Blow out those candles with pride, Canada! We’ve got PROBITY!

A blogger from the USA wrote about her intolerance of “idiots” and people who were “mildly racist”.

Hopefully she was being humorous when she wrote,

“There are so many of you, run and invade Canada, where they will be nice to you because they can’t help it.”

My response:

“Hold on (name withheld)…you want to send racists to Canada?  Because we’re nice?  Yikes…that feels racist.  Are you coming to Canada?!

‘Good manners’ is our first response to fools. When foolishness persists, the velvet glove comes off.  Don’t mistake non-mud slinging for weak character.”

In lieu of spending time writing a nice birthday wish, I visited fellow Canadians on our 145th birthday:

From the Globe and Mail:

Don’t mistake that for “nice”.

We love laughing at ourselves.  We like being Peace Keepers.  We care about each other.  We expect integrity.

We practice PROBITY:

“confirmed integrity; uprightness
(from Latin probitas honest,  probus virtuous)”

 –  from Collin’s English Dictionary


My next find:

Remember Steve Koyczan at the 2010 Olympic’s Opening Ceremony in Vancouver?  This young Canadian, bullied throughout his childhood, blossomed into a poet with a difference.  He stood in front of the world and released PROBITY from its aging bottle:

 “We Are More”:



I’m actually grateful to the blogger who incited me to remove my velvet glove!

It was good to shake up and reassess my sense of nationality.

While listening to Steve’s words, I softened my iron fist and stopped the flow of adrenalin.

For the second time with Steve, I popped my cork of Canadian soul and shared

 a celebratory sip of PROBITY.

“WE MADE IT BE” says Steve.

Yes, we have!  Let’s continue to share it with probity.

Would you want your Country to be called nice?



52 thoughts on “Blow out those candles with pride, Canada! We’ve got PROBITY!

  1. •¤.¸¯`°º•¤.¸¯`°º•¤.¸ ♥ ¸.¤•º°´¯ ¸.¤•º°´¯ ¸.¤•º° ¸.¤•º° ¤ ¸.¤•º°
    ~~~~~~~~~~~ HAPPY Canadian Day!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~
    ¤•º°´¯ ♥ ¯`°º•¤. ♥♥~♥♥~♥♥~♥♥~♥♥~¸.¤•º°´¯ ♥ ¯`°º•¤. ¸
    ¤•º°´¯ ¸.¤•º°´¯ ¸.¤•º°´¯ ♥ ¯`°º•¤. ¸¯`°º•¤. ¸¯`°

    I love Canadians — a very dear friend of 30+ yrs is from Canada as well!!! 😀

  2. Nice tribute to Canada. I drove through Nova Scotia once after we got off the ship from the Alaskian cruise. There was a bus that drove us from Canada to Washington state, There we took an airplain ride to my home town. From what I saw, Nova Scotia is very beautiful.

    • The Maritime people (those who live in the provinces east of Quebec) still live with a sense of taking care of one another. Glad you saw part of their turf, HW. That must have been quite a cruise – going from Alaska to the Atlantic! Or did you mean the cruise line?

      • Oh yeah – I’d use them too. There was a time I would have bristled a bit at nice, but… nowadays, I guess I would rather be nice about it 😉
        I am ever disappointed in the lack of imagination in so many people – for a lot of them, I don’t think a more complex positive adjective than ‘nice’ exists.
        And it’s not like ‘nice’ is universally applicable… I don’t think you could describe the French as nice (though there are certainly nice French people.) I was going to suggest that you smile politely and nod and then roll your eyes as you turn away – but that struck me a bit French!?!

        • I remember when Oprah had a show about racism against African Americans. She had people present feelings, concepts, stories in such a brilliant manner that they touched on and exposed the deep subtleties of racist slurs, gestures, nuances. The lights went on for me. Before that show, I had prided myself in being able to recognize when one popped up. Hah! From that program, I realized how subtly I focused on differences with some degree of smugness.

