In which Dr_P belittles Atlantic Canada

I moved from Ontario to Atlantic Canada to work several months ago. Atlantic Canadians have a good reputation in the rest of Canada as being laid-back, sincere, hospitable and having a good sense of humour. They also have the reputation of being more religious than the rest of the country, being a little more insular (much like people from Maine) and being extremely cliqueish.

I find, to my regret, Maritimers to be confusing and somewhat backward.

Within ten seconds of starting a conversation, a Maritimer will ask you where you are from, meaning, of course, “What part of the maritimes are you from?”. If you answer “Ontario”, you can actually see their brain cease to function in the same way you can see the brain of a bigot stop working in that pause before “he” tells you “Oh, but some of my best friends are…” One might think that they are just a little awe-struck by someone from the more cultured parts of Canada actually paying a visit to their overrated hunk of greenery. But in fact, this nugget of information just lightly stuns them and gives you enough time to whack them with a rolled-up newspaper. I daresay if I said “Alaska” they would explode from the excitement.

The Maritimes gives new meaning to “two degrees of freedom”. Everyone knows everyones business here, and as well they should. People who have the misfortune to have moved here at the age of three and have lived in Plaster Plate for only forty years are commonly referred to as being “from Away”. Indeed, the main newspaper here refers to all events that occur outside the cozy confines of this small province to be “from Away”; uses this as the title of the section, as though it took more than six hours to drive to Montreal. Most people have lived in the same spot all their lives. The big craze in my town is samosas. In Ontario, the Indian population is large and respected, and cheap samosas are available at every corner. In the maritimes, people are in awe of such a cosmopolitan food and line up for forty-five minutes at the market to sample such a rare delicacy.

Atlantic Canadians are laid back about work. The hospital secretary takes three hour lunches and has a much more relaxed attitude to work than would be acceptable further west. Although a few people here work extremely hard, most don’t and have little interest in anything that would place work ahead of family. Such an attitude makes sense but can be taken too far. This attitude does make the region poorer than other more ambitious areas of Canada. Although Canadians subsidize these provinces immensely, the people fail to make the connection between doing less and having less and unfairly resent provinces which genuinely work harder for what they have.

Atlantic Canadians have a wonderful sense of humour. But not about politics; bureaucracies here are more corrupt and much less efficient than in other provinces. Most of the jobs in my town are civil service; surprisingly often, the candidate had the job created for them and got it through connections rather than merit. And religion is not a matter one can laugh at here. One cannot belittle maritime traditions, such as eating bizarre cinnamon-chocolates shaped and named after chicken bones; or getting screwed by the wealthy industrialists who own everything worth owning out here; or wonder why when travelling down the main friggin’ two-lane street you need to change lanes every three seconds since the lane for people not turning changes from the left to the right side of the road for no reason whatsoever. Never bring up the fact that so many families share the same few last names and have an eerie similarity about the way they all look. Never bring up Greene Island where everybody seems to have that surname.

Coming from Ontario, it is a relief to be among people as laid-back and sincere as Maritimers are. But the fact is that Canadians on the whole are fairly friendly and hospitable. Maritimers would be genuinely shocked if you failed to confirm their prejudices that this applies more to them than other Canadians. In fact, the reverse is true and the hospitality of Atlantic Canadians is limited to those who share their religion and background. The Maritimes is a tough place to move, and if this does not change than the problems faced by Atlantic Canadians are unlikely to improve.

On the contrary, Atlantic Canadians are very interested in work. They’re very interested in people in the rest of Canada working so they they can sit on their asses and spend the UI we send them.

A number of years back I taught an introductory trades course in the Army (the first course you take after basic training, which covers the basics or your assigned job) which, as timing would have it, was comprised of 20 reservists, all from the Atlantic provinces. One day they were being particularly irritating when finally I asked in frustration, “look, why are you people here, anyway.” Nobody answered the angry corporal, so I decided to make it an honest question; “No, really, why are you here? Someone tell me.”

