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Beaver, be gone

At 36, our national emblem is apparently getting long in the bucked tooth


 

Rick Harris/Flickr

Yesterday, the Canadian Senate took a page from HGTV as Conservative Sen. Nicole Eaton puckishly launched a national “emblem makeover” campaign to replace the industrious, homely beaver with the “majestic and splendid” polar bear as “Canada’s symbol for the 21st century.”

At first glance, the scheme appeared a masterstroke, given concerns over the polar bear’s looming extinction. What better way of squarely facing the ravages of global warming? Sen. Eaton’s gesture even appeared a bold jab at the government that appointed her—one whose record addressing climate-change is an international joke.

But no. The senator’s pitch made no mention of the mammal’s extinction or endangerment. “The polar bear is the world’s largest terrestrial carnivore and Canada’s most majestic and splendid mammal, holding reign over the Arctic for thousands of years,” she said, nicely echoing the Harper government mandate on northern sovereignty. She even offered a shout-out to the government: “Canada is a world leader in its exemplary system of polar bear management. Our approach features co-management involving aboriginal groups and government, and a strict system of quotas and tags.”

The senator’s rationale for dumping the beaver for the polar bear—a “19th-century has-been for a 21st-century hero,” as she put it— hinges mostly on cosmetics: she trashed the beaver as a “dentally defective rat” and a “toothy tyrant” that wreaks havoc on its environment. As for the Castor canadensis’ integral place in Canada’s nation-building—the lucrative beaver-pelt trade underwrote our country’s European colonization, so much so the Hudson’s Bay Company adorned its coat of arms with four of the rodents in 1678—well, history, shmistory.

Our national emblem since 1975, at 36, is getting a little long in the bucked tooth, she says: “A country’s symbols are not constant and can change over time as long as they reflect the ethos of the people and the spirit of the nation.” The beaver—a smart, monogamous herbivore found in all provinces—is yesterday’s fashion plate, she contends. It’s time to move on: and the polar bear “with its strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity is perfect for the part.”

The only problem—a big one—is that, as a branding tool, polar bears have already been exploited to the hilt. The only place the heart-warming creatures are not in short supply these days is in advertising and marketing. Earlier this month, Coca Cola’s animated polar bears were named one of “the greatest advertising mascots” of all time. Capitalizing on its polar-bear good will, Coca Cola recently teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund on a marketing blitz designed to promote awareness of climate-change and polar-bear conservation. It’s not alone. The Centre of Biological Diversity just announced that polar bears will adorn its “eco-friendly” condom packaging—along with five other endangered species.

So if we want to take the cue for our national identity from cola companies and condom purveyors, adopting the polar bear as mascot is a no-brainer. But Sen. Eaton’s campaign raises an important question: whether Canada wants to be a nation quick to abandon and “update” its old, indecorous and unfashionable symbols in order to stay on trend. It’s an idea that should reverberate in the Red Chamber. Because if the industrious, stealthy beaver can be replaced, who knows what might be next.


 

Beaver, be gone

  1. LOL

  2. Pictures of the Queen everywhere! Tradition must prevail!

    Dump the beaver! Get with the times!

    • That sounds just like something Eddie Haskill would say.

  3. Dump the senator Nicole Eaton, be gone!!!

    • She is getting rather long in the tooth…

  4. the bever is as canadian as hockey

  5. I see this as trial balloon by Harper & co. in their long term quest to (re-)claim sovereignty over the North-West passage by getting the average Canadian excited over a mascot that lives in the North. Perhaps in the furture it may somehow ignite passions if the sovereignty of the North is questioned by the U.S. or others.

    • Who was PM in 1975? I think that’s Harpo’s motivation.

    • As with Harper, the balloon is full of hot air and will eventually deflate.

  6. homelydentally defective rat” and a “toothy tyrant” that wreaks havoc on its environment What world is this senator living in?The Beaver is one of the most important, if not the most important symbol of how and why our country was explored and brought to its formation.  Maybe the “ignorant and obsolete senators” who with their appointed defective sense of entitlement should be replaced with something more accountable and useful, which would represent the people of the wonderful country, a Triple E Senate.  A senate with members whom upon uttering stupid comments to hear themselves speak could in the next election be rendered unemployed.   Better yet, abolish this useless institution, and thus eliminate the soap box on which these imbeciles use to spout their importance….

    • Maybe the real reason is the same as the reason “The Beaver” was renamed “Canada’s History” – just too dam(n) sexy…

  7. A cynical diversion from real issues by an often cruel governing party. Wheat Board, Long Gun Registry, Global Warming, and on and on….

