or not, because sadly it's something that happens and I can provide examples if you want). Definitely applies to the places I know, but for Quebec I guess it's better to ask someone who's actually been there of course...

(i hope i don't come across as confrontational!)

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Re: Canada!?

Post by Wondering on Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:49 am

Not sure what's confrontational.

Are you saying that I said "Hey, I'm from the US, why don't you talk to me in English?" Because I never did. My comment about being loud and proud was figurative. My experiences in Quebec (which includes the one I mentioned, plus a separate time in Montreal), taught me a couple things. First, hospitality folks -- like hotel front desks or tourist info locations -- will greet you with "bonjour" and if you say that back, they'll speak to you in French, but if you say "hello" back, they'll speak to you in English. These folks know you're from the US because they either ask (often for your postal code!) or already have your address. Two, when you pay for things with a credit card that has a bald eagle and vaguely stars-and-stripey design on it, cashiers who were glaring at you as you spoke English suddenly stop glaring. Three, sometimes people who seemed uncomfortable asked where I was from and noticeably relaxed when I said Well-Known-US-City.

None of this has ever been the reaction I've faced abroad in any other place when it becomes known I'm American, even other provinces in Canada.

Also, as I always do when I'm in a foreign (to me) language place, I feel like a giant jerk when I can't speak the language. I was not expecting to be that jerk in Quebec my first time there. I expected most people to speak both English and French. My understanding was flawed. I was prepared the second time, but as bomaye indicated, I did find that people in Montreal were much less troubled by English. In fact, I don't think I encountered anyone who didn't speak English in the short time we were in Montreal.

Not sure what other people's experiences in Quebec have been like or if they match up with mine.

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Re: Canada!?

Post by bomaye on Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:32 am

From a BC point of view, French is so unnecessary to our everyday lives that you really have to commit to learning the language to remember more than a few words or phrases by the end of school. I took French from Grade 4 to I think Grade 11, maybe 12 (I forget how mandatory it was), I probably remember more Grade 4 than later Grade French. That's not even counting the kids who struggled in academic situations who switched to Spanish in high school because it started them way back at the basics. No one speaks it out here, and there's even been jokes before that it'd be more advantageous to try to teach BC kids Mandarin Chinese or Punjabi.
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Re: Canada!?

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:54 am

Yeah, I'd say most people just call it Newfoundland unless you're actually going to Labrador.

Man, this could be its own "Ask a Canadian" thread Laughing

EDIT: Holy shit, there's another page of this I didn't see. It does need its own thread!! Shocked

Re: French, I've been in Montreal and other places with French varying from "fluent but not a Quebecois accent" (supposedly the local French Immersion accent sounds Belgian) to "kind of rusty but can get by," and with people whose French is pretty much just "Bonjour!"sI find in Montreal, most people will switch pretty agreeably to English if you switch or seem to be having trouble, but even there, some peoples' English is not great. Outside of Montreal, they'll probably just stick to French even if yours isn't that great.  I've found people are pretty decent about rest-of-Canada-ers' French or lack thereof, as long as they give it even a token effort. (ETA: They give you a harder time in France than in Quebec, IME)


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Canada!?

Post by litterature on Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:05 pm

Wondering wrote:Not sure what's confrontational.

Are you saying that I said "Hey, I'm from the US, why don't you talk to me in English?" Because I never did. My comment about being loud and proud was figurative. My experiences in Quebec (which includes the one I mentioned, plus a separate time in Montreal), taught me a couple things. First, hospitality folks -- like hotel front desks or tourist info locations -- will greet you with "bonjour" and if you say that back, they'll speak to you in French, but if you say "hello" back, they'll speak to you in English. These folks know you're from the US because they either ask (often for your postal code!) or already have your address. Two, when you pay for things with a credit card that has a bald eagle and vaguely stars-and-stripey design on it, cashiers who were glaring at you as you spoke English suddenly stop glaring. Three, sometimes people who seemed uncomfortable asked where I was from and noticeably relaxed when I said Well-Known-US-City.

None of this has ever been the reaction I've faced abroad in any other place when it becomes known I'm American, even other provinces in Canada.

Also, as I always do when I'm in a foreign (to me) language place, I feel like a giant jerk when I can't speak the language. I was not expecting to be that jerk  in Quebec my first time there. I expected most people to speak both English and French. My understanding was flawed. I was prepared the second time, but as bomaye indicated, I did find that people in Montreal were much less troubled by English. In fact, I don't think I encountered anyone who didn't speak English in the short time we were in Montreal.  

Not sure what other people's experiences in Quebec have been like or if they match up with mine.

That's great! I'm sorry, I come from a place where languages are a supercontentious issue so maybe I was bringing unrelated stuff here. I'm sorry! Embarassed

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Re: Canada!?

Post by Wondering on Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:31 pm

Enail wrote:Yeah, I'd say most people just call it Newfoundland unless you're actually going to Labrador.
Okay, cool.

