I’ve read a number of Will Ferguson’s books, starting with Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw and including his Dummies Guide to Canadian History. What started out as a search on the Toronto Public Library’s online catalog led me to this volume with a rather combative title. Who could hate Canadians? It’s a fantastic read, from a Canadian returning to his homeland (!) who wonders whether Canadians deserve Canada.
If you haven’t read Will Ferguson’s books, well, perhaps you have a good reason but I think they’re very accessible and often a lot of fun. I didn’t care for Happiness but thought Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw was a riot. He seems rather irreverent and he blends Canadian history thoroughly through the books I’ve read.
Why I Hate Canadians is definitely dated (first published in 1997) and so it’s actually a great window into the stresses currently on Canada: French-Canadian separatism, etc. It’s interesting to someone who didn’t live here because he also discusses a lot of threads that lead to 1997, including a number of grassroots, culture-building exercises like Katimavik (official site). Ferguson returns frequently to why Canadians are so “nice” and the tensions that arise in ensuring that they are NOT like the United States.
Anyone reading this to see why Ferguson hates Canadians will end up disappointed, but the book is an interesting history from a writer in the late ’90s. It’s apparently been re-issued in a 10th anniversary edition but the Toronto Public Library (more Will Ferguson @ TPL) copy I had was the original. Perhaps it’s been updated but I hope not. Anyone wanting an updated Will Ferguson history should look at his Dummies guide!