Halifax — Traditionally, certain turns of phrase have been associated with people who live north of the American border. Some of them strike a note of national pride in Canadians from coast to coast, even while quirky sentences that end with “eh?” and pronunciations like “a-boot” have long been the subject of ridicule by our American cousins.
Another well known Canadian-ism is the apology; Canadians are known to apologize for everything from bumping into a stranger in a crowded supermarket to not having exact change at the checkout. However, the recent election of Donald Trump has put our rank as the “sorriest nation on Earth” in jeopardy.
“I’m sorry” has been popping up more and more in discourse in the U.S., even on Twitter as those who voted Trump express their deep regret. And it seems many who didn’t vote for Trump are likewise finding solace in this easy turn of phrase. People discussing topics as far-ranging as the U.S. refugee policy to the election of supreme court judges have reportedly been using “I’m sorry” both to each other and to visitors to the country.
“When I’m sitting at the coffee shop and I hear people talking politics at the next table, I just can’t help myself,” said Bangor, Maine native Natalie Brewer. “I’m compelled to offer an apology. Even though I didn’t vote for Trump!”
“I’m sorry” use in the U.S. has surpassed the Canadian usage of the term three-fold since Trump’s election. Canadian cultural experts are suggesting that we quickly come up with a new reason to apologize to each other or start adopting a new Made in Canada apology before we lose our rank on the world stage.
“It’s unprecedented!” said a spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. “We need new words. Either that or we’re going to have to find something really disturbing to apologize for, quick! If we don’t, people around the world are going to start to think Americans are nicer than us and we’re just a bunch of jerks!”