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Matt:

Why is Canada so special?

-- GZ, the net

Lucky for us, Canadians seem to spend most of their free time answering survey questions. Maybe we can find some clues in statistics from public and private agencies clearly obsessed with the same question as GZ. Here's a quick scan of the Canadian brain: 45 percent of Canadians have never had a cavity, maybe because 30 percent floss daily; 34 percent say their marriages are most like Marge and Homer Simpson's; 20 percent believe aliens regularly visit Earth; 58 percent of Canadian email users still have more trust in the postal service; and 71 percent would welcome more tax audits by the country's internal revenue service. A whopping 40 percent of Canadians own vibrators, a third more than the world average. A survey of Toronto college freshmen found that 78 percent of them use the expression "eh" (as in, "Nice day, eh?" made internationally famous by the Mackenzie Brothers and SCTV), even though nearly 100 percent called it uneducated hick talk. Seems they're proud that "eh" is as typically Canadian as hockey and beer.

This figure is dropping fast, but when last asked, 57 percent of Canadians considered the U.S. their country's best friend. Amazing loyalty when you consider that 37 percent of Canadians consider George Bush the greatest threat to their own national security, second only to worldwide organized crime. So what do we give them in return? A mere 14 percent of Americans call Canada our best friend. There's something poignant about all that unrequited geopolitical love. But in the end, as Grandma would say, it's all about attitude. A recent U.S.-conducted survey of Canadians shows that 94 percent believe the rest of the world likes them a lot. I defy you to dislike a grinny, hand-shakey bunch with strong teeth and an outlook like that. Yay, Canada.

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