Enail wrote:Man, this could be its own "Ask a Canadian" thread Laughing
But I asked you guys how to make poutine and you didn't know. What am I to do! Wink

Enail wrote:Re: French, I've been in Montreal and other places with French varying from "fluent but not a Quebecois accent" (supposedly the local French Immersion accent sounds Belgian) to "kind of rusty but can get by," and with people whose French is pretty much just "Bonjour!"s. I find in Montreal, most people will switch pretty agreeably to English if you switch or seem to be having trouble, but even there, some peoples' English is not great. Outside of Montreal, they'll probably just stick to French even if yours isn't that great.  I've found people are pretty decent about rest-of-Canada-ers' French or lack thereof, as long as they give it even a token effort. (ETA: They give you a harder time in France than in Quebec, IME)

Gotcha. See, at my first ever stop in Quebec, I witnessed a rather hostile (for Canada! you're all so polite!) exchange between an English-speaking family from British Columbia (they had BC plates on their car) and the French-speaking staff/owners at a gas station in a tiny community on the highway between NB and Quebec City. And from what I got on the English side of the conversation, quite a bit of it had to do with the language issue. The BC family seemed to have rolled in there the way Americans so frequently do abroad, expecting everyone to accommodate them. It didn't go over well. And after they left, there was much grumbling from the staff and regulars in tones of voice I recognized as mocking/insulting with a few words I recognized thrown in. So that was when I decided to use my very American-designed credit card to pay for our gas. Because I assumed there wouldn't be an expectation Americans would speak French. And they were so much friendlier to us after they saw my card than they had been before! When we got back in the car, I (with my high school German) and my friend (with her Spanish) discussed whether we were really prepared for a place where we couldn't speak with people. We did okay. Mostly because we were tourists and were sticking to larger locales and hospitality venues. We muddled through with our French-speaking waiter and had a comedy of errors with the French-speaking maid at our hotel. Neither of us had any French language education at all, so we couldn't even try. I basically know please, thank-you (which is important), hello, and good bye. Sad

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Re: Canada!?

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:11 pm

Wondering wrote:
Enail wrote:Man, this could be its own "Ask a Canadian" thread Laughing
But I asked you guys how to make poutine and you didn't know. What am I to do! Wink

PANIC!!!  Run in circles flail

Wondering wrote:
Gotcha. See, at my first ever stop in Quebec, I witnessed a rather hostile (for Canada! you're all so polite!) exchange between an English-speaking family from British Columbia (they had BC plates on their car) and the French-speaking staff/owners at a gas station in a tiny community on the highway between NB and Quebec City. And from what I got on the English side of the conversation, quite a bit of it had to do with the language issue. The BC family seemed to have rolled in there the way Americans so frequently do abroad, expecting everyone to accommodate them. It didn't go over well. And after they left, there was much grumbling from the staff and regulars in tones of voice I recognized as mocking/insulting with a few words I recognized thrown in. So that was when I decided to use my very American-designed credit card to pay for our gas. Because I assumed there wouldn't be an expectation Americans would speak French. And they were so much friendlier to us after they saw my card than they had been before! When we got back in the car, I (with my high school German) and my friend (with her Spanish) discussed whether we were really prepared for a place where we couldn't speak with people. We did okay. Mostly because we were tourists and were sticking to larger locales and hospitality venues. We muddled through with our French-speaking waiter and had a comedy of errors with the French-speaking maid at our hotel. Neither of us had any French language education at all, so we couldn't even try. I basically know please, thank-you (which is important), hello, and good bye. Sad

I haven't tested it out in Quebec, but in general, I've found people tend to react very differently to someone who is apologetic about not speaking the local language and tries to at least say thank-you in it, than to someone who just assumes they should be catered to in their own language, so maybe that's why? Though it could also be dependent on the region, or just that I've been lucky and mostly run into people that are more tolerant of Canadians who don't speak great French.
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Re: Canada!?

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:24 pm

Werel wrote:Now I kind of want to roll up in Quebec like "salut mes gars, je suis americaine et même francophone" just to ruin it for other Americans. Laughing

Oh, Werel, you're francophone? Are you from somewhere French-speaking or do you have a Francophone parent?
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Re: Canada!?

Post by Werel on Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:57 pm

Errrr, I wouldn't call myself properly francophone in the way Canadians mean it. Embarassed I just started French when I was a toddler, work in a Francophone part of the world, and am reasonably comfortable in it. (French Canadians and French folks tell me I talk like an African. I don't think they mean it as a compliment, but I'll take it!)
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Re: Canada!?

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:02 pm

Ah, cool! I suspect people who've said I talked like a Belgian don't mean it as a compliment, either, but I definitely took it as one too. Grin
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Re: Canada!?

Post by reboot on Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:22 pm

Werel wrote:Errrr, I wouldn't call myself properly francophone in the way Canadians mean it. Embarassed I just started French when I was a toddler, work in a Francophone part of the world, and am reasonably comfortable in it. (French Canadians and French folks tell me I talk like an African. I don't think they mean it as a compliment, but I'll take it!)

Join the "talks like an African" French speakers club. I never learned French in school, just picked up dribs and drabs at work. Hell, I cannot even write!
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Re: Canada!?

Post by Wondering on Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:38 pm

So, this is a half-serious, half-lighthearted question. Smile

Is there a worse offense of manners in Canada than cutting (butting?) in line?

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Re: Canada!?

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:56 pm

Um...there are things like shoving people or making rude gestures at someone's grandmother or picking your nose and wiping it on the tablecloth? Razz In terms of things people might actually do and not be universally shunned, cutting in line's not "the entire line falls silent in shock" rude but it's pretty rude, or at least I can't offhand think of anything in that general class that's ruder.

...Is that not particularly rude in the US?
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Re: Canada!?

Post by eselle28 on Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:02 pm

It's very rude in the US, but my comparisons of North Dakotans to Saskatchewanians suggest it might be a little ruder in Canada than the US. There are definitely other places where I've seen people both more and less inclined to cut in line, so I think cutting is to some extent a social thing.
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Re: Canada!?

Post by bomaye on Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:45 pm

Wondering wrote:
Is there a worse offense of manners in Canada than cutting (butting?) in line?

Being a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs Uh-oh
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Re: Canada!?

Post by Wondering on Thu Oct 22, 2015 12:19 am

It's rude in the US, yes. But I've been witness to three separate incidents of Canadian line-cutting being specifically addressed. One involved the public humiliation of a twice-cutting offender at a Tim Hortons.

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