    • The wheat board and the long gun registry should both begone and global warming is a scam to  suck money out of stupid people and put in the pockets of a few rich that contribute nothing to the economy.

    • I’d agree, but no one gives 2 tts bout the penny, id’ say leave it as it is don’t waste time and money over this trivial stuff

  8. What nonsense!!
    The beaver is the emblem of the country because it was the fur trade that defined the boundaries. As the beaver was hunted to extinction in the eastern portion of the country, the animal was hunted in a line direct northwest to the arctic circle. In many ways, the fur trade defined the boundaries of the country, before 1867. 

  9. Is it possible that this “Nicole Eaton” is the defective rat? What does her teeth look like? Good thing our tax dollars are going towards issues that actually matter!

    The Beaver is part of Canadian heritage, learn to respect history! Leave it be!

    As far as the Polar Bear, how about the federal government work on effective environmental policies that address climate change!! In 50 years, polar bears may be extinct as they slowly die of starvation or drown looking for food!!!! That is not so “majestic and splendid” is it?

  10. Sure lets pick an animal 99% of Canadian have not seen or never will outside of captivity. 

  11. This Eaton person has a problem with Beavers?
    I prefer Beavers to Polar Bears.

    • I prefer either to senators.

  12. “A country’s symbols are not constant and can change over time as long
    as they reflect the ethos of the people and the spirit of the nation.”

    A perfect rationale for abolishing the Senate, Sen. Eaton.

  13. Why are politicians wasting our money on this? Is it that she doesn’t have anything more important to do that will actually add value and make a difference and she needs to look busy? Get her out of office. Stupid!

  14. Who really cares either way? Either keep it or don’t, just don’t waste our money and time.

  15. Dump the senator, keep the beaver.  Go back to the Bridlepath & shut the door.

    • more beavers…..less senators

  16. This has the Minister of Interior Decorating’s Mits all over it.

  17. So this is what the “Occupy Canada” protests were all about?

  18. Our Glorious Leader wants to remove any traces of PET’s time in office. 

  19. Once upon a time there was an over-paid, under-achieving Senator, who just wanted to get noticed, and justify her position…

    • Harper’s attempt to justify his appointment of these trained seals. Don’t polar bears eat seals?

  20. The beaver lives where 99% of Canadians live.  The polar bear is with the 1%.  We are the 99%.   Down with the 1% and their nefarious mascots.  

    • Beaut!

  21. how about concentrate on running the country and making positive changes (like no nuclear subs) seriously fire this guy.

  22. Let’s replace the senate with hard working beavers.

    • I think they might chew up the antique furniture…they have to keep their teeth trim somehow.

  23. The Beaver is not a destructive creature. the work of the Beaver in any ecosystem creates new meadows which permits new ecosystems to evolve. The steam that a family of Beavers cause “havoc”  to simply divert and create new ecosystems. The meadows created by the beaver also creates open spaces in wild places where birds of prey can more easily catch prey and where nerw plants establish new forests. 

    I do think that our senator needs to do some homework before shooting her mouth off. The beaver is more than pelts and Canadian boarders. It truly is one of the most industrious animals out there – just like we here in Canada.

    • Now to be fair, quite a few ranchers and farmers do have to use dynamite to blast away the lovely homes those beavers create so their animals can drink but hey that is what makes the beaver such a great symbol for our wild untamed country.  Despite our technology and advancements, the beaver continues to thrive.

      • How can you expect anything else? its 100% Harper, destroy the bevers character, then follow it up with a sound bite clip!

        This one even down to the trademaked corporate Polar Bear Logo (CocaCola).

        The question is, will Canada have to pay a royalty to Coke every time we use our new logo?

        • NO!  I think we could get Coke to pay Canada royalties but this whole thing is nonsense.  It is just an idea, like the national anthem…when people don’t want it….it will go away.

  24. I’m absolutely surprised that no one has mentioned how we already feature a polar bear on one of our coins…. or maybe I’m the only one who uses toonies.

  25. A sad state of affairs when our economy could be on the brink of disaster and our Senator wants the national emblem to take the spotlight. Leave the beaver alone, we really need to look at the type of animal the senate represents!

  26. Don’t like the change. A T-Shirt that say’s “I’m Canadian, show me your Polar Bear” just doesn’t work.

    • Now THAT is funny!

  27. two words, honey badger.

  28. keep the Beaver and get rid of Nicole Eaton.

  29. Why not dump our boring old flag while we’re at it? Craziness! Polar bears will be out of style in 5 years anyway, and would be a pretty lousy national emblem once they’re extinct. Wait a minute… our flag has the Coca-cola logo’s colours! I’m thinking partnership! We could rebrand as Coca-nada.

