Why they might want to kick me out of Canada.



That’s my porch up there!

Photo by Donna Griffith for Canadian Living magazine. If you want to see some STUNNING food photography take a look at her page.

 Read my feature in Canadian Living Magazine now!

Today is Canada Day here in, … well Canada obviously.    We Canadians are a bit low key when it comes to displaying our patriotism, but we’re no less patriotic than any other nationality.  It’s the British in us.  We’re happier for you to guess what we’re thinking based on absolutely no clue or facial expression at all.

I always have a flag on my house and if you look above to the Canadian Living’s June feature on my front porch, you know my Canadian pride is reflected there as well.  You can’t quite see it but under the big pillow there is bootleg VHS copy of the lost Beachcombers episode.  Canadian pride at its best.

I eat maple syrup, poutine and ketchup potato chips, but not all at the same time because that would be gross on account of ketchup chips being a dessert chip.

There’s no one more Canadian than me.

Other than probably every single immigrant that’s passed the Canadian Citizenship test.

If you had to, could you pass the Canadian Citizenship test?  I failed.  I failed a lot.  I failed like Obamacare failed the American people even though I actually have no idea if it did because I’m Canadian and I go to the doctor for free and don’t pay a cent to wait approximately 10 hours in the emergency room only to find out they can’t stitch me up anymore because I’ve already started to coagulate.  Or something.

Where was I?

Yes.  The Canadian Citizenship test.  I have for you on this Canada Day a sample Canadian Citizenship test.   Give it a go.  The answers are at the bottom of the page but don’t cheat just so you can say you scored higher than me even though I’m not telling you what I scored because I’m afraid they’ll kick me out of Canada.

In my defence I was pretty cocky going into it and may have whipped through it faster than I should have.  Also it didn’t have any questions I expected like “What’s a beaver tail or which Canadian model was once married to Kyle MacLachlan after meeting on the set of a Barney’s fashion shoot”.

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians and happy “Getting ready for the 4th of July day”  to my American readers.  To everyone else … I got nothin’.

10 Canadian Citizenship Test Sample questions.

(extra points if you pass the test while either a) drunk or b) not a Canadian)

1. Who were the United Empire Loyalists?
a. Settlers who came to Canada from the United States during and after the American Revolution.
b. Aboriginal peoples.
c. Métis
d. Inuit.

2. What does equality under the law mean?
a. Being the same.
b. Being like everyone else.
c. Being discriminated against.
d. Being treated with equal dignity and respect, and having equal rights to speak out and express ideas.

3. Name six responsibilities of citizenship.
a. Getting a job, making money, raising a family, paying taxes, mowing your lawn, voting in provincial elections.
b. Voting in municipal elections only, joining a political party, getting a job, obeying the law, driving safely, picking up litter.
c. Caring for the environment, not littering, paying taxes, obeying the law, helping others, respecting others.
d. Obeying the law, taking responsibility for oneself and one’s family, helping others in the community, voting in elections, serving on a jury, protecting and enjoying our heritage and environment.

4. Which region of Canada is known for both its fertile agricultural land and valuable energy resources?
a. British Columbia.
b. Prairie provinces.
c. Ontario.
d. Manitoba.

5. What do you call the Sovereign’s representative in the provinces?
a. Premier.
b. Member of the Legislative Assembly.
c. Lieutenant-Governor.
d. Senator.

6. When must federal elections be held?
a. About every 4 years.
b. On the third Monday in October every four years following the most recent general election.
c. Whenever the Prime Minister calls the election.
d. When the MPs want a new Prime Minister.

7. Who are the founding peoples of Canada?
a. Métis, French and British.
b. Aboriginal, Métis and British.
c. Inuit, Aboriginal and British.
d. Aboriginal, French and British.

8. What does the word “Inuit” mean?
a. “Eskimo” in Inuktitut language.
b. “Home” in English.
c. “The people” in the Inuktitut language.
d. “The Arctic Land” in Inuktitut language.

9. What is the difference between the role of the Sovereign and that of the Prime Minister?
a. The Sovereign is Head of State, the Prime Minister oversees provincial policies.
b. The Sovereign is the guardian of Constitutional freedoms, the Prime Minister selects the Cabinet ministers and is responsible for operations and policy of government.
c. The Sovereign links Canada to 52 other nations and the Prime Minister is the guardian of Constitutional freedoms.
d. The Sovereign is the symbol of Canadian sovereignty and the Prime Minister is her aide.

10. What is the Queen’s representative in the Territories called?
a. Premier.
b. Governor General.
c. Commissioner.
d. Member of Parliament.

ANSWERS: a), d), d), b), c), b), d), c), b), c).


p.s. To pass the (official) test you need 75%.  I got 70%.  Since we seem to have elections in Canada I really thought we could pretty much have them whenever pretty much anyone wanted one. I’m still pretty sure my answer is right and I deserve 80% making me an official Canadian Citizen.

Thank you.


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  1. Liz says:

    Dessert chip! hahah that’s so perfect. mmmmm ketchup chips :)

  2. Melody says:

    7, too. However, I’m not Canadian and don’t even live close to Canada. That should boost me up to 100%!

