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Senator Pits Polar Bear Against Beaver in Fight for Canada’s National Symbol

Photo Credit: Amanda Graham (polar bears); Lazlo Ilyes (beaver)

Will the noble beaver lose its place as the mascot for the Great White North? Yes, if Senator Nicole Eaton has her way. The Ontario legislator proposed to the senate last week that the beaver be removed from his duties as Canada’s official symbol, calling the beaver a “a dentally defective rat”, while the polar bear, in her words, is Canada’s “most majestic and splendid mammal”.

The double entendre of the toothy rodent’s name doesn’t help matters. It’s what brought magazine Canada’s History (previously The Beaver) to change its name last year.

The proposal has raised a flurry of debates in the media and in the blogosphere Canada-wide, with equally ardent fans on both sides. To wit, a voice for “team polar bear” in the Calgary Herald and a rallying cry for the beaver in the Sault Star (which decries the polar bear’s tendency to eat its young and kill ever-lovable seals).

Burning questions arise should the beaver lose its emblematic status, such as: What will Parks Canada do with its giant, inflatable beavers? And will the company that makes these costumes go out of business?

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