Replied Private Smith (name changed to protect the innocent,) “I needed eight more weeks of employment to get my UI.”

Private Brown; “Yeah, I need 15 weeks so I’m going on a b-class assignment after this.”

EVERY STUDENT IN THE CLASS joined the Army just to qualify for unemployment insurance. Every one except one kid who had gone onto TAGS (welfare for fishermen) when he was 18, straight out of high school, and after 24 consecutive months of not working and collecting TAGS and UI had decided he wanted to do something that summer, and planned to go straight back to UI.

I was flabbergasted. “Um, aren’t any of you, uh, going to university, or joining the army full time, or something?” They looked at me as if I had asked if they planned to leap in front of a speeding train. Said one in complete innocence, “I wanted to go to college but I’d lose by unemployment.”

Man, was I depressed.

Well, that’s what happens when the fish stocks get fished to extinction, the fishery collapses, and the government starts treating a bunch of new telemarketing offices as a major boost for the local economy.

:pulls up a lawnchair and gets ready for the fireworks:

::Passes Sua a beer and starts explaining the intricacies
of UBB code and preview while waiting for the show to start::

I might take exception to, but you’re from away, so I don’t give a damn. What’s Atlantic Canada, anyway? I thought Canada was up north somewhere, and I’m pretty sure the Atlantic is southeast of here. Hmm. Don’t make me look at a map. It gives me a headache, you know.

But that’s just it, you see. People who aren’t insular do give a damn. “I really don’t care that much” might as well be the provincial motto.

You are never gonna forget that “blumbering” crack, are ya? :slight_smile:


Only took ya several months to figger out all that, Doc? You Upper Canadians is some quick. Sure ya ain’t jus homesick?

Naw. What we’re looking fer is how ya answer. Not jus yer words – yer tone o’ voice, where ya look when ya talk, where ya put yer hands an’ feet… helps us figger out jus what kinda critter we’re dealin with.

Are ya sure ya previewed? Think ya mighta jus showed yer ass…

I was gonna respond to some of the in-between stuff, but I’m jus too damn lazy.

I’ve lived and worked in most areas of Canada, and, although I know that I am a lazy s.o.b., most people who I’ve worked for and/or with have told me that my laziness surprised them – their experience seemed to be that us folk from the east coast were very hard to slow down.

Yep. Not to mention the mining messes Nova Scotians are still dealing with. Or what the Irvings have done just in New Brunswick… check into some economic history and see just how that one family’s influence reaches down here.

Ever watched This Hour Has 22 Minutes? It’s only the best political satire you’ll find on North America. Week after week. And it’s written, performed and produced in Atlantic Canada by Atlantic Canadians.

And how about Codco? Absolutely nothing was sacred on that show. And now where are the folks who created it… did I mention This Hour Has 22 Minutes?

I’m pretty much done, I guess. 'Cause ya know, Dr_Paprika, I really do think yer jus a bit homesick.

Ya’ll settle in an’ live yer life. An’ jus like anywhere else in Canada, or the world, ya’ll git in tight with a few folk ya’ll be able to call friends ‘cause they’ll have proven that they’ll stick. An’ to keep 'em as friends, all ya’ll havta do is the same fer them.

Well, this confirms my opinion that EVERYONE from Ontario is an asshole.

I havent actually MET everyone in Ontario, but I can make stupid broad statements like that.

I cant be bothered to explain that I am an atheist, my family is not fishermen, or inbred, or perpetual UI bums - or that stuff like abuse of social services bothers us - what would be the point? You have already in your wisdom decided that ALL of us are worthless.( I must be too insular) Of course, you meeting people who arent very nice to you wouldnt have anything to do with … oh, I dont know…YOU???

So… sucking up to sanctimonious assholes is the answer? Cool! Hold on while I call the premier!!

And what the hell is this?

