Taboo avoidance in Canada?

From Canadian Reuters, a report on Canada’s emblematic animal (from October 28th):

Polar bear threatens beaver as Canada national symbol

The beginning of the story:

TORONTO (Reuters) – A Canadian senator has launched a campaign to replace the industrious beaver with the indomitable polar bear as Canada’s national emblem, saying the incumbent is “a dentally defective rat.”

Conservative Senator Nicole Eaton delivered her damning criticism in the Senate on Thursday, noting that the beavers wreak havoc on the dock at her waterfront cottage every summer.

“A country’s symbols are not constant and can change over time,” she said. “The polar bear, with its strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity is perfect for the part.”

The beaver became Canada’s only official national animal in 1975. Trade in the beaver pelts, used to make fashionable fur hats, drove European expansion in North America in the 1600s and early 1700s.

Eaton said the ever-busy dambuilders are now nuisance, but avoided mentioning another gnawing problem with the emblem: In modern times, its name is slang for female genitals.

Last year The Beaver, one of Canada’s oldest magazines, re-christened itself Canada’s History, complaining that its emails and newsletters were being blocked by Internet filters.

The magazine said market research showed younger Canadians and women were not interested in buying the publication because of its name.

(The beaver continues to be MIT’s mascot.)

I doubt that Eaton’s campaign will come to anything, though it might be fun to speculate on other candidates to replace the beaver: the loon, the RCMP horse, the caribou, the Canada goose, and so on.

3 Responses to “Taboo avoidance in Canada?”

  1. Victor Steinbok Says:

    I hate to say this, but the loon is already trying to replace the beaver. And, as you say, her efforts are likely to come to nought.

    Canada geese are not named after the country–in fact, the species has nothing to do with either Canada or geese.

    The RCMP is highly unlikely to become the national animal because it is likely to lead to jokes about Canadian politicians being horses’ asses. It’s not that the joke may not already be a valid point–by why give it extra credence?

    And you forgot the Moose–although this would likely lead to further proliferation of Bullwinkle, Boris and Natasha jokes.

    Anything I missed?

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    Besides MIT, other U.S. colleges with a beaver mascot: Oregon State Univ., Cal Tech, Univ. of Maine at Farmington, American River College in Sacramento, Bemidgi State Univ. in Bemidgi MN.

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