December 24, 2008
In an insidious attempt to alter our sometimes staunchly myopic world view, Canada has made a bold preemptive Christmas strike, declaring that Santa Claus is a Canadian citizen. While Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States have all laid claim to the North Pole, as they jockey for position due to the abundance of natural resources (translate: oil) found in the Arctic, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, yesterday officially designated Santa as a Canadian citizen, with air rights to fly over the country at any time.
Kenney said: “The Government of Canada wishes Santa the very best in his Christmas Eve duties and wants to let him know that, as a Canadian citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete.”
The Kremlin has remained silent about the sudden Santa situation. Russia has its own patron saint of Christmas — Ded Moroz, or “Father Frost.” Father Frost. however, is believed to live in the Russian town of Veliky Ustyug. Veliky Ustyug is a Johnny-come-lately, though, as it wasn’t until 1998 that Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov proposed it as the official residence of Ded Moroz, usurping Father Frost’s more traditional Laplandia location. A resort located 10 miles from Veliky Ustyug promotes itself as the “estate” of Father Frost. There are plans to build an amusement park at the estate. Russians are quick studies, when it comes to capitalism.
Canada.com claims that Santa Claus is “more Canadian than any other nationality because the colors of Santa’s robes resemble [Canada’s] flag. That seems a tad far-fetched. Actually, Pajamadeen thinks this notion stretches the limits of credulity. Other factoids favoring Canada’s claim to Santa citizenry include:
- Data from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which has been tracking Santa’s travels via satellite for more than 50 years, has consistently shown that Santa’s sleigh rides originate in the Canadian Arctic.
- Santa has his very own Canada Post postal code, H0H 0H0.
A Canada Post spokesman, Malcolm French, commented: “Postal code readers all over the world recognize the H0H 0H0 postal code as belonging to Canada.” The global perception that Santa Claus lives in Canada seems to be increasing; in 2007, Canada Post delivered more than 1.2 million letters to Santa — a 14 percent increase over 2006. Technically, Santa’s postal code indicates that he lives somewhere in Montreal. In 1974,
employees elves at Canada Post’s Montreal office began answering letters to Santa Claus which were being handled as undeliverable mail. Santa’s mail increased every year, to the point that Canada Post began an official Santa Claus letter-response program in 1983. Approximately one million hopeful letters from all corners of the world arrive for Santa Claus each year, and all of them are answered in the same languages in which they’re written, from Albanian to Vietnamese.
International law states that no country has dominion over the North Pole, but that hasn’t stopped tempers and tensions from flaring in the squabble over Arctic natural resources. Former Canadian foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay lashed out at Russia last year, after the Russkis placed their flag at the bottom of the Beaufort Sea, which is rich in natural gas deposits and petroleum (translate: oil). And it’s been less than three weeks since the Canadian government proposed legislation which would expand Canada’s sovereignty over Arctic waters. Is citizenship minister Kenney trying to politicize Santa — touting jolly St. Nick’s Canadian citizenship to lend street cred to Canada’s claims to Arctic wealth? Santa as a geoeconomics football? Perhaps it would be prudent for Pajamadeen to conclude her incisive faux analysis of current events.
Is Santa really Canadian? Who knows. We do know that children of all ages can write to him at Santa Claus / North Pole HOH OHO / CANADA. Merry Christmas to all of our faithful, if warped, readers. Especially Rakish Randy, who has been promoted from Wrinkled Randy.
Read about Santa’s use of sign language to delight deaf children.
Photo credits: Rob Huntley and Slim Allagui / AFP/Getty Images
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