Careful, your ignorance is showing! WHICH province jackass??
You speak of ‘the maritimes’, and ‘Atlantic Canada’ like its one big province - newsflash: its not! People in PEI are alot different than New Brunswickers, and same for Nova Scotians.

So what is your exact problem? That Indian food has finally hit some little community? Blame the fucking Indians for not going there sooner!!!
Why dont you go back to your precious Ontario? We really arent good enough for the honor of your presence.

…just how far

…find in North…

And I fucking hate ‘chicken bones’!


Naaaaaw…I kinda liked it.

It made me feel George Bushish:)

I have been living in Halifax for about a year now after spending 12 years in Ontario and the previous 17 in Alberta. Funny enough, most of the people I meet who live here moved from Toronto. Let me address a couple of conceptions and misconceptions as I see them. Keep in mind that while I have toured a bit I haven’t seen a whole lot yet so these will be gross generalizations.

  1. Atlantic Canadians are more friendly : False. they are more outgoing and talkative. I have met more A-Holes here than anywhere else in Canada. Most other places in Canada however, you won’t meet as many A-Holes because they keep to themselves more. The friendliest people I’ve met dwell in the small cities around Toronto like Guelph.

  2. Atlantic Canadians are lazy : False. They are not as crazy as Torontonians though, and sometimes a little to informal for my taste (service people are constantly chit-chatting with you). But I can really only speak for Halifax here. When fishers are working, they probably work at least as hard as farmers. I think a big problem is the poor education of many around the region (like 40% illiteracy rate!). Once their industry has died they have little opportunity for anything else around here and they seem loathe to move anywhere to find work.

Yeah, that’s right, a 2 point list! I’ll walk the other direction around the wheel.

I grew up near the mountains and the prairies so the ocean doesn’t have much of a pull for me, but it is nice, and the city is quite pretty. I have heard it compared to a small version of Boston without the traffic.

Once when we landed in Halifax airport, I started helping people get their overhead bags since I had an aisle seat. I handed one fella his coat and he said “you know you’re in Halifax when you get this kind of service” I wasn’t quick enough, but I wanted to reply “well, I’m from Ontario so you’d better check your coat pocket”.

This is exactly why us Maratimers get that look in our eye when we find out someone’s from Ontario. You suck.

I love the East Coast and almost everything about it. Along the same lines, i hate Ontario and almost everything about it. You suck.

I hope you’ll excuse our foolish little Atlantic minds, that we dont immedeatly kneel before you and bask in your culture, wisdom and hatefulness. It must be all the clean air and wonderful scenery that makes us suspect people like you of being stuck up and anal. You suck.

There are no words for how pissed off i am that i’ll be leaving the boards for a little bit and probably wont get the chance to find out just what the fuck makes you think you’re better then us.

Oh, yeah, you suck.

Dr. Pap said: being a little more insular (much like people from Maine).

to which I replied: I might take exception to, but you’re from away, so I don’t give a damn. What’s Atlantic Canada, anyway? I thought Canada was up north somewhere, and I’m pretty sure the Atlantic is southeast of here. Hmm. Don’t make me look at a map. It gives me a headache, you know.

Dr. Pap rebutted: But that’s just it, you see. People who aren’t insular do give a damn.

I’m glad to see the cultured Ontarian didn’t mistake my post for sarcasm.

Let me make myself perfectly clear (I’ll type slow): Mainers are not insular. Have you even been to Maine? I’ve been to Ontario (several times in fact) and I wouldn’t presume to judge the people of Ontario just because I happen to know one jackass from there. I hope I speak for all Mainers when I say:

May you fall on a pine tree ass-first.
May a lobster take a liking to your testicles.
May a swarm of black flies carry you off to the fiery pits of hell.

[sub]The only reason I don’t rush to the defense of the people of Atlantic Canada is that I can see they damn well don’t need my help. :smiley: [/sub]

I don’t believe I referred to UI or fishing at any time. I freely concede being homesick accounts for my current malaise. I think This Hour Has 22 Minutes is the best political satire since Yes, Minister and have said this elsewhere on this board.

