Okay, so this is a little bit weird. The Chicago Tribune, in the city where I live, praises Canada in an editorial.
And the press in Canada is loving it.
The impetus of the editorial stems from the hiring of Marc Trestman from the Montreal Alouettes. Some Chicago Bears fans may have discovered that there is a CFL. Marv Levy, who is from Chicago, followed a similar path from the CFL to the NFL.
And it doesn't hurt that in terms of the NHL team "half the team hails from Canada." If you break down the numbers purely by where they were born, the praise is true. Captain Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Searbrook are the most prominent Canadians on the roster. Coach Joel Quenneville, mentioned in the editorial, is from Windsor, just across the border from its biggest rival, Detroit.
The editorial praises Canada's economic situation, stable banks, stable housing market, better health care, source of oil. The editorial desperately wants the Keystone XL pipeline to be approved. The editorial should have pointed out that Canada is already the United States #1 source for oil.
The editorial writers also praise Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper "we know many Americans have never heard of him" for his quest to open up new markets for trade.
Chicago and Illinois already trade quite heavily with Canada, as I can vouch for in dealings with the Canada-U.S. Business Council (formerly the Canadian Club of Chicago), something not mentioned in the editorial.
The take on poutine is rather amusing.
This homely dish, a tradition in Quebec, has become a popular menu item at some of Chicago's trendiest eateries. Take a mess of french fries, sprinkle on cheese curds then ladle brown gravy all over it. Embellishments range from foie gras to kimchi. Reactions range from "Yuck" to "Yum."
Poutine commands attention, like so many imports from the land of moose and maples.
The editorial could have mentioned the sold-out upcoming Poutine Fest in Chicago, but did not.
The key to the editorial is the perception of Canada. The country is vast and complicated, like any other country. Some stereotypes are thrown in, some good and some bad. But some careful research was done that has been overlooked elsewhere in the States (banks and housing markets leap to mind).
Cities closer to Canada see and feel more about the relationship between the two countries. And Chicago can easily access points to Canada, east and west, via multiple forms of transportation.
Let's leave this with the finishing touches from the editorial, and some more love from Canada, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.
Land of the north, Chicago is calling to you. Calling your sesame bagels, smoked meat and Tim Hortons double-doubles. Calling your low rates of gun crime, and universal health care. Calling your oil, especially your oil. We hope some of that Canadian good fortune rubs off on our city.