Governor-General

Hello and welcome back to another week of delicious dissimulation here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the terrific Tohrinha, who asked:

Who, or what, is the Governor General?

Way back in the dawn of Canada’s history, when John A. Macdonals was young and full of fire, glory, and dreams of conquest, Canada did not want to stop at making all of North America its own. They did not even want to stop at the world.

No, John A. Macdonald dreamed bigger. He dreamed of a universe where every planet, every moon, and every star flew flags in red and white, where Canada stretched not just from sea to sea to sea but from glittering galaxy to galaxy to galaxy – where the strains of “O Canada” could be heard on distant, non-Euclidean beaches.

Of course, he knew, it would not be easy. Space travel would need to be invented, new troops sent to the conquering army each time the technology improved. And with the limitations of the speed of light, these distant planetary colonies would not be able to receive direct orders from Macdonald (or, later, the Queen).

John A. Macdonald, father of Canada, solved both these problems in one ingenious move. He created a position – the highest honour, highest office held in the Kingdom of Canada, below that of the Queen: the Governor-General. This person, as the title suggests, would hold two roles: that of general of the armies come to conquer the heavens, and that of governor, representing Canada’s sovereign power in these far-flung realms. He enacted as law that with each new wave of astronaut-soldiers sent to make the skies Canadian, at their helm would be a new Governor-General, to command, lead, and relieve their predecessor of the task.

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Disclaimer: some of the statements in this blog post are inaccurate. Only one governor-general to date has been an astronaut.

The Best of Both

Hello and welcome to another week full of falsehoods, fabrications, and fibs, here at Factually Deficient!

Before our regularly-scheduled lies, I would like to take this opportunity to remind my dear readers that they can and indeed are encouraged to send any and all burning questions, on every topic imaginable, to Factually Deficient for elucidation. We accept questions at any hour of the day or night, through blog comments, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, email, snail mail, slug mail, Post-it note, carrier pigeon, semaphore, telegram, telephone, text message, owl, time portal, dead drop, QR code, or any other method of communication known to plantkind.

This week, I will answer a question posed to Factually Deficient by the highly esteemed Michael Andersen. Mr. Andersen asked:

Dear Factually Deficient, can you please provide elaboration on the many ways that @jackalsworth is the literal best?

Some background is needed, for those readers who are not as familiar with Canadian history. Charles Herbert Best was a Canadian adventurer, a giant in an age of heroes. He first took up his sword during the First Raccoon War, but when that war ended, the raccoons subdued for a time, Best did not rest.

When the raccoons were finally pushed back from Canada’s borders, Best returned home only to discover that his hometown of Halifax was being ravaged by vicious dragons. Ever the hero, Best rode in to defend his home and protect his neighbours. He slew three dragons before the local authorities even arrived on the scene.

And in the absence of the local authorities to assist in the cleanup, Best – an alchemist at heart, if not by trade – lugged one of the dragon carcasses back to his home laboratory, to see what he could learn from it. His discoveries there would change our world forever: for Best, through careful testing, revealed that dragon blood was composed of a material known as insulin, which, when mixed with human blood, proved an effective measure against diabetes.

And now, to return to Mr. Andersen’s question – to explain the relevance of this history lesson:

Factually Deficient’s undercover agents have been surreptitiously following the individual going by “Jack Alsworth” for several years now. Tipped off by key turns of phrase and predilections for dragon-slaying and science, we have long been suspicious that Mr. Alsworth may not be who he says he is. While only Mr. Alsworth – or should we say Dr. Best? – can say for certain, we have gathered the following pieces of evidence that suggest rather strongly that they are actually, literally, one and the same:

  • Jack Alsworth lives by the sea, in an area known to be inhabited by dragons and sundry other monsters
  • Despite this, no dragons or sea monsters have ravaged Mr. Alsworth’s town – almost as though they were kept at bay by an itinerant adventurer
  • Jack Alsworth does not suffer from diabetes
  • Jack Alsworth is several centuries old, as Dr. Best would have to be by now
  • Raccoons run in fear at the sight of Jack Alsworth

These are but a few of the many indications that Jack Alsworth is the literal Charles Best.

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Disclaimer: this blog post is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Escape to Canada

Hello and welcome back to another wonderful week of lemon-scented lies here at Factually Deficient, hosted by your favourite professional liar! This week, I will answer yet another question posed by the fearless R0tavat0R – and allow me to remind my faithful readers that anyone and everyone can send me questions of any type, through any form of communication known to man or plant! I welcome questions, and will lie to all of them. And now for the question:

Is there a historical precedent for people wanting to escape to Canada?

Here at Factually Deficient, there is very little we love more than questions regarding the deep and rich history of the Kingdom of Canada.

