The debaters: Team Polar Beaver (Elisha Dacey, Metro Winnipeg) VS. Team Beaver (Sean Mckibbon, Metro Ottawa)
Sean: Polar bears are too intimidating to be Canada’s national symbol.
Elisha: There’s nothing wrong with Canada’s new symbol being a little more intimidating than the beaver. We can’t be a nation of apologetic fur-trappers with big teeth forever, plodding along like a wet oversized rat.
Sean: The beaver is the entrepreneur and engineer of the animal kingdom. Hardworking industrious and clever, the beaver launched not one, but two national retailers, HBC and the Northern Store. It taught humans about the lumber industry, the fur trade and how to build hydroelectric dams.
Who would you rather have as a role model for kids? A Coca-Cola-swilling albino bully who gets his kicks killing cute baby seals and making Sir Paul McCartney cry before he heads down to the Churchill dump to scavenge for parts for his Trans Am, or an industrial tycoon?
It’s Trailer Park Boys vs. Dragons’ Den here and the beaver-capitalist is coming out on top.
Elisha: We need a symbol that shows our strength, our pride, and matches the majesty of our beautiful country. Not one that shows off our flabby belly.
The polar bear is a fuzzy-pawed survivalist. Able to live through the harshest of conditions, the polar bear is so hardcore it can take on a beluga whale. There’s no cozying up in a den to sleep through the winter like most bears. They tough it out. They survive in the open tundra. They’re at the top of the food chain. And they’re good-looking, to boot. It’s an image Coca-Cola is smart enough to cultivate. Being clever and industrious is fine for sidekicks. Being majestic, fearless and quietly strong is better for leaders.
Sean: I’ll take an animal who builds a safe, sturdy house for his family and sticks around to raise his young over one that leaves a trail of single bear mothers who are forced to burrow into a snow bank to find a place to hibernate with their kids.
Beavers are dam fine animals.
Elisha: Like I said, polar bears are survivors. They can make a home out of anything, even a snowbank, and Mama is fierce enough to raise her cubs on her own.
And I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t mind munching on a tasty beaver — spitting their pelts out as they go.
Well, folks? Did they sway you to the other side?