Top 10 Most Outspoken CanadiansApril 30, 2021
Canadians are pretty well known for being some of the nicest people in the world, with civility and courteousness among the pleasant national traits. And yet, just as there are shy Americans, Aussies who are rubbish at sport, and British people with no sense of humour, so too there are Canadians who are rather louder and more outspoken than normal. Of course, those from the Yukon, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories are perhaps better known for being a little less on the friendly side in general, but given the weather, they can be forgiven. In no particular order, here are ten of the most outspoken Canadians you'll ever find.
Even in the World of Academia
Free speech is a good thing, but people nowadays are increasingly disagreeing on where the line should be drawn. Professor Rick Mehta found himself on the wrong side of the line and got turfed out of his academic job at Acadia University. Worse yet, he ended up losing out on a $50,000 settlement after an arbitrator found he broke the terms of the deal in a series of tweets.
So what did Mehta do and say? Well, the university alleges he harassed students, didn't teach required material, and breached privacy. For his part, Mehta believes he was kicked out for not being committed to social justice and speaking out against the university on this matter.
Opponent of Political Correctness
Controversial figures don't come with a much higher profile than Jordan Peterson, whose rise in the public consciousness was perhaps crystallised by his now famous interview with Cathy Newman of the UK's Channel 4 in 2018 (which now has 29.8m views on Youtube). Peterson is an opponent of political correctness, once teaming up with Stephen Fry to argue against it in a debate versus Michael Dyson and Michelle Goldberg.
Needless to say, political correctness is a divisive topic, with some equating it to restricting speech and actions by playing bigot cards rather than winning arguments, and others viewing it as opposition to bigotry and promoting inclusivity. As a staunch adversary of political correctness, Peterson has gained many supporters, and detractors.
So what does this Canadian professor of psychology believe? He's against the proliferation of victimhood as seen with microaggressions, and strongly for personal responsibility, and has nothing but contempt for concepts such as Islamophobia and 'white privilege', describing the former as a tool to manipulate morons and the latter as a Marxist lie. Perhaps his most surprising comments came in 2016 when he described the new president (Donald Trump) as a liberal and moderate.
A Medal Machine
Canadian sprint champion Donovan Bailey is mostly known for being a splendid fellow, a medal machine, and for, sadly, having his excellent career on track cut short due to rupturing his Achilles tendon in 1998. Oddly, he's also known for making a rude chicken comment and, despite being outspoken, Canadians took the remark to heart and it only made Bailey more popular.
The chicken story revolves around a 150m race between our outspoken Canadian and Michael Johnson. At the time, Bailey was the 100m Olympic champion, with Johnson holding Olympic gold medals for the 200m and 400m, leading to a unique, albeit unofficial, 150m race to determine who was the fastest. It had been claimed by the mathematically challenged that Johnson's faster average speed in his 200m gold time made him the fastest man on Earth (disregarding that the standing start is a larger proportion of the 100m). And so the contest was on.
Unsurprisingly, the claim the Canadian 100m champ wasn't the fastest annoyed many in Canada, but the fiery contest turned into a damp squib when Bailey won easily and Johnson pulled up clutching his quadriceps. Bailey's response was strong: he said his opponent wasn't injured, he was just a chicken. And Canadians loved it.
Outspoken Canadians and Politics
Next up on our outspoken Canadians list we move to the world of politics. It takes a lot for the mayor of Toronto to become top news across the Atlantic, and around the world, but Rob Ford managed it. And not because of his stellar political leadership and cunning policy platform. The weird part is that Ford's crass actions weren't the product of a celebrity dabbling in politics or a paper candidate thrust into the limelight with a shock election victory. He was a politician for over a decade, but his loud remarks and rude acts became an uncomfortable, ongoing news story.
In his earlier political career, as a councillor, he was noted for personally responding rapidly to concerns of his constituents. But in 2008 he said 'Those Oriental people work like dogs', claiming the crass remarks were intended as a compliment (he did end up apologising). In 2012, on Saint Patrick's Day (not coincidentally), he insulted staff and made racist remarks against a cab driver. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he lost his bid to be re-elected as Toronto's mayor. Having fun at the casino or enjoying a drink is one thing, but Ford's a sad example of what happens when a booze hound gets carried away.
Outspoken Canadian Commentator
Sports broadcaster Don Cherry, not to be confused with the jazz trumpeter of the same name, is one of the most outspoken Canadians on our list, which is not surprising as commentators do tend to love the sound of their own voices. A one time Boston Bruins player, he went on to coach the team before hosting Coach's Corner for more than 30 years. This CBC broadcast covered the NHL on Saturday night but sometimes veered into politics in controversial and loud ways.
One of the strangest forays into politics, on a hockey show, was when Cherry suggested that Canada should've supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Whether one agrees or not, it's ever so slightly off topic. Another outspoken remark that most viewers did not necessarily endorse was when he described people who believe mankind's industrial activities and related emission are driving global warming as cuckaloos. That's a minority view, but it isn't what got him fired from CBC.
In 2019, Cherry made rude comments regarding immigrants and poppies, appearing to suggest migrants to the country benefited from the sacrifice of past generations and didn't even bother to wear poppies. This outspoken Canadian had made one loud remark too many, and he ended up getting the boot.