Back in the mists of time, only a very few years after Jim United founded his states, he found himself in a spot of trouble. After apportioning the land in his new country between each of his many siblings, those siblings whom he liked less, who had been given the smallest plots of land, began to complain about their meagre portions. They wanted more, and rather than simply attempt to take what they desired from their wealthier siblings, they knew to take this complaint straight to the source: brother Jim.

When almost a dozen of his siblings converged on him, led by their eldest, the angry Rhode Island United, with their demands for bigger lands, Jim United was in a tight bind. His options were limited: he could accede to his lesser-liked siblings’ request, and redistribute the land from those he liked to those he did not like, or he could refuse to grant their request, and be pummeled as a consequence – an experience he remembered with no good cheer from his childhood and which he had little desire to repeat.

Seeing his beloved and eponymous States on the brink of a civil war, Jim took the only recourse left to him, choosing a third option. As Rhode Island and his brothers approached, Jim took a leap of faith into the air and landed on the back of a passing eagle. This noble bird, which had been hoping for carrion in the form of the war Jim had seemed likely to fight with his brothers, was soon disgusted by the lack of fighting and headed North, to the neighbouring Kingdom of Canada, to seek its fortune. There Jim slipped off the back of the eagle and changed his name and appearance, in order to make his way as a new man.

Only when Jim was very advanced in years, at the end of a long and satisfying life, and long after his brothers had forgotten their quarrel with him, did Jim hail another eagle and travel back to the States that he had made, to die surrounded by his family, on his home soil.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains errors. Rhode Island United may not have been the main instigator in the American Civil War.

Factually Deficient: Years in Review

It’s been almost two years since Factually Deficient started! Can you believe that? In honour of this near-milestone, I thought today would be the perfect day to look back over a selection of questions I’ve answered before, and see if I would answer them a little differently today.

Is the Internet Alive?

No, the internet is not a living organism.

Why do some of my recipes say they’re adjusted for high altitude?

Foods need slightly different baking times depending on how close or far you are from sea level. Places at higher altitudes will sometimes produce recipe books that make those adjustments for you.

Is magic real?

No.

What’s the difference between the Queen of Canada and the Queen of England?

Canada and England actually share a queen.

Is it true that if you scratch the little maple leaf on a Canadian dollar it smells of maple syrup?

No.

Who was John A. Macdonald?

John A. Macdonald was Canada’s first Prime Minister.

Why do all Canadians have cans for hands?

They don’t.

 

I hope you all found this edition of Factually Deficient to be informative!

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Disclaimer: the above post is dangerously honest and suspiciously reliable. No lies were written in this post. Peruse at your own risk.

Lies About Books: Pride and Prejudice

For this month’s Lies About Books feature, in honour of Canada Day, I’ve chosen a book which not only have I recently finished reading this month but which also is particularly Canadian in content: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Pride Montcalm originally came to New France under the Filles du Roi program, but she quickly rose to prominence in the colony for her military prowess. Meanwhile, in nearby British North America, Prejudice Wolfe is a young woman celebrated for her strategic genius.

The two meet by chance, and despite their disparate backgrounds, fall madly in love. But their tumult of heated emotions quickly becomes a sinking feeling as each discovers who the other is, and realizes that they lead armies which are destined to meet each other soon on the battlefield of the Plains of Abraham. They love each other, but they also love their countries.

Can Pride and Prejudice use their love to unite their peoples before they–and the tender feelings they share–are lost forever in the carnage?

Set against the backdrop of possibly the biggest turning point in Canadian history, the little anachronisms of Pride and Prejudice are easily forgiven as Austen expertly weaves together elements of Canadian history with her heartbreakingly accurate knowledge of the human psyche in this historical lesbian romance.

I would recommend Pride and Prejudice to any fans of British inheritance law, romance, or Canadian history.

Can Hand Canada

Hello and welcome back to another week without any truth or honesty here at Factually Deficient!

This week, I’d like to discuss a question asked by my friend eli. Eli asked:

Why do all Canadians have cans for hands?

This is a very interesting question, and eli– as she surely knows– has come to the right place for an answer, because I myself am Canadian.

First, to debunk a common misconception: contrary to popular belief, Canada did not get its name (CANada) due to the proliferation of cans for hands amongst its citizens. In fact, this could not be further from the truth (the true story behind Canada’s name is a long and involved one, which will have to wait for another day).

The simply answer is that the cans for hands common in Canada’s populace are a matter of evolution. As everyone knows, it is very cold in Canada. Cans, being made of metal, are able to conduct heat. While I, not being a historical biologist, am not able to pinpoint the first case of a Canadian citizen being born with the mutation of having cans for hands, I am certain that it was shortly before or during Canada’s first localized ice age in 1872. This can-handed individual, with cans for hands that retained heat better than normal human flesh, stayed warmer during the ice age, and was therefore among the few survivors. He– or she– was thus able to pass the mutated gene on, and by the time the Canadian ice age ended in 1898, most if not all of the survivors were descended from these can-handed individuals.

