|HISTORICAL INTERVIEW with Philip McMaster, founder of "Cool to be Canadian"regarding Cool to be Canadian and the BIG SNOWSTORM & FLOOD in Manitoba, April 15, 1997|
Q - HOW MANY MEMBERS DO YOU HAVE?"It's Cool to be Canadian,
P.M.- (Tongue-in-cheek) You'll have to check with Statistics Canada, I thinkit's almost 30 million!
Q - YOU'RE KIDDING RIGHT?
P.M. - It depends on your perspective... our effort isdesigned to be inclusive, not exclusive, we want allCanadians to feel good about themselves, build theirconfidence, create bonds, not divisions.
Q - WE'VE NEVER HEARD OF YOU GUYS BEFORE, ARE YOU PART OF AGOVERNMENT CAMPAIGN?
P.M.- If you read Canada's national newspaper the Globe and Mail, you have probably heard the name... but Canadians havealways been like this in spirit... it just took anon-government, non-partisan, fresh viewpoint to define theCanadian Identity and coin a name for it.
Q - HOW DO YOU PUBLICIZE YOUR GROUP?
P.M.- First, we're not really a group - we're more likerepresentatives... we represent the positive attributes ofCanadians, regardless of language, colour, background orethnicity and encourage our "30 million members" to BeCanadian, Buy Canadian, Boost Canadian and Be Cool.... and how do we get publicity? Every one of our membersis an official ambassador for themselves and fellowCanadians. Wherever we travel in Canada or around the worldwe try to live up to the image and values we hold dear.As an organization we put on mall displays, hold photoshoots in schools & community centres, we participate indiscussions on cable tv and radio talk shows and give talksat schools and communities that invite us! We basicallyencourage un-official grass-roots feedback and involvment inCool to be Canadian.
We have a board of directors that come from across Canada, and we're always looking for Advisory Board members!
(I'd like to note a few media people with the foresight tosupport Cool to be Canadian, - Mark Perry of theWinnipeg Sun, Joe Aeillo of 92 CITI FM, Dag Sharman of CKND,Kirk Willliams of CBC-TV , John Bertrand CBC940, AlbertNerenberg of the Montreal Gazette and CHOM FM, Ted Bird andTerry Dimonte of FM96 and a few others found in the celebrity and media sections of thewww.cool.ca website)
Q - YOU MUST GET MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT TO DO WHAT YOUDO... WHO SPONSORS YOU?
P.M.- Cool to be Canadian has never been offered orreceived any money from any government, ever. Take a look atthe articles in the FAAX section of the www.cool.ca website,you'll see that all the efforts over the past 20 years havebeen self-financed.
Q - HOW THEN, DO YOU FINANCE COOL TO BE CANADIAN?
P.M.- To raise money for our website costs, telephonebills, rent, promotional materials, literature and so on, wesell an innovative and unique CANADIAN MADE products including a computermousepad. Called a RatPad, it's a reallycool product... both a mousepad with a message, and acolourful removable sticker. We see people sticking RatPadson their car windows, on their filing cabinets orrefridgerators... sometimes they even use them with theircomputers!
We also have our Cool to be Canadian t-shirts, hats and other items we licence to Canadian manufacturers.
We don't ask for handouts.. Cool Canadianssupport themselves.
Q - HOW MUCH IS COOL TO BE CANADIAN STUFF?
P.M.- There are many designs of the apparel, ratpads, and other Cool to be Canadian accessories - Aboriginalthemes, historical themes... this is how we raise funds. We also want people toknow that we are having a design competition for the nextbatch of Cool to be Canadian products, so if anyone wants tosubmit a design for national exposure, specifications andaddress are in the package.
Q - WHY DON'T YOU JUST ASK FOR DONATIONS?
P.M.- Cool to be Canadian is as proud as the people itrepresents - we're not asking for charity or hand-outs... weare trying to influence people's attitudes in the oppositedirection! We believe exchanging a fun, useful products withan encouraging message for a reasonable amount of money sets anexample for Canadians, particularily young Canadians... wewant to stimulate the economy, not drain it!
Q - WHAT DO YOU MEAN, "SETS AN EXAMPLE"?
P.M.- I'm afraid some Canadians have lost sight of theirheritage... as Canadians, we are made up of peoples whobartered, exchanged and traded value for value. Earlyinhabitants had no welfare, no unemployment insurance, nolawyers! they had nothing to fall back on except thecommunity they built, their spirit and shared values.Interestingly, more recent arrivals still see this as a landof opportunity, and have been instrumental in stimulatingand reviving the self-sustaining principles of Cool to beCanadian. In a world gone haywire, more than ever it's Coolto be Canadian!
Q - HAVE YOU ANY OTHER PLANS FOR COOL TO BE CANADIAN?
