Return to Canada's Really Big (idea)

A song written by The Arrogant Worms, noded with permission as described on their node.

I like this song because it is so descriptive of Canadian national pride, with that peculiar, sarcastic, and not-altogether-self-deprecating Canadian humour.

Sometimes it ain't easy being the northerly (nor southerly, come to think of it) neighbour of what still is the strongest superpower in the world. It's like being the younger sibling of the brilliant student, the prom queen, the bastard-but-popular jock, the all-around perfect kid. They're there shining by every conceivable objective measure, while you languish in the shadow of second place. You're doing ok, but they are doing better. Sometimes it's enough to drive you mad with jealousy.

That's ok though. Consolation is just around the corner. We've got the bigger one. During the reckoning hour, when push gets to shove, all niceties and so-called objective measures go out the window. All bets are off. They've got the stronger army? So what, we're huge. Prosperous economy? We're still bigger. Beautiful landscapes and natural resources? Pshaw, we see your Sweden with our Ontario and raise you Nunavut. Size trumps all.

I have fond recollections of the first time I heard this song. I distinctly remember it was in the chill September, when the memory of summer still tender wrought nostalgia upon our souls. Three North Americans we were, strolling across the streets of Montréal, and two of us were feeling a little displaced. The United Statesian girl was pining for the firey landscapes of her native New Hampshire, so beautiful this time in year. The Montréal urban autumn scenery was but a poor substitute for the Great Appalachian Outdoors. Right about now, her family would be outside picking wild nuts. Why was she stuck in a horrid and dirty little city where everyone spoke funny French or at best English with a French accent?

The Mexican, on his part, had not yet quite adapted to the Canadian and Quebecker lifestyle and social interactions. He was for the first time starting to feel the cold, to feel people start withdrawing into themselves in order to conserve warmth for the months ahead, and he was feeling lonesome. Why can't these Canadians be as warm and welcoming as people were back south of the border? Why couldn't these hosers have any tasty food here? Why in tarnation was he there?

Our Canadian friend just listened quietly to our misadjustments. When it seemed that we had vented what we had to say, he modestly adjusted his toque, and without breaking step, for it is a marching song after all, he deftly sang in a clear baritone the following tune:

When I look around me, I can't believe what I see
It seems as if this country has lost its will to live
The economy is lousy, we barely have an army
But we can still stand proudly 'cause Canada's really big
We're the second largest country on this planet earth
And if Russia keeps on shrinking then soon we'll be first
(As long as we keep Quebec)
The USA has tanks and Switzerland has banks
They can keep them thanks, they just don't amount
'Cause when you get down to it, you find out what the truth is
It isn't what you do with it it's the size that counts
Most people will tell you that France is pretty large
But you can put fourteen Frances into this land of ours
(It’ll take a lot of work; it'd take a whole lot of work)
We're larger than Malaysia, almost as big as Asia
We're bigger than Australia and it’s a continent
So big we seldom bother to go see one another
Though we often go to other countries for vacations
Our mountains are very pointy, our prairies are not
The rest is kind of bumpy, but man do we have a lot
(We’ve got a lot of land; we’ve got a whole lot of land)
So stand up and be proud and sing out very loud
We stand out from the crowd 'cause Canada's really big

After that, the girl and I could do nothing but admire in quiet awe the sheer magnitude of the land we found ourselves in...

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