I don’t recall saying all Maritimers were religious, just that more Maritimers consider it important than other Canadians. My views are shared by several other people I know who independently moved east from Ontario, BC, ALberta and Sasketchewan at the same time for the same reason; this does not in any way forgive or justify them. Maritimers are not from my experience slow to denigrate Ontario. I certainly never called Maritimers worthless nor implied so at any time. I don’t think they are assholes – in fact, I don’t think ANY of them, NOT A SINCLE ONE, are assholes (and I would not say this about people from Ontario). I do think they are cliquish. The people in one specific town are very insular and there is no reason to believe this is more widespread throughout Atlantic Canada. This is freely conceded by many people I’ve ever met from my town.

My experiences are limited to three different cities in New Brunswick. I think the Irvings have done a great deal less for the people here than they could. I think they have something to answer for. I am aware of the differences in provinces and my post was not meant to apply to all of them, or even all cities in New Brunswick. I don’t really see my presence as an honour. I don’t genuinely think that I’m better than others. I am not special. I have lived in a lot of different places and I don’t think, since you ask, it does have to do with my manifold limitations as a person. I have never mentioned nor implied these views in any way to people I work with.

The messes with the Nova Scotia mines are tragic. I think all Canadians deserve better government, and that this certainly applies to New Brunswick.

And I don’t get chicken bones at all.

And please try not to take this thread too seriously. I did not make most of the claims you suggest.

Well, I do really like Halifax and hope to stay here for a while, it’s my second favourite city in Canada, but sometimes the level of smugness gets to me here. People always going on about how much friendlier they are than the horrible Ontarians. Like a mini version of the smugness Canadians have with Americans.

Ontario has plenty of spectacular scenery too and I wouldn’t start ranting about pollution. I’ve seen more garbage on the beaches here than around the great lakes beaches and you wouldn’t want to swim in the Northwest Arm, they fire their sewage untreated into it.

I’d feel better about this place if more people insulted me the way you did, bibliophile. Least it showed some wit and all.

My experiences in Maine have been positive. The comparison I was drawing was from The Book of America by Neal Peirce and Jerry Hagstrom.

“until the last few decades, the great majority of Maine people lived in isolated small towns and had scant contact with the outside world… To this day hundreds suffer from peculiar types of isolation. Rural postal service has deteriorated; phone rates are high… there is an appalling dearth of public transportation… Out of all this isolation has developed the fabled Down Easter character, so devoid of the hail-fellow-well-met exuberence of other Americans. Little affection is shown unless there is a disaster, then if one’s house burned down or his traps stolen and broken in a storm, Maine’s neighbours are there to help – and one would never have reason to expect otherwise”.

So the reputation for insularity is neither new nor novel. Whether or not it is correct is another matter, and I’m sorry if you think it is not true and more sorry if it isn’t (I won’t describe Bill Bryson’s view of Maine). I freely admit that I both suck and swallow. The people of Atlantic Canada don’t need your help. But there are serious problems in Atlantic Canada and they are not discussed as seriously as they should be because Canadians do take themselves too seriously. The more laid back Maritimers joke about their reputation in the rest of Canada and know Ontarians are hypocrites too concerned with wealth and not sufficiently concerned with family. They would not have taken my inbreeding comments seriously. But this is a minority. I am hardly the only one not below sarcasm.

And I like Halifax and Newfoundland an awful lot.

Hey, Doc, I bin goin’ easy on ya 'cause I knew ya was homesick, but if it’ll make ya feel better…

Ya know that poppin’ sound ya heard on yer way down here, somewhere between Riviere du Loup an’ Edmundston? That was the sound o’ yer head comin’ outa yer ass. An’ now, to paraphrase the Bible, the scales are fallin’ from yer eyes.*

*[sub]With yer new vision ya’ll notice that the colour o’ those scales is a lovely shitbrown.[/sub]