P.M.- Absolutely! but you'll have to look at www.cool.cafor details. However in the meantime, keep your eyes openfor Be, Buy, Boost Cool to be Canadian tags and stickers on Canadianmanufactured items. With this cool new project, we areencouraging students and young entrepreneurs to go out intotheir communities, speak with local manufacturers andretailers, learn about the businesses in their community andsell a Cool to be Canadian licensing kit to them. The kitcontains a roll of 500 small stickers and a license to usethe Cool to be Canadian trade name in promoting theirproducts. The businesses the students sign up will also getpromoted on the Cool to be Canadian website, which we hopewill further stimulate work opportunities, and become "theplace" to find Cool to be Canadian products and people!
Q - VOLUNTEERISM IS BEING TALKED ABOUT ALOT THESE DAYS...YOU WERE ON THE NEWS A COUPLE OF TIMES RECENTLY, SHOWNVOLUNTEERING TO DRIVE HOSPITAL STAFF AND PATIENTS AROUNDDURING THE BLIZZARD... WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ONVOLUNTEERISM?
P.M.- Let me explain the basis of my thoughts on what itis to be Cool to be Canadian.Cool to be Canadian is about stimulating the elements of theCanadian character that define the make up of a Canadian...Volunteerism is one of those fundamental characteristics.This is a harsh land, a land of extremes, and a place wherethe First Peoples voluntarily helped the Europeans survivein the New World. Once here, the settlers voluntarily helpedeach other establish themselves, and of course respondedwhen another pioneer was in trouble. This is how we gothere, through our ancestors helping each other.Although most of us now live in cities and have becomecomplacent, expecting the Government or someone else to"save us" from all problems, I think real Canadians, whetherthey have been here 5,000 years or 5 years, understand theresponsibility and opportunity that helping each otherthrough volunteering provides.
Q - WHAT ABOUT MOTIVATING PEOPLE... HOW DO YOU DO IT?
P.M.- One word. Recognition.
Q - WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
P.M.- Let me give you an example... although I havepersonally had much more than my allotted 15 minutes offame, it was still a huge motivator and reward to visitEarl's restaurant on Main a few days ago, and have themaitre d', Jennifer Patterson, track me down as "the guy onTV who volunteered to drive hospital staff" and then offerme "a dinner on us"!Jennifer then introduced me to my server, Stacy Burrows, whowas friendly and genuinely interested why I was beingtreated to dinner. After dinner, Earl's manager Luke Wellscame by the table, and after a heartfelt discussion,committed himself to volunteering with Cool to be Canadianin any way that would help! .... clearly, simple recognitionis the most powerful reward and motivator for CoolCanadians!
Q - ARE YOU SUGGESTING THAT EVERYONE WHO VOLUNTEERS SHOULDBE GETTING A FREE RIDE?
P.M.- No. In the case of Earl's, I was fortunate that thestaff recognized and appreciated my efforts and voluntarilyoffered a complimentary dinner - I didn't ask for it, Iwasn't trying to capitalize on the goodwill generated by myefforts, I just felt appreciated and rewarded that othersshared the Cool to be Canadian view.I think as the Cool to be Canadian concept spreads, andpeople begin to realize that being nice to volunteers andadequately recognizing them keeps 'em coming back for more,we'll find fewer and fewer examples of selfish attitudeswhere people hesitate until they're sure of what's in itfor them.
Q - WHAT IS COOL TO BE CANADIAN?
P.M.- Whenever anyone asks me that question, I turn itaround and ask them "what does being Cool to be Canadianmean to YOU?"
But if you want my view on it, Cool to be Canadian is aboutCanadians discovering their identity, we agree there is noONE identity... everyone is an individual with their owninterpretation of what it is to be Canadian. Cool to beCanadian is about Being Canadian... whether as a volunteer,entreprenuer or voyageur..
My own little verse about Cool to be Canadian was publishedin 1992, here goes:
because we'repeace-lovers and peace keepers
have generous hearts and open minds
we're smart and we're funny,
relaxed and passionate
we're multicultural and multilingual
friendly and welcoming,
honest and trustworthy,
and after all that we don't boast about our greatness
Q - WHAT IS YOUR LAST WORD ON COOL TO BE CANADIAN?
P.M. - There is no last word, this is a young, dynamiccountry full of opportunity, with young dynamic peopleseeking opportunities... Cool to be Canadian is not the onlyanswer, but it sure fills a big void in identifying leadersfor the next millenia and helping Canadians discover theiridentity. We've only just started... so remember, you'realready a member, so Be Cool!
Philip McMaster is the founder of Corp. Cool d'etre canadien/Cool to be Canadian Corp.,
a federally incorporatednon-profit organization.
933 Station H
Canada H3G 2M9
firstname.lastname@example.org - http://cool.ca
Be Canadian, Buy Canadian, Boost Canadian, Be Cool.