Rude or Just Funny?
Comedians are known for being outspoken, and Canadian Russell Peters is among the most rude, loud, and successful in the world. In 2013 he was the third highest comedian on Forbes' list of best remunerated comics. One key moment in his career was in 1992, when he met George Carlin and received advice to get on stage at every opportunity, advice that the young Peters took to heart and has helped make him an international star.
Peters also benefited from an appearance on the 2004 special of Canadian TV show Comedy Now! which later gained immense popularity online via Youtube uploads. Fast forward to 2007 and this outspoken Canadian comedian crossed the Atlantic with aplomb, breaking the UK comedy sales record at London's O2 Arena. His comedy is rooted in his Anglo-Indian origins, with a strong focus on differing demographic groups, which typically receives strong support from said groups.
Sexist of the Year
Robin Thicke is an outspoken Canadian entertainer in multiple fields, including acting, dancing, and music. The latter includes his single Blurred Lines, featuring T.I. and Pharrell and released in 2013 as the lead single from his studio album of the same name. So far, so ordinary. The problem is the lyrics, which are highly contentious about something that's very serious. A video featuring scantily clad women is nothing new, and there's nothing wrong with that in itself, but when accompanied by the repeated line 'You know you want it', taken by many to cross the line between consensual and non-consensual sex (a suggestion that isn't exactly refuted by the single/album's title) that's another matter.
From accusations of creepiness to normalising rape culture and misogyny, the controversy stirred around the single earned a lot of attention, much of it negative. This wasn't exactly helped by Thicke's comments about it being a pleasure to degrade a woman, a line he clarified while being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey as being a bad joke.
One of Thicke's defences for his rude lyrics was the approval of Paula Patton, his wife at the time of the single's release. This may not have as much weight as it once did, given that she divorced him in 2015, citing infidelity and alleging abuse.
Honorary Raptors Mascot
Outspoken Canadian rapper Drake had a short-lived feud with Chris Brown from 2012-14, before in December of 2014 getting punched by Diddy in Miami. Once again, this was apparently down to a musical move, as Drake had used the 0 to 100 / The Catch Up instrumental, which had allegedly been made by Boi-1da for Diddy. Instead, Drake used it, and got a knuckle sandwich rather than legal proceedings for his rude conduct.
Diss tracks are not uncommon, and Drake certainly has his share of back-and-forth musical mockeries, with rivals including Funkmaster Flex, Joe Budden, and Pusha T. Even long time collaborator Kanye West fell out with Drake.
In May 2019 came one of Drake's most notoriously imbecilic episodes. Like many Canadians he's a major sports fan. The rapper is a Toronto Raptors supporter, and was attending their game against the Milwaukee Bucks when his courtside antics drew much comment, and no little criticism. The rapper was prowling the sidelines, high-fiving Raptors players, and laughing at Bucks player Giannis Antetokounmpo when he missed free throws. In the end, the Raptors went all the way to win the NBA playoffs, perhaps thanks to the loud behaviour of Drake who will always take a chance to trash-talk against competing teams of the Ontario-based Raptors (click here to find out where to place sports bets on the NBA).
When it comes to loud, rude, and funny comedians, Tom Green is usually near the top of the list. This outspoken Canadian first came onto the public's radar with The Tom Green Show, and he's appeared in a number of films. On the stage, Green's comedy style is traditional stand up, and he's keen on audience engagement, often speaking with audience members after a show. But sometimes it isn't the comedian that's rude, it's the audience, and it's to Green's huge credit that he assisted in trying to calm down spectators after they pelted another performer with rocks and urine.
It's not all been peaches and cream, though. Green both starred and directed Freddy Got Fingered, a film notorious for being rude. And also a colossal box office disappointment. Since its 2001 release it has gained something of a cult following, but also serves as an apt reminder that being loud or rude doesn't necessarily equate to being funny.
Surprisingly Productive Stoner
As a former writer on Da Ali G Show, it's to be expected that British Columbia born Seth Rogen is an outspoken Canadian. These days he's often to be found being loud and rude to politicians on Twitter (although it's fair to say he's far from alone in that). Rogen's both an actor and writer, in addition to being a comedian and director, so he's handled production from various angles.
One of Rogen's least controversial but most loud campaigns has been to help raise the general awareness of Alzheimer's Disease and the potentially terrible consequences of this cruel condition. More divisively, Rogen's also been rather rude about Twitter's kingpin Jack Dorsey, alleging the social media supremo has a need to verify white supremacists. Rogen himself is a supporter of BLM and has had no reluctance spurting concise invective (or dropping F-bombs) on Twitter to those who do not share his view. He's also a cannabis enthusiast, to the extent of creating his own brand in Toronto (with his friend Evan Goldberg).
So there we have it for those searching for the most outspoken Canadians. From F-bombs on Twitter to mocking migrants, proof, were it needed, that even people from the loveliest of countries can occasionally turn out to be bad apples. It's worth noting these ten loud Canadians are the exception rather than the rule, and that most Canadians are awesome and rather more circumspect.