A Pop Quiz for Canadian Citizens

Lost in the hoopla over whether Ms Ishaq can take the Oath of Citizenship while wearing a niqab is the fact that she actually passed the citizenship test.

Which made Ms Soapbox wonder:  how many Canadians, veiled or unveiled, could pass the citizenship test if they were asked to take one.*

So pop quiz!

Yes, yes, I know it’s not fair. Citizenship candidates are allowed to study for the test and you have to take it cold, but hey, you’ve lived here your whole life, how hard can it be?

The Soapbox Citizenship Test

Question 1: When taking the Oath of Citizenship we profess loyalty to:

  1. The Flag
  2. Canada
  3. The Queen
  4. The Prime Minister

Answer: 3 (notwithstanding what ex-Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says)

Question 2: Which is NOT a Canadian citizen’s responsibility:

  1. Obeying the law
  2. Helping others in the community
  3. Protecting our environment
  4. Being your brother’s keeper

Answer: 4…although this would be a nice thing to do

Question 3: Parliament has three parts. They are:

  1. The Sovereign, the Senate and the House of Commons
  2. The Prime Minister, Cabinet and the Assembly
  3. The Prime Minister, the House of Commons and the Senate
  4. The Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister

Answer: 1 (would someone please tell the Prime Minister)

Question 4: Senators are appointed by the Prime Minister and serve until:

  1. They reach 75
  2. They’re caught cheating on their expenses
  3. They’re disavowed by the party that appointed them
  4. They die

Answer: 1 although 2 and 4 may apply depending on the circumstances

Question 5: The Prime Minister is:

  1. The head of state
  2. The head of government
  3. The head of Parliament
  4. A man with a big head

Answer: 2 (the Queen is the head of state, she wears big hats)

Question 6: What was the “Great Upheaval”:

  1. The 1918 earthquake on Vancouver Island
  2. The expulsion of the Acadians
  3. The rout of Kim Campbell’s Conservatives in 1993

Answer: 2 (unless you were a Conservative under Kim Campbell’s reign)

Question 7: Canada is referred to as:

  1. The land of peace keepers
  2. The land of immigrants
  3. The land of assimilation
  4. The first nation of hockey

Answer: 2 notwithstanding Canada’s lackluster performance compared to other countries

Question 8: Canada is a:

  1. Federal state
  2. Parliamentary democracy
  3. Constitutional monarchy
  4. Harperland
  5. All of the above except 4

Answer: 5 (Green leader Elizabeth May disagrees.  She says the Prime Minister’s Office has so much power that Canada is a parliamentary dictatorship)

Question 9: Federal elections must be held:

  1. Every four years on the third Monday in October
  2. Whenever the Prime Minister feels like it
  3. When the Governor General calls it
  4. When people carrying torches and pitchforks surround 24 Sussex Drive

Answer: 1 but 2 and 3 could also be true because the PM can amend the law to call an early election and the GG can call an early election if the PM loses the confidence of the House

Question 10: After an election the government might be:

  1. A majority government
  2. A minority government
  3. A coalition government
  4. A mess
  5. All of the above

Answer: 5 (and depending on how the vote goes on Oct 19 we’ll soon find out)

Question 11: Which of these is NOT a Canadian symbol:

  1. The fleur-de-lys
  2. The maple leaf
  3. The Canadian flag
  4. The number 99 sewn on to a hockey jersey

Answer: 4 (sorry Wayne)

Question 12: The highest level in Canada’s justice system is:

  1. The Federal Court of Appeal
  2. The Supreme Court of Canada
  3. The House of Lords
  4. The Prime Minister

Answer: 2 Canada’s system of governance is split into three branches: the judicial branch (the courts), the executive branch (the Monarch, the PM and his cabinet) and the Legislative branch (the Monarch, the House of Commons and the Senate).  Each is independent of the other although the PM thinks otherwise  

Question 13: British Columbia joined Canada because Ottawa promised to:

  1. Make Ogopogo a protected species thereby reducing the risk of capture
  2. Open a movie house in Powell River
  3. Build a railway
  4. Let BC keep the Sasquatch

Answer: 3 British Columbia passed its own laws protecting Ogopogo, the movie house was built in 1913 and the Sasquatch is MIA  

Question 14: Which of these was NOT invented by a Canadian:

  1. Time zones
  2. The electric light bulb
  3. The cardiac pacemaker
  4. Poutine

Answer: 4. This is a trick question. Fernand Lachance invented poutine in 1957 but Immigration Canada does not recognize poutine as a uniquely Canadian invention…pity.  

Bonus Question: Who is the Prime Minister?

  1. Jason Kenney
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Stephen Harper
  4. Lord Voldemort

Answer: 3 or 4 depending on your level of paranoia  

If you got 11 questions right you pass. If not, please try again after the election. The answer to the bonus question will change and life will become more pleasant for old-stock and  new-stock Canadians alike.

