Justin Trudeau – Hello, Joe, it’s me, Canada
To: U.S. president Joe Biden
From: A Canadian couch potato
Re: Congratulations, eh
Dear Joe: When I heard that your predecessor, Donald Trump, was kind enough to get off the golf course long enough to write you a “very generous” letter, I figured the least I could do was climb off the couch in my den and send a few thoughts from a northern neighbour.
Before doing that, however, one of my editors wanted me to ask whether the ex-president wrote his letter using the Official White House Crayons and, if so, what colours? You can get back to me on that.
Speaking of Mr. Trump, I want to begin by correcting one of the many “lies” he spread back in 2018 when he defended his decision to impose trade tariffs on Canada on national security grounds during a less-than-friendly chat with our prime minister, the famously handsome Justin Trudeau.
During that testy call, he asked Trudeau: “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” Ha ha ha, right? Tragically, I am not kidding. I probably don’t need to tell you this, Joe, but the correct answer is: No, we did not!
The truth is, we didn’t even become a nation until 1867, which is quite a while after British troops did burn down the White House in 1814, as part of the War of 1812, after a U.S. invasion of what is now Ontario, which is home to the largest collection of Buffalo Bills fans outside of Buffalo.
So if anyone gets the blame for that fiery faux pas, Joe, it would be the British, who are currently led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, famous for being the only human being on the planet with a worse hairstyle than The Donald.
As you probably know, Joe, we Canadians are famous for a lot of things — maple syrup, hockey supremacy and the green polyethylene garbage bag, invented by Harry Wasylyk and Larry Hansen in Winnipeg in 1950 — but most of all we are famous for being polite.
Which is why, on behalf of this courteous country, I want to apologize — Canadian translation: “Sorry, eh!” — for the fact that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the very day you were sworn in and before the ink on the executive order was even dry, demanded trade sanctions against the U.S. because you signed the death certificate for his beloved Keystone XL pipeline, which is something you had always promised to do.
And we Canucks are all feeling 10 shades of proud over the fact that your first call to a foreign leader was made to Mr. Trudeau, who, despite his great hair, was once branded “very dishonest and weak” by Mr. Trump, whose top trade adviser also said “there’s a special place in hell” for Justin because — you will have a hard time believing this — he wasn’t always deferential to the now-disgraced president.
It might be comforting for you to know, Joe, that the feeling was mutual here in Canada, where polls last year found that my fellow citizens in the True North would not empty a rubber boot full of water on Mr. Trump even if he was actively on fire, just like the White House in 1814, eh.
Speaking of being on the couch — and I did that in the first paragraph, Joe — that’s where I spent all of Inauguration Day (unless you count a handful of trips to the kitchen to fetch grease-containing snacks) and I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed Celebrating America, the prime-time special meant to convey the subtle concept that you and Vice-President Kamala Harris are going to beat back the forces of darkness with the help of an army of A-list celebrities.
I mean, there was Bon Jovi warbling “Here comes the sun,” and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl singing about how we can “learn to live again,” and John Legend belting out: “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life.”
So I think we get the drift here, Joe. You are the bringer of light, whereas Mr. Trump was the Prince of Darkness. No argument on our side of the border, Joe. You are preaching to the converted, even though some of us (and I’m not talking about myself) are a little bit ticked over the whole pipeline thing.
It’s almost time for the hockey game to start, Joe, but I want to leave you with a few helpful thoughts about Canada, a country that is one of your largest trading partners and with whom you share the world’s longest undefended border.
We Canadians are loyal, reliable, dependable, faithful, trustworthy, humble, tolerant, agreeable, kind to strangers and not the sort of people who would ever consider attempting to cross a border with a concealed handgun or a bottle of hooch on which we had not paid the border taxes.
We are kind of like your family dog, but with better health care. In conclusion, keep up the good work and congratulations for one of your first official acts — getting rid of the infamous “Diet Coke button” Mr. Trump kept in the Oval Office and pressed 12 times a day to summon a butler with his favourite beverage.
It’s nice to know that guy no longer has his finger on the button.
Thanks and congratulations,
P.S. My wife would like to know if Bernie Sanders could send her a pair of those cozy mittens he wore at your inauguration.
Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.
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