          That lesson was profound for me. I realized we all have blind spots when it comes to these pesky little “isms”. It’s a bigger job to see them than digging into our honesty about the biases we harbour. It’s learning HOW to spot them in ourselves when they are almost invisible.

          The sad thing that I learned…they are not invisible to the one on the receiving end. To that person, it feels like a blast.

  3. Well, our ‘country’ is Hawaii, and yes, we are called nice! I don’t mind it. I don’t mind living somewhere where people treat one another with genuine aloha – a mixture of love and openness. And yes, there are visitors (and some newcomers) who take advantage of that, but it’s never daunted the spirit of the Hawaiian people. To live somewhere where almost everyone smiles in greeting and usually starts a conversation – well, it’s wonderful.

    • I like all those characteristics, too, Bela. But I think “nice”, as a descriptive, is sadly lacking. In fact, in my writing courses, “nice” was not allowed. With all of the profs, each in different locations in Canada, its use was forbidden. I remember one prof saying if we couldn’t come up with a word that had meaning, don’t insult the reader by writing. (He may have come from one of the English Boarding Schools! :D)

  4. Happy Canada Day Amy. I like the idea of taking a celebrity sip of Probity. (Hadn’t heard of the word before)
    Would I like my country to be called nice? You bet I would…

    • Oh, Rosie, I think “nice” is too monotone, monochrome for the USA! Strong, determined, service-oriented, generous, caring… No one I know would even think about sending racists to your country because you’d tolerate them. We already have our share of bigots, racists, sexists, etc, etc. but we just handle them differently – and that’s what is mistakenly called “nice”.

      When I was on my Soul Safari with 18 Americans and 6 Canadians, I heard several references to our being “nice”. It was supposed to be humour (like this blog), but it made me realize that our quiet approach is misunderstood.

      So I’m just speaking up. How un-Canadian! 😀

  5. Happy Canada Day!
    My country is really, really nice! You’ve got to visit it to understand… In South Africa, there is a concept known as “UBUNTU” which is “the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world, it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others!” How nice is that?

    • Thanks, Mish, and I have visited your country. And I even visited the organization that is called UBUNTU! To me it was far and above a mundane “nice” – it was honourable. The reason I say that? It was humanity helping humanity help itself. What’s more respectful and empowering than that??

      Your country affected me profoundly. I still haven’t gotten over it. It’s part of why it’s so important for me to use my voice.

  6. Yes, to your last question. Nice is good – not stupid. And it’s not a sign of weakness. Intolerance is. Belated Happy Canada Day! (And by the way sorry for having been absent lately, I just haven’t had time to comment the last couple of weeks),

    • I think I made my point, Otto… 😀

      You’ve been on a terrific adventure. I’m so glad you blog so you can share some of the glimpses that turn your heart. Thank you so much. It can’t be easy to always be on the go.

  7. In my experience, Canadians are “special.” Many come to Palm Desert to escape the winter cold and are such good friends. We are on a golf course and have had a window broken 4 times over the years . The only one who owned up to it and paid the replacement cost was a Canadian. That says a lot to me. There are days I contemplate fleeing to Canada, but the cold….

  8. Very cool post! Love the video. Never heard of that guy before. Wow. Probity. I love it.
    My country? Humane comes to mind…but then I think, what would be the opposite of stupid? Insightful? We could use a good dose of that around here.

  9. Pingback: JUNE 5, 2011: Happy Canada Day, belated but sincere « THE WRITER BY DAY

    • Years ago my Mom said, “Too much nationalism is dangerous.” I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now. Rah Rahing in other people’s ears is uncalled for. However, I love my country, Poch, and discovered a need to defend it. So often, I’ve heard how Canadians are viewed as “nice”. At times, it sounded like “no back bone”. So when that comment was put in print, I had to speak up.

  10. I started loving Canadian, the day I came to know know you Amy aunty. What I can guess about Canadians are- they are honest, they are loving and they are straight forward. I hope these are the rare qualities we now a days find among human beings. So lots of good wishes for all Canadians Amy aunty. Stay blessed and Keep on blessing me. 🙂

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