*NOTE: The Soapbox “citizenship” test is based on the Discover Canada study guide but is not by any stretch of the imagination an official version of the test.  

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20 Responses to A Pop Quiz for Canadian Citizens

  1. Elaine Fleming says:

    Thanks for this enlightening quiz, Susan. If it weren’t for the “big Head question I would have passed, darn it!

    Actually this was an interesting exercise, because it prompted me to go back in time to 2008, when then Governor General Michaelle Jean allowed Stephen Harper to prorogue our Parliament, and hence saved his butt. (Please correct me if I am wrong).

    I remember at the time feeling so optimistic that she would tell Harper to go fly a kite, as the democratic situation dictated (and the majority of Canadians desired.) But, as the meeting went on …. and on… I got a sinking feeling that things were going to go south. I always wondered what transpired in that meeting.

    It seems to me the Governor General , figurehead from England, does not serve the interest of Canadians very well and doesn’t have a legitimate place in our governance. Our people, democratic institutions, environment, scientific progress, social programs, sense of national identity and our reputation internationally, have all suffered since this happened.

    On a personal level, I would have thought Michaelle Jean, having been a refugee from Haiti would have taken a stronger stance against the tyranny of the Conservative party and their antidemocratic manouvers. But, that’s me.

    Aside from my personal hopes for her, it made me very aware of the Governor General’s power in this country. It is unnerving to see how much appointed, unelected officials have influence to “game” our governance. The Canadian Senate, ditto.

    • Elaine Fleming says:

      Um spelling, sorry Susan! “Prorogue”.

    • Elaine you raise an extremely relevant concern because Governor General David Johnston may be faced with the very same scenario–the prospect of a non-confidence vote that might topple Harper’s government. The things I’ve read about why Michaelle Jean allowed Harper to prorogue Parliament are contradictory. Some reports say she was concerned that Harper’s propoganda attack on the possibility of a Dion-Layton coalition poisoned Canadians’ confidence in a coalition government and it would be chaos, others say she was pleased she managed to get Harper to agreed to bring back Parliament and table a budget that would have sufficient support to pass (and that’s what happened because the Liberals supported it). Apparently Harper said that if Michaelle Jean refused to prorogue Parliament he’d have gone over her head to the Queen. Maybe that’s why he’s such a monarchist–he’s keeping all his options open. It’s going to be a very interesting fall!

      • We need a return to the democratic framework and expectations we understand, not the whim of SH and his lackeys! Personal preferences that have a great bearing on the future of the country and our society should not be ‘impulsive’ and to support personal power intentions! Grrrrr……

      • Jane, you nailed it when you referred to government by whim. Nothing illustrates that more clearly than the niqab debate. Today’s Globe & Mail reports that Harper conducted a poll in March on this issue and found that 82% of those polled support “a requirement that people show their face during Canadian citizenship ceremonies”. Focus groups told pollsters that aside from the identification question (which is a nonissue given that it’s satisfied in private behind a privacy screen) “removing their niqab…was the normal thing to do in Canada and therefore the Canadian government was right in issuing this direction about showing their faces.”

        I don’t know what could be scarier than to discover that the Harper government believes it can govern based, not on what is legal, but on what a focus group thinks is “normal”. Anyone who dismisses this as a trivial issue should ask themselves how a focus poll group handpicked by Harper would categorize gay marriage.

  2. ronmac says:

    A thought-provoking list. Unfortunately you left out some. Permit me to make a few additions.

    Question 15: The basic direction of the Gov’t of Canada is set by who?

    1. The Prime Minister together with his or her cabinet.
    2. By the Members of Parliament who pass laws based on the wishes of their constituents
    3. The Queen.
    4. The U.S. State Department.

    Answer: No brainer here. #4

    Question 16: What is the proper protocol for the US Gov’t to pass along its “agenda priorities” (orders) to the Office of the Prime Minister?

    1. Thru the office of the Governor General who then must clear it first with the Queen.
    2. A representative of U.S. Gov’t flies to Ottawa to deliver the orders.
    3. A representative of Canadian Gov’t flies to Washington to pick the orders.
    4. Representatives of both governments will meet in a cafe outside Niagara Falls.

    Answer: Now this is a tricky one. It all depends on which political party happens in power at the time. If it’s the Liberals then #2 is correct. If the PC’s are in power then #3 is the correct answer. If it’s the NDP (a real possibility after Oct 19) then I suspect #4 may be the correct answer.

  3. GoinFawr says:

    The definition of “hubris” best fits which of the following:

    1) respecting the wishes of an overwhelming majority of the eligible electorate and requiring that companies surreptitiously feeding unproven technologies to, well, everyone label their products the way that democracy demands.

    2) using public resources in seeking to implement secretly negotiated international trade agreements with contractual obligations that extend over three decades beyond the next electoral test of your Party’s mandate.

