Conservative senator Nicole Eaton has said in a statement to the Senate that the beaver is no longer fit to be Canada’s national emblem, and should be replaced with the polar bear. She apparently said that the beaver was “an outdated symbol, and a destructive rodent”.
The beaver has been the official emblem of the country since 1975 but the senator believes that it is time for an an “emblem makeover”.
“Many accuse the dentally defective rat of being a nuisance that wreaks havoc on farmlands, roads, lakes, streams and tree plantations,” she said, adding that a country’s symbols can “change over time”.
“It is high time that the beaver step aside as a Canadian emblem or, at the least, share the honour with the stately polar bear.”
Ms Eaton’s staff told The Globe and Mail newspaper that the senator was a fan of polar bears – she has several photos of the Arctic beast in her office. However, a member of Parliament who represents Manitoba said removing the beaver would ignore the animal’s impact on Canada’s history.
“Polar bears are cool but the beaver played a pivotal role in the history of Canada,” said New Democratic Party MP Pat Martin. “It was the relentless pursuit of beaver that opened the great Northwest.” Early French and English colonists worked and lived in the country’s far reaches to trap beavers for their pelts.
Michael Runtz, a natural history professor at Carleton University told Canadian television that the national emblem is not just a question of history.
“They are like Canadians. Their demeanour is very pleasant,” he added. “Polar bears inspire fear.”
Thank goodness we don’t have this problem in the UK. All the countries in Britain have their own patron saint and floral emblem:
I really can’t see this changing anytime soon – or being debated in Parliament for that matter!!!