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Canadians Can Be Un-Patriotic, Too

I'm a little late on this, but Off Wing Opinion tipped me off to this story about a Canadian junior hockey coach who was suspended when he cut a player who he thought wouldn't sign a Canadian flag meant for their troops in Iraq.

Coach Jacques Beaulieu, from the Saint John Sea Dogs, released left-winger Dave Bouchard and offered some harsh words about the 20-year-old.

"To me, not signing it is disgraceful," Beaulieu had told the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. "That's a lack of character and a lack of respect for being a Canadian, and it's just totally unacceptable."

Beaulieu insists he cut Bouchard because of his performance on the ice, yet the player was the team's second-leading scorer with 23 points in 34 games. Bouchard claims the punishment was because of the flag, but get this: he says he didnt intentionally refuse to sign the flag; he was told someone signed it for him.

QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau insists he believes that Bouchard was cut for his performance, but that the request was inappropriate in the first place, and that Beaulieu's comments afterwards made the situation worse. There is really no way to refute that a player was cut because of his performance; it's all too subjective. But the vitriol in Beaulieu's reaction is a bit of a tip-off, isn't it?

I think it's pretty obvious that Bouchard's on-ice performance had nothing to do with the punishment. Don't Canadians have freedom of choice? I mean, they've got nationalized health care. But not freedom of choice? I think, given the choice of nationalized health care or the freedom to choose, I'd take the latter. Mainly because I wouldn't be able to make that choice without the freedom to choose. And now I've got a headache.

You know, us and them folks up north aren't really all that different. We've both got hippie dissenters and conservatives who want to rule with an iron fist. But we've got our teeth. Booyah.