    3) being a federal employment minister who would never keep his staff late and then alienate a third of the country’s workforce by writing,
    “thank goodness they’re not unionized!”

    4) refraining from converting government agencies into private spy agencies for the private sector

    5) receiving ~26% of the eligible electorates approval and calling it a “Majority government”

    • Thanks GoinFawr, although I’ve got to say this is a tough one, perhaps if I focused on the definition of the most hubristic (if that’s a word)…

      • GoinFawr says:

        #2 is the answer. While #5 is a contender, in my opinion the sheer audacity of an allegedly ‘transparent 2.0’ government making, in secrecy, international deals with obligations for Canadians that extend over 3 decades beyond its current mandate beats, in sheer hubris, stretching the statistical truth furnished by the few votes a stunningly apathetic electorate provides.

  4. Carlos Beca says:

    Susan I have no questions for your exam but I do have one that I could not find an answer.
    So according to the new law Steven Harper has the right to take citizenship away from anyone that became a Canadian Citizen through naturalization rather than birth. So now I understand what he meant by ‘old stock’. In other words Steven Harper has more rights as a citizen than anyone else that got it by naturalization, if this is the correct word to use. So I guess his logic is based on the fact that his family has been here longer. Let us suppose (I do not know) that he is a second generation Canadian citizen. This means that his great grandparents could have been stripped of Canadian citizenship but not him because he is now a ‘TRUE’ Canadian. Ok if that is the case I wonder what his logic his in regards to our native Indians? They have been here for at least 10 thousand years according to archeology and so they do have the right to take it away from anybody that has not been here that long.
    I truly wonder if he even understands his logic if it is what I just described.
    So far the only logic from him I seem to understand is that ‘we should not be living beyond our means’ and even this one is a bit tricky because our means according to him are defined as ‘whatever is left over after we have given all we have to corporations and the very rich’.
    Anyway I need help on this one. 🙂 Appreciate it 🙂
    By the way for those who do not know the answer to Susan question ‘Who is our prime minister’ – it is the person I am describing above. Yes he is our Prime Minister’ – the man who wants to decide who gets to loose citizenship if you do not do what he wants. Right now he says that it is only in case if you are a terrorist but the question is ‘What is his definition of terrorist?’ Not too long ago his government called environmental activists eco-terrorists. Pretty tricky is it not, especially considering his government just absolutely does not believe in anything to protect our environment other than through market forces.
    Gosh we have some very challenging times ahead especially considering that despite all Harper’s troubling ideology there still is the possibility he will win a minority government and the other two parties cannot even talk to each other. It really brings me to an interview I just watched on RT which puts in doubt that Democracy can actually take us through what we will for sure have to face in the very near future.

    • Carlos, I’ve been trying to understand Harper’s logic for his position on citizenship–there are two classes of citizens in Canada, those who are born here and those who become citizens through naturalization. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no logic to his position whatsoever (as you rightly point out in your example). No logic, no rule of law, just the whims of a PM who justifies his position based on what he and his Conservative base consider “normal” in Canadian society. We all know that “normal”, unlike a Charter rights or the rule of law, is in the eye of the beholder. Until 1960 it was normal to deny First Nations Canadians the right to vote. Until 2005 it was normal to deny same sex couples the right to marry. It’s a very frightening situation and one that Canadians must rectify on Oct 19 by voting for anyone but a Conservative.

  5. GoinFawr says:

    Susan, yesterday marked the end of menthol cigarettes for adults in Alberta. Like the death of disco, I personally shall not mourn their minty passing (“Groove is in the heart”, after all), and, aside from writing this, I shall restrain myself from wafting stinky clouds of ire at those who would rescind yet another of my surplus rights and privileges rather than endeavoring to expand them as I had hoped, though I’d be lying if I said I was pleased about it.

    • Interesting point GoinFawr…I’ve been so focused on Harper and the federal election that I really haven’t given the demise of menthol cigarettes much thought. I believe the point of this legislation is to prevent young people from becoming addicted to cigarettes, and I think you’re asking whether this is the right way to go about it, am I correct?

      • GoinFawr says:

        From where I stand I see that for quite some time now the law has been perfectly clear about who’s and who’s not legally qualified to purchase tobacco products, of any denomination. The seller is culpable for any breaches in the conditions of their license whenever a transaction with an unqualified purchaser of their tobacco products occurs.
        Those that make up the set of “unqualified” currently include those too young to vote.
        Job Done.

        Sharpen the penalties of the laws already in place and use the proceeds to educate, or something like. But creating another subset of ‘criminal by addiction’ (however tiny), and adding another item to the ‘illicit’ list has generally only ever made things worse for the addicted, while benefiting the less than scrupulous.

        Which brings us to the principle of the thing…

        …but I promised not to, uh, waft.

      • Well said GoinFawr. Thank you…and thanks for not wafting 🙂

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