Friday, March 02, 2012


SorryLast month a wonderful Canadian-style protest erupted over the Harper government’s plan to allow just about any cop to monitor just about anything anyone does in Canada online just about any time on just about any excuse.  Without a warrant.

Canadians used Twitter to mock Vic Toews, the Minister of Public Safety who introduced Bill C-30 in the House of Commons and defended it to various media outlets for the next few days.  The #TellVicEverything hashtag started out funny, clever, and awesome, swerved a little toward rants, and then back to funny, clever and awesome.

Early on, someone began tweeting as VickiLeaks30, publishing some very unsavory elements of Toews’ divorce, all a matter of public record but deeply personal.  Accusations flew, and the Conservative Harperites claimed that the NDP was behind the account, tweeting from inside Parliament.

Turns out it wasn’t the NDP at all, but a staffer for the Liberals.  He resigned, and the most Canadian of rituals ensued: Apologies all around.

This video from the CBC begins with Vic Toews complaining about the Vickileaks30 twitter account connection to the House of Commons, and asking for an investigation.

After almost five minutes of this, the Liberal leader is recognized by the Chair and begins his apology, first in English and then in French.

At 8:28 minutes, an NDP member is recognized, and mentions that the Conservatives had accused the NDP of being behind all this, and demands an apology.

And, he gets it.

The Bloc Québécois leader then speaks in French.

Just when I thought this couldn’t get any more Canadian, Vic Toews gets up and accepts Bob Rae’s apology, but only after critiquing it for it’s sincerity and worthiness.

Bob Rae now takes his place alongside other notable Canadians who have apologized to people for things.

Apologizing is part of Canadian culture.  Canadians apologize when YOU bump into THEM. They apologize for running up the score. I once saw a musician say “Sorry” to a microphone stand he had banged into.  It takes some getting used to
Search Google for “canadian apologies” and you will get 12,900,000 results.

Google results "canadian apologies"

Search Google for “american apologies” and you will get 47,000,000 results, admittedly a much higher number, but most of the results appear to be links to articles complaining that Americans have apologized for something.

Google results "american apologies"

We just don’t like to do that.

Canadian Apologies on Tumbler

But there is a theory that “Canadians say ‘sorry’ a lot, but they rarely apologize.  See this excerpt from How to be a Canadian (Even If You Already Are One)

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