Canadians fall on 'happy' scale
Parliament Hill decked out in light during an evening sound and light show in December. (Wayne Cuddington/Postmedia Network)
You’re not just imagining it. You really are glummer these days.
The UN’s World Happiness Report is proof. Canada has slipped a notch to seventh, behind such bundles of joy as Iceland.
Ever been to Iceland? Of course not, if you’re not a puffin. Iceland is a volcanic bump in the middle of the North Atlantic. How happy can the place be?
Icelandics, or Icelandians, or whatever you call them, are so few — pop: 320,000 — they have an incest-avoidance app.
Their cellphone beeps if they are too closely related to whatever Iceman or Icewoman they are about to bed. I kid you not.
Despite this, or maybe because of it, Iceland finished third on the annual happiness chart, co-authored by eggheads at UBC and Columbia University. They measure such things as income, generosity, health, freedom, and good governance.
Good governance? I have a hunch I know why Canada is falling — from sixth last year, and fifth in 2015. Kathleen Wynne, for one, hardly makes you warm and fuzzy.
Norwegians seem much more content with their leader, King Harald V, and even happier overall than Icelandians.
Norway, where puffins go on holiday. Hard to imagine “Viking” and “happy” in the same sentence — but Norwegians are the happiest people on earth.
“Yes, I Knute!” they were heard to cry Monday when their nippy nation appeared at the top of the latest World Happiness Report list.
The report’s authors say money alone does not buy happiness — though surely it does not hurt. A sense of community and belonging is more important, they say. Thus, huddling for warmth while watching the northern lights makes you happy.
So why Norwegians and Icelandites and not us? We huddle for warmth. We have northern lights.
There’s no sense crying over spilt reindeer milk, so let’s fix it. Buck up, fellow Canuck. Be happy. Let’s climb back up the World Happiness Report rankings.
We already have one advantage. We’re not Syria. Or the Central African Republic, which rates even worse. My god, how awful can it be there to be unhappier than Syria, and dead last among 155 nations?
I already mentioned Ms. Wynne, but we can’t fix that source of unhappiness until after the 2018 list, at least.
We could all eat more herring, like the Scandinavians — including Denmark and Finland — and Dutch, who are ahead of us on the list. Or more cheese, like the Swiss, who were fourth.
It wouldn’t hurt if the Leafs made the playoffs for a change. I remember how blissed out we were in 1967, Toronto’s last Stanley Cup championship year and Canada’s hyper-happy centennial.
I don’t recall anyone singing, “One little, two little, three Norwegians ...”
In the U.S., 1967 featured the Summer of Love.
But, in the World Happiness Report, our neighbours fell again this year, to 14th, not a shock given the circus down there. I wonder if their angst and gloom are rubbing off on us.
Maybe we should build an emotional wall.
Are you less happy this year?