    • Not a bad idea….maybe we can get some money out of the deal…you know how brands pay studios for putting their product in movies….we could pay down the debt by aligning the country with Coke.

    • I’m sure somewhere there’s a plan percolating to replace the Maple Leaf with something suitably Tory blue. It will be introduced along with the bill to rename the country to Harperia.

  30. Do we need any further evidence that the Senate should be abolished??? A government with no inclination to adopt an effective environmental policy suggests, through its mouthpieces in the Senate that the polar bear, verging on extinction, should be on our money? Oh the irony!

  31. Get rid of the Senate

  32.  Eaton’s personal bio begins:

    I was born and educated in Montreal (please tell me that’s not true!!!) and for some years in Europe (how chic). I graduated in production from Montreal’s National Theatre School (which is National or Montreal’s?) . After graduating I worked as a stage manager for l’Opera du Quebec and Theatre Nouveau Monde, moved to Toronto where I worked as a field producer for CFTO television, and took advantage of these roles to begin what would become extensive travels throughout the country. Following my marriage to Thor Eaton (Thor?) , I left television (nobody noticed) and devoted my time to raising two children (who played with stuffed polar bears) and volunteerism in the community (and for this you are a senator qualified to judge the mighty Beaver???).

    Mediocrity rises to the top once again. Adopt a Beaver, Abolish the Senate!

  33. More like, Senate “Be Gone”.   If Ms. Eaton et al  have nothing better to do to earn their exceedingly generous stipends, I suggest we vote for the extinction of the Senate, as they are diddling away our money on frivolous nonsense.

    Bucky Beaver is ^not^ amused !

  34. What’s the point of even having an emblem if we’re going to be changing them every time we think another symbol might be ‘cooler’? A decade from now, we’ll be talking about getting rid of the polar bear and replacing it with lord knows what… hockey puck, Justin Bieber, Bonhomme… 

    • Peter Puck!!! Peter Puck!!!

  35. “dentally defective rat” and a “toothy tyrant” that wreaks havoc on its environment”.

    Ms. Eaton should be careful – it’s not nice to talk about HRH Harper that way.

  36. I think see should take her own advice and dump the senate

  37. While the polar bear might be the world’s largest terrestial carnivore, it is clearly no match for the beaver in asserting dominance over its territories. The ONLY place that polar bears live in this country is in that region where beavers do not live.

    Conclusion: Beavers have driven all the polar bears out of their territory, because beavers are tougher!

  38. So the trend setting Senator Eaton lists as one of her interests ” The Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies”. Am I the only one who thinks this is weird?

    • She is Chair of the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies. It is part of the University of Toronto.

  39. I wonder if her motivation is that she is a member of the Eaton Family whose now defunct retail empire was always envious of the Hudson Bay Company who gave us our beaver symbol. Call it Retail Logo Envy.

  40. Save the Beaver, Dump the Queen!

  41. Ridiculous. At least beavers are in the majority of provinces. Not many polar bears in BC.

  42. ask any man what he would want…
    a beaver or a beer?
    a beaver always wins. 

  43. I guess the sexual connotation of the word beaver is offensive to Ms. Eaton’s sensibility. Or King Harper wants to distract us while he’s busy ramming his omnibus crime bill down our collective throat. And then there’s this: the beaver has been introduced as the emblem of Canada during the Trudeau years and we all know that a dream close to our Dear Leader’s heart is the eradication of the Liberals not only politically, but historically as well.
    This government is coherent in its insanity, and extremely dangerous.

  44. We are a young country still making our solid foundation I think we need to hold onto our heritage as a symbol of our own ability to learn and adapt as a country – had we not I’m certain the beaver would be symbolized as an extinct species on the nickle or maybe we would have just forgotten about it kind of like that bird they annilated just on their way into Canada- what was it called- oh I guess it wasn’t important – did we learn from it?
    I’m sure there are better things to spend our time and money on today save that one for when there’s nothing pressing on the plate!

  45. A beaver has done us a great favor at our cottage recently by removing three ugly poplar trees our neighbors should have removed years ago. Diligent and hard working animal this one, it moves the fallen trees in sections close to half a mile across the lake, through a culvert beneath a road and about 300 yards farther to its lodge. A dentally challenged animal? Hardly, Rodents are not dentally challenged at all. I would suggest they are dentally championed. Perhaps the good senator would not mind being gilded along with other aging fossels in the upper house and put on display as possible icons representative of the archaic governmental system we still use. The ubiquitous beaver is a wonderful representative of industry, intelligence and determination. Not bad qualties for a national symbol I think.

