"My predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness."
The remaking of the image of Canada's world presence from the last federal election is supposed to be about policy, not appearances. But we're finding that Canada's image transition is a bit of both.
"Export, baby, export" was Stephen Harper's variation of Sarah Palin's "drill." Trudeau is smart to play up all kinds of energy options, not just for the world's perception, but the low price of oil and the oil eggs in one basket is hurting Canada's economy right now.
The shift in the climate change approach by the new prime minister is part of why Canada is suddenly … hip, to quote from The New York Times.
Justin Trudeau — "the muscular, blue-eyed, social-media-savvy son of the former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau" — isn't the only Canadian who is hip these days, according to this The New York Times style article last week. What, no love for his hair?
With the Rise of Justin Trudeau, Canada Is Suddenly … Hip? (The New York Times)
Trudeau had dinner with Leonardo DiCaprio in Davos in part to reassure the actor that climate change was coming to Canada. DiCaprio speaks up often on environmental issues, though his take on linking climate change to Chinook winds was extremely odd. DiCaprio filmed part of his latest film "The Revenant" in Canada and is the odds-on favourite to win the Oscar next month. Having dinner with Leonardo DiCaprio will increase your hip quotient.
Xavier Dolan and Sarah Polley — 2 of my favourite Canadian filmmakers are on the "hip" list. People in the know do know who Dolan is, but fashion editors don't know because "(H)is obscurity may have something to do with the fact that he is from Canada, the country that gave the world ice hockey, the snow blower and Labatt beer."
Gee, I thought people didn't know Dolan because his films are deep and are in French with subtitles. Hopefully, those who are discovering Dolan with his new French film and American film will go back and reflect on his Quebecois masterpieces.
Sarah Polley "who makes films of subtle power" makes the list though Polley "does not produce work that is meant to comfort." The latter praise is not limited to Polley but applies to other Canadian artists, such as Grimes, the Weeknd, and Sarah Nicole Prickett. The Polley film "Take This Waltz" fits that compliment but may also be why this film is severely undervalued in the marketplace. Even more surprising that Polley is mentioned since she has virtually dropped off the scene since "Stories We Tell."
The article has brief profiles for Canadians making the hip cut, though the profiles are sometimes as breezy as a spring dress.
- The Weeknd gets mentioned without noting that he is up for an Oscar in February, though the Oscars nod for Rachel McAdams was noted.
- Nice to promote Samantha Bee's new TBS show, though its attempt to "rescue late night from the doldrums of male domination that have plagued it since Fox gave Joan Rivers the heave-ho" leaves out Chelsea Handler.
- Dolan's bio mentions the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, but not a single film he has done. However, we do learn that Dolan saw "Titanic," directed by Canadian James Cameron, more than 100 times. Sarah Polley's bio was straightforward about her directorial history.
- Drake, Ryan Gosling, and Justin Bieber are all on the list.
The article salutes Canada's "sultans of cool in the past" — Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and "the coolest cat in a hat," Leonard Cohen.
Being more hip comes at a time where Canada is getting more visitors, especially from the United States. Visits of U.S. residents to Canada reached 3.24 million in July 2015, the highest for the month since July 2008.
The low Canadian dollar has a great deal to increased tourism, but you can't impress someone unless they comes to visit. With warmer weather not that far away and the dollar continuing to fall, tourism to Canada this summer should be well above normal.
Molly Parker is one of my favourite Canadian actresses because she is talented but also because she is cool. We have certainly written about many cool Canadian women over the years, usually around Valentine's Day.
Cool is not always hip, but cool usually means being comfortable with who you are and not worrying about what the rest of the world thinks about you. The phrase "cool center" is one I've used before, but definitely fits.
Sarah Polley turned down the lead role in "Almost Famous" because she knew she wasn't the right person for the role. The New York Times article mentions that Rachel McAdams declined to appear "nude" on a Vanity Fair cover. Being who they are was more important to these actresses.
That makes them cool, which is hip in my book.
Canadians have had to be resourceful in terms of dealing with the image of the country under Stephen Harper and the reality of the economy. Putting all your economy in a basket isn't cool. Being resourceful is cool.
We know mistakes happen all too well, but some of that Canadian coolness doesn't always apply to actual Canadians. The original version of The New York Times article identified Gilda Radner and Andrea Martin as Canadian. They aren't Canadian but definitely honoree Canadians and extremely funny. They were funny even before they got to Canada but we hope Canada played its part in their humour.
photo credit: Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press via The Associated Press