Those of us who hang around camps and cottages, particularly lakefront camps and cottages have had some exposure to the beaver, an industrious little animal who makes his/her mark on the landscape by cutting down trees and building dams across streams etc.
While beavers can be annoying to property owners at times, they are a creature that you cannot help but like on some level. A couple of years ago, much to my frustration, a beaver was terrorizing our cottage as he kept cutting down a stand of aspen trees that we had growing. In fact, before he moved on, he knawed down about 2/3rd’s of the stand of trees, much to my chagrin.
In the end, chicken wire wrapped around the trees convinced the little lumberjack that it was time to look elsewhere.
While it was frustrating at the time, I was strangely proud of having my camp visited by a beaver, actually kind of happy that I had Canada’s national symbol visiting me on an almost nightly basis.
Polar Bears Are Majestic – Beavers are Toothy Tyrants
Canadian Senator Nicole Eaton (Ontario) says the polar bear is Canada’s “most majestic and splendid mammal,”and a powerful symbol in the lives of aboriginal peoples in the North and as such, the Senator wants to make the polar bear Canada’s national symbol instead of the beaver.
But she doesn’t end it there, she also says the beaver is a “dentally defective rat” and a “toothy tyrant”. Sounds like beavers have been knawing at Senator Eaton’s trees too. Perhaps she lost a stand of aspen trees to her own toothy tyrant beaver and has it in mind to punish them with a demotion from national symbol to rodent.
Moose are Majestic Too
The polar bear, which she calls majestic, is no doubt a majestic animal, but so is a moose or even a caribou, especially seen up close. When it comes to “majestic” I think it is hard to beat a bull moose for…um….well…”majesty” They are huge, powerful animals, recognized pretty much world wide, and certainly eye-catching. But they don’t eat people or know how to build dams.
I am often left wondering how people in high positions get to those high positions? How can a senator not know what an important role the beaver played in the creation of Canada, and how can she not know that the beaver is anything but a rat? While I suppose beavers do meet a definition of a rodent, they are far from a common rat and in my opinion, better looking.
Do they not teach new senators anything about history? Does Senator Eaton not know how hunting and trapping beavers led to the exploration and opening up of Canada? Does she not know the importance the beaver played in the life of First Nations people?
Considering her roots are in the Eaton family of Canada, yes, the Eaton family who had the now defunct Eaton stores,(1869-1999) you would think she would know something of history. (Senator Nicole Eaton is the wife of Thor Eaton, who is listed in Wilkipedia as a “horse breeder” and one of the “Eaton Boys” who are, John, Fred, Thor and George. The “boys” are said to have a combined net worth estimated at 450 million dollars)
It’s no wonder that many Canadians are in favor of abolishing the Senate, especially if this is the kind of fresh idea that they bring to Canadians. While the country struggles with an array of issues to numerous to mention here, a Senator is being paid a lot of money to come up with ideas like replacing beavers with polar bears, probably because the Senator doesn’t like the look of the beaver.
Beavers Are Engineering Marvels
Beavers create ponds and wetlands, promote new tree growth and forests, which benefit all kinds of other wildlife from birds to deer and moose and even fish and of course, man.
They build their houses (called lodges) that are engineering marvels from nothing more than tree branches and mud. Anyone who has seen an actual beaver dam knows this. As a rule, beavers, while probably pretty scrappy if cornered, don’t attack people. Seen working or swimming they are actually kind of cute.
Their worst crime is deciding to build a dam or cut down a tree somewhere that is not convenient for people. But they also also make great hats and coats… Polar bears on the other hand, are probably best known for eating people when the opportunity arises. Yes they are big, yes they are majestic, and I haven’t got anything against polar bears, but they didn’t play the role that beavers played in shaping this country.
Perhaps the good senator is going the route of saying something rather silly in order to get her name in the newspapers and on this blog. That might be all there is to this. Make a press release that will churn up the collective Canadian feeling, and if nothing else, you get in the papers and on the news.
Personally, I would prefer to have a beaver eating my trees in the backyard at the camp than a polar bear eating the me. I kind of miss the little fella’s nocturnal visits to knaw down a tree or two. It certainly was a conversation piece. But then again, I suppose if a polar bear ate me one night that would probably make quite a conversation too…..
What do you think? Should we replace the beaver with the polar bear as Canada’s National Symbol?
Read the story: Should The Beaver Be Replaced As Canada’s National Symbol?
Beaver Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons and Flikr Stevehdc
Polar Bear Photo: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Moose Photo: Wilkipedia-Public Domain
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