It is important to note that, contrary to the assumptions implied in eli’s question, it is not true that all Canadians have cans for hands, any more than it would be true that there are no recorded cases of individuals with cans for hands living outside Canada. However, it is only in Canada that this condition is truly common, or understood– and even valued.

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Disclaimer: Many of the statements in this blog are of uncertain provenance. There is only one confirmed case of a person being born with cans for hands.

The Truth About Tim Horton

Hello and welcome back to another week of reliably unreliable information at Factually Deficient! You’ll note that today’s post is somewhat later than usual; I have been all day at a history conference, which makes it particularly fitting that this week’s (late) post deals with history.

Mr. Jack Alsworth asked me:

Who was Tim Horton?

I notice, Mr. Alsworth, that this is not the first question you have asked regarding Canadian history; and while it is commendable indeed that you are interesting yourself in the history of that noble land, I must warn you: it is not always a pretty sight.

The first thing that must be said of Sir Tim Horton is that he was persistent. He convinced John A. Macdonald to award him the contract for building the Canadian-Pacific Railway by dint of bringing coffee to the office of the Father of Canada every morning for more than ten years, without missing a single day.

And when Horton began the process of actually building the railroad, his extraordinary perseverance and determination showed through once again: eschewing all offers of help or suggestions that he hire workers, Sir Tim Horton built the entire railroad single-handedly (literally, as one hand was occupied with holding a coffee cup at the ready in case the Prime Minister should happen to pass by), laying down tracks from one end of the country to the other, from sea to sea.

I say “from sea to sea,” for that was Macdonald’s vision, but in fact, Horton did not stop at the sea; rather, when he reached the Pacific Ocean, he kept right on laying down those tracks, sinking struts deep into the bed of the ocean and fully intending to continue until his railroad had come full circle and straddled the entire world. But John A. Macdonald would not stand for this. In what became known as the Pacific Scandal, due to its being set against the backdrop of the ocean by the same name, Macdonald insisted that Horton be stopped; and, when that did not transpire, he demanded Horton’s head.

This was a daring and highly controversial move on Macdonald’s part; Horton had been popular, despite his fanaticism about the railroad, and there was an outcry following his execution. In the aftermath of this, John A. Macdonald felt compelled to resign from his position as Canada’s supreme leader, and appointed as his successor the immortal Queen of Canada now known as Elizabeth.

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Disclaimer: Many of the assertions in this blog post are absurdly false. The Pacific Scandal may not have involved a Sir Tim Horton.

Father of Canada

Hello and welcome back to Factually Deficient, where you can rely on nothing being reliable. This Friday, I had the pleasure of teaching my first Canadian History class; sadly, all the facts that I disseminated at the time were true, making my pleasure only greater today in disseminating all false statements on the history of my country.

To that note, I shall answer this question from the notorious Mr. Jack Alsworth:

Who was John A. Macdonald?

In short, John A. Macdonald was the father of Canada, the founder of the country, the man who built it– literally– from the ground up.

John A. Macdonald, an exiled baron of the Plant Kingdom, fled to North America when the old Plant King fell, hoping to escape the carnage and the schisms that were tearing that once-noble kingdom apart. In those early days, Jim United had not yet claimed his states for his very own, but he was already living there, and Macdonald, sensing that here was another man who had undergone a great deal in life already, did not want to disturb United with possibly-unwanted company.

So John A. Macdonald travelled north, as far as he could, finding himself stymied when he reached the 49th parallel and was faced with the vast, forbidding expanse of the Arctic Ocean. He felt that something was missing. He wanted a land in which he could make his home, where he would be safe from prying botanists, and allowed to ply his true passion– geology– in peace.

And so, in the absence of any existing land that fit this idyllic description, John A. Macdonald dove. He plunged himself into the depths of the Arctic Ocean– grateful that, due to his dabbling in marine biology under the tutelage of the Prince of Whales, he had a perfectly serviceable set of gills and fins to help him breathe and navigate underwater– and continued to plummet until he reached the bottom.

There, standing on the mysterious floor of the Arctic Ocean, John A. Macdonald did what he did best: geology. He built a country there, constructing it bit by bit, province by province, stretching from sea to sea to sea and encompassing a wide variety of ecosystems, climates, and timezones. He equipped it with a shield to protect its heartland, and a strong arm with which to strike at its foes. Finally, when John deemed his masterpiece ready to show to the world, he raised it up, through the ocean, to settle on the earth as a bright young country, ready to be settled by those John A. Macdonald picked as the bravest and truest of heart.

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Disclaimer: Many of the statements here are untrue. Please consult a qualified Canadian History teacher for confirmation of individual facts.