POLITICS

Retired US Marine creates joke video pitching 'Canada' for American president

01/06/2012 02:22 EST | Updated 03/07/2012 05:12 EST
OTTAWA - A mocking You Tube video created by a retired U.S. marine offers up the Great White North for "Canadacy" in the U.S. presidential race and is racking up tens of thousands of page views and plenty of comments.

The 90-second video promoting a fictional "Canada party" appears to be attracting about equal measures of applause and scorn, judging by comments from American viewers.

The video, by a Vancouverite and transplanted American who uses the name Chris Cannon online, makes a humorous pitch for Americans to choose Canadian leadership later this year rather than supporting any of the current field of presidential wannabes.

With O Canada playing in the background and a picture of the Queen on the mantle above a crackling fire, Cannon's bearded and tie-wearing co-conspirator Brian Calvert promotes alleged Canadian superiority — with a heavy dash of self-mockery — while trash-talking the U.S.

At one point in the video, a list of leading Canadian indicators scrolls up the screen.

It says Canada leads the U.S. in crime prevention, the employment rate, Bigfoot sightings and bear attacks, among other things.

"And that's just what our hippies have accomplished," says the narrator. "Wait 'til you see our redneck cred."

The narration also offers some backhanded solidarity to the American audience, claiming Canada has "the same problem you do with illiterate foreigners invading our southern borders to steal our jobs."

Cannon, who served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including time as an intelligence officer and counter-terrorism specialist, teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia.

"America is not very good at asking for help," the author and teacher explained Friday in an email to The Canadian Press.

"They've served as a terrific big brother to Canada for so many years — sharing their toys, making us laugh, sticking up for us on the playground. But now America has mono, and we want them to take a break, get some rest, and just let us clean the house and make them soup."

Cannon and Calvert's video, www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrhA0sEkuaM, has been viewed more than 115,000 times since it was posted on Jan. 3 and has attracted more than 3,300 "likes" against fewer than 100 "dislikes."

But among the more than 500 comments on the YouTube site, there is a decided split in opinion.

"As an American I agree 100 per cent," writes someone with the handle Aris1013.

Someone writing as Chaine de Kilzoful counters: "The first critique levelled against american (sic) is that they are arrogant and boastful when it comes to their country... are canadians making the same mistake?"

And writer "osusauckes" cautions Canadians that the U.S. is "currently looking for a new war to start. I would suggest you fly under the radar until we have a new target. Considering you are our largest oil provider ... You might be the next Iraq."

Some Canadian viewers also felt let down by the video:

"Thanks," writes markenormandale. "Great idea, but I was sort of hoping the Canada party video was going to be about a new party for Canada to vote for. Maybe you can work on that next?"

Cannon insisted, tongue in cheek, that the video is purely about being a helpful neighbour, and not a critic.

"We're not here to point fingers or in any way criticize the absurd, inarticulate, steaming pile of hypocrisy that comprises the current field of candidates, their respective power-mad political parties, or their unctuous 'journalist' suckups who are eroding the very bedrock of what once was an informed media institution a democracy could be proud of," Cannon said in his email.

"Passing judgement on our neighbours is just not the Canadian way."