Oh! Canada!

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One of the worst possible mistakes that a TV show can make is regarding a foreign country.   Make a blooper about another nation, and you can be sure that her subjects will be writing in with understandable fury that you have misrepresented them. Rather embarrassingly, we have made two errors in recent years relating to our Canadian cousins.

The first is quite simple to amend. Stephen said:

"The Dionnes, they were known as. There were these five girls who were born from a single egg to a rather poor family, and the father started talking about exhibiting them himself because they were very famous; in those days, before all kinds of fertility treatments, it was much rarer to have this kind of multiple births. So the government took over and put them in a hospital, and then, slowly, the hospital started to admit people, and it became the single biggest attraction in Canada. In '98, Mike Harris, who was the, err, Prime Minister, travelled to apologise to the two remaining ones and give them four million dollars as compensation, and apologise on behalf of Canada"

"err" indeed. Mike Harris apologised to the Dionne Quintuplets on behalf of the government of Ontario, not the government of Canada - because he was Premier of Ontario, not Prime Minister of Canada. Nor has he ever been prime minister. In fact, one correspondent wrote: " His being in charge of Ontario was bad enough - let's not give him the rest of the country" - a stance that the elves could not possibly comment upon. It seems that it was something of a slip of the tongue by Stephen, for which we apologise.

Another slip came a few years later with the following: "No, it's easy to forget with the Mounties... That's the Canadian police. If you're a policeman in Canada you're a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP." Again, this is totally incorrect. The Mounties may well be the largest police force in Canada, but they're far from the only one; there are plenty of other law-enforcement agencies in the various Canadian provinces.

To elucidate a little further, the following comes from Paul Hepden from Croyden who asked, of all people, Canadian criminal author Michael Slade (pseudonym for Jay and Rebecca Clarke) - here was their response:

"It's a little complicated. The Federal Government legislates Canada's criminal laws, but the Provincial Governments enforce them. The Mounties are Canada's police force for some offences. In addition, municipalities can decide to contract with the Mounties for local policing, or set up their own forces."

So we stand corrected, and hope you Canadians continue to hold us to task. In return, we'll keep trying to get the show onto your television screens.





If you see anything that in QI's input that doesn't seem quite right, get in touch by e-mail at elves@qi.com or visit our talkboards at qi.com/talk

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I would like to clarify the clarification concerning the role of the RCMP in Canada. The RCMP are primarily concerned with federal (national) law enforcement as well as international policing activities (cooperation with Interpol, FBI, Scotland Yard, etc.). Some provinces have provincial police forces to enforce provincial laws (eg. Ontario:OPP, Quebec:QPP, Newfoundland and Labrador:RNC). Those that do not will contract with the RCMP to enforce provincial law in that province in addition to the RCMP's main responsibilities. Large municipalities, in all provinces, will have local police forces that enforce local, provincial and federal laws in cooperation with the higher level policing organizations.
I accept that I will lose points for pedantry.

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This page contains a single entry by eggshaped published on October 18, 2010 2:22 PM.

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