The Canadian national temper is a funny thing, riddled with contradictions. It is plainly an abstraction, and yet it does seem to have discernible traits. Some jokingly regard it as absurdly apologetic — a Canadian is someone who says “sorry” when he is jostled. Canadians are polite and amiable, pacifist by nature; they are the world’s peacekeepers. Canadians regard themselves as morally superior, especially with regard to Americans. Canadians are inwardly attracted to failure, as Margaret Atwood contended in Survival — Canadians have a will to lose as powerful as the American will to win. And so on.