  46. beavers are great, they taste good, and feel great and oh yes the animal version is cute

  47. Exactly. That was my first thought. But the Polar Bear would be an apt symbol for a country that has won the International Fossil Award three years running for its lack of action on climate change, wouldn’t it?  As for the senator’s calling the beaver a toothy tyrant that wreaks havoc on the environment, I guess she hasn’t looked around lately to see what humans have done. Who was it who appointed this person to the Senate?

  48. When I first read about this I
    thought she had to be joking.

    I think a polar bear might be a fine animal mascot – if we hadn’t already been using the beaver for 200 or 300
    years!

  49. The problem is–Harper doesn’t have a legacy.  Even Mulroney has said that.  So he has Eaton float this trial balloon.  Hey, Pearson did the flag thing, so maybe he can do the emblem. 

    All distractions from the really important stuff.

  50. hey, i’m for the beaver

  51. I have nothing against the polar bear, it is after all the largest bear on Earth. It is a beautiful and majestic animal, however, the beaver is a very hard working, industrious animal.I think that work ethic is a great simple of Canadians. The biggest reason to keep the beaver as  our national simple is an historical one. Without the beaver this great country of ours may never have come to be. It was the Hudson’s Bay Company, which was pretty much coast to coast to coast that made this nation what it is today.
    The Hudson’s Bay Company was sold a few years ago to outside interests. Let’s not also lose our beloved beaver.

  52. The polar bear population has quintupled over the last 50 years.

  53. Sen. Nicole Eaton is not very bright wanting to change our beaver for a polar bear.They are on their way out in the next 20 years because of the global warming..Leo L

  54. Kepp the beaver, abolish the senate

  55. Polar bear sometimes eat their young.

    Of course, it is possible this would be considered a virtue within the Eaton family.

  56. Lets put a smile on Nicoles face. 

    We’ll make our symbol the “Eaton Beaver”!

  57. Eaton’s ideas on symbolism come across as borderline schizophrenic.

  58. LET’S THROW AWAY THE HISTORY AND RECREATED A NEW ONE BECAUSE IT’S OUT OF FASHION.  WE ARE GOING TO LISTEN TO A SENATOR THAT WAS APPOINTED TO HER POST, GETTING RICH FROM CANADIAN TAXPAYER AND SHOULD HAVE HER OLD AGE PENSION.  MAYBE WE NEED TO GET RID OF THE SENATE BECAUSE THAT TOO IS NOT FASHIONABLE. THE BEAVER IS VERY INTELLIGENT, WONDERFUL BUILDERS, ORGANIZED, AND CUTE ANIMALS.

  59. Its appropriate that a conservative politician would make this suggestion, after all thanks to the conservative policy of ignoring the environment, the polar bear could be extinct in the wild in due course.   

  60. Keep the beaver.
    I like beaver.
    Justice for the beaver
    (not to be confused with Justin Bieber, another Canadian)

  61. The polar bear already appears in the coat of arms of Greenland.

  62. >wreaks havoc on its environment

    I call BS.  The beaver is invaluable in creating wetlands. Someone show the senator the door; she has outlived her intelligence.

    >Canada’s most majestic and splendid mammal

    I favour the marmot in this role, or perhaps the drunken couch-bound Monday night football fan.

  63. Bieber too.

  64. This is how we employ governments for their great advice and directing of our nation
    Their always trying to change whats not broken because they cant seem to fix what is
    Thats why we never get our moneys worth

  65. Stupid city woman.

  66. What is wrong with the beaver a symbol of understated relentless work?  The polar bear is an obese  Hollywood prima donna masquerading as a noble predator, who nowadays is famous for hanging out near dumpsters in Churchill Man. and posing precariously on fake undersized ice flows for Al Gore’s docudramas.

  67. Nicole, you are excactly the reason why we do not need a senate! Another politician who has no concept of the world or reality for that matter! Yet ready at the drop of a hat to say something stupid and be proud of it! Perhaps it is time the senate was dumped? Glad to see my tax dollars “hardly” at work.

  68. Just think! Canada could become the first country in the world with en extinct animal on its coins. That is, of course, if the “majestic and splendid” polar bear is truly head for extinction. 

  69. Senator Eaton may herself be lumped in with the rat population after her comments. All the more reason for an elected senate in Canada.

  70. They just want to spend more money on messing with our coins again.

    Not a big surprise, they have to come up with stuff to justify their 6 figure income they don’t deserve.

    I have an idea. Make all government offical positions minimum wage jobs. that will get the money grubbers out and leave the people that actually want to govern our country for the better.

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