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Oh Canada

February 15, 2008 | 7 Comments

Hi GK,
We listen to your show weekly via satellite and loved your live performance when you played Shea's in Buffalo in Dec. 2007. But how come you don't ever come up to Canada? Trouble crossing the border with the immigration officials? Did you do something heinous up here in your youth and have been barred from the Country? We'd love to see you visit Toronto for a show sometime.

Greg T.

It would seem odd to me to do a show in Canada, for some reason. The last time I did one (in Vancouver), I felt awfully self-conscious about being an American, which I don't feel in Europe when we've done shows there. I don't know why this is — I feel perfectly at home in the U.K. and in Canada I feel like an interloper. And, yes, the immigration crossing was miserable. But the real reason is that it felt odd to play there. And when the CBC declined to broadcast the show, on grounds that it didn't contain enough Canadian content, I felt that I'd be better off going around the States.


Dear Garrison, I do totally understand that feeling. As an American living in Toronto, unfortunately there is quite a bit of open "disdain" for Americanism. I've always felt they would never get away with that if it were any other country! There are, however, many many Canadians who enjoy PHC and listen regularly! So please do another Buffalo show sooner, rather than later, and we will all make it over for that! (And it allows Public Radio in New York a good reason to convince us to support them!)

Welcome to the 'liberal' Canadian content dystopia north of you, GK. Actually, it's a lot like the Democrat dystopia you seem to champion more or less (mostly less) between the lines in many of your shows. Glad to hear that at gut level, you are awfully self-conscious up here and feel like an interloper. There's hope for you yet. I KNEW it!

Dear G.K.
I was disappointed with your response to the writer who took the time to praise you and invite you to visit us here in Canada. Your response seemed a bit offhanded and rude. Canadians are known around the world as warm and friendly people and it appears that some sour grapes between you and the CBC has caused you to judge an entire nation. Knowing that you feel this way about my country will really make it hard for me to enjoy your work from now on. Pity.

I think you perhaps chose the wrong venue. I live very near to Vancouver but I think that we "west coasters" fancy ourselves sophisticated and worldly. Perhaps you could give Canada another try, say in Saskatchewan or Manitoba - nearer to your own prairie roots. I think you would find the welcome much different and the feeling of alienation mitigated or non-existant.

PS: I have a huge crush on you (even if I am 60).

While it might seem like an affront to be rejected by the CBC, I can see why they would decline. It is a public broadcaster of Canadian content and in a commercial free format in radio, perhaps they would not want to pay for outside material if indeed there was money involved. I have always wondered why we couldn't have PHC on the CBC but no big deal as far as I'm concerned. Now with the internet we can listen to what we want from all over the world. I'm sure with a big city of Vancouver there was enough of a following to make up an audience but I would think it has limited appeal in Canada. We have one story telling program on CBC which is the Vinyl Cafe. Maybe that's enough.

First you sure picked the wrong city to visit. Vancouver. Toronto would be another mistake. We lived in Toronto for many years (another city that is pretty large, multicultural, great, and like Vancouver) We lived in Toronto for many years up to 3 years ago and could only get your program through the Buffalo PBS. Unfortunately your program does not likely appeal to the folks in big cities (naybe the same as New York, etc.)because it has wonderful rural routes but in the major cities everyone is just commuting, surviving, and going about their daily lives. Well many years ago, through PBS, I picked up on your program. We moved from Toronto to Calgary 3 years ago and finally discovered how to get your program on the net. You have a wonderful show, reminds me of radio when I was a boy (no, I am only 66). As far as the CBC is concerned look at the artsy/fartsy stuff they produce in the name of art. The bottom line is they just do not have the money for production and that is okay but they should not use the reason about "not enough Canadian content" for not broadcasting a lot of shows. Come up to Calgary anytime and I will be there for sure. As far as you're feeling like being American is uncomfortable in Canada we have talked to Americans many times when we visited the USA and when it comes down to talking about the kids, and using the car for the night, etc., we could be next door neighbours. There are also many Americans who make Canadians feel unwelcome. Well it is all the same in both countries. We both have some good ones and some jerks. That's life. I like being Canadian and I like Americans. That's my story and I am sticking to it. By the way I am a retired police officer (still working on contract because I did not have enough fun the first time, at least that is what I have been told) and I am as at home with my friends in the USA because we are all on the same page. This is not just with fellow officers but with all of the people we meet in both countries. Gotta put politics and politicians aside. They seem to get in the way of being friendly to our neighbours.

Rick B.

Love the show when I am able to listen from here in Rothesay New Brunswick, Canada.
Sorry you had a rough go with the CBC.

Pity you felt odd. I lived in Wyoming for a year & I and those around me embraced my alien-ness (or oddness) - quit a Canadian lark it was (& I was!).

Anyhow, really enjoy the show. Keep it up!

Drew Schedler

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