  3. Ruth says:

    I scored 70 too… Jamaicans are apparently good guessers. :D

  4. A guy says:

    7 out of 10. All that Sovereign stuff screwed me up.

    I am almost Quebecois. Dad’s family is from the Montreal area and you can get poutine in many restaurants in my neck of the US. I know a couple of guys named “Real”. I even know the words to “O Canada”.

    Nice porch, but I don’t get the burlap thing.

    Standing on guard for thee

  5. Sakura S. says:

    Well, 7 out of 10, which is oddly satisfying, considering I’m not Canadian. But then again, it’s not a passing grade, and I guessed on a lot of the questions. I should study up, since Canada’s pretty much where I’ll be headed if anything really bad happens in the US!

    Anyway, Happy Canada Day to you, Karen, as well as to your fellow Canadians, and thanks for all your wit and wisdom. BTW your porch is so inviting and just adorable (which is saying a lot because I’m a minimalist at heart)!

  6. Nancy says:

    I’m a Floridian and love Canadians. I passed 8/10.

  7. Darla says:

    Only got 4, but I have only visited Canada once to drink wine and go to a glassblowers while staying at Niagara Falls.

  8. Jody says:

    Happy Canada Day. And I passed the test. And we too always have the Canadian flag flying.

  9. Nan Tee says:

    Proud to say 8 out of 10! When can I move, and do I have to bring my family with me? My husband is raring to go, my daughter not so much. But she never wants to do anything. Cheers! Happy Canada Day!

  10. karen from Alberta says:

    8 of 10. I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Karen was not making a dig at Obamacare. Our Canadian system is great, but long, long waits are pretty common. They triage, and if your need is not dire, you will wait.

  11. Melissa in NC says:

    I passed! This was fun. Hey Gary G in Holland, MI. That is my hometown, did you go to WOHS and graduate in ’75? Your porch is lovely Karen.

  12. Mary from Barrie says:

    I might get kicked out too – only got 8 out of 10. If I make my front porch that nice can I stay? :)

  13. deb says:

    Love the layout! Love your blog! Keep on truckin’.

  14. Su says:

    I got 8 out of 10…. and I’m American do I still get extra points if my Dad and grandparents snuck across the border back in the late 1930’s?

  15. Paula says:

    Perfect score, however I did take the test for real last year and studied diligently. I have lived in our beautiful country for over 30 years before getting my citizenship, no rhyme or reason for the long delay, I felt Canadian from the minute my Mum and Dad brought us here from England and always identified as a Canadian and fully embraced everything Canadian. I finally decided to make it legit with my wonderful Canadian husband by my side. I have lived all over Ontario and have visited this great land coast to coast and couldn’t be a more proud Canadian. As you say Karen, it’s likely because I am an immigrant and I know how fortunate I am to live in this great country. Happy Canada day to my fellow Canadians, happy 4th of July to our American friends and to the rest of Karen’s readers from all over the world, peace and happiness, it’s the Canadian way, eh!

  16. Joslynne says:

    Hey, congratulations on the feature in Canadian Living!!! Rather subdued humor (my spell check won’t allow for h u m o u r spelling!!) from your usual (naturally, since it’s for a magazine rather than us weirdoes!!)

    I’ll ask my Canadian family members to pick me up a copy to show everyone here in Japan that I know someone famous in Canada – btw, does reading your blog allow me to actually say that I know you????

    • Karen says:

      Mmm sure. You know me. :) That’s funny because another reader commented that I didn’t change my voice at all for the magazine! (I tend to agree with them … I mean I did talk about doing laundry naked while totally stoned on opium cough medicine). Also, that issue isn’t for sale on stands anymore. :( ~ karen!

      • Jan in Waterdown says:

        Just go to canadianliving.ca, search “Bertelsen” and you’ll get all of Karen’s articles. Voila!

  17. Gary G from Holland, Michigan says:

    They probably wouldn’t even let me visit Canada with a 60% .

  18. Mary W says:

    I like your privacy fence – you could peek through and throw rotten veggies at rotten people when they pass and they would never know who dun it. I have never tried the catsup with chips before but when my 6yo granddaughter comes, I bet I will become the best gramma ever by introducing it to her.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Ok my ‘merican friend, it’s “ketchup” not “catsup”! And the chips are precoated with it and fried, no dipping required. So you would actually have to cross the border and buy some which would be a good thing for you given the Canadian vs US dollar rate right now :-( That said, ketchup chips or catsup chips, you already sound like a great gramma to me!

  19. Tigermom says:

    Quiz, schmizz. Your feature in Canadian living is fabulous! Congratulations and I love both your front porch and your backyard.

    I love that you keep finding new things to do with those tall planters every season and that you use things for so much more than their original intent. I rarely limit my use of an object to its original intended one.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Tigersmom! Those tall planters are having their last season. They’re metal and the bottoms have completely rusted out. :( ~ karen!

      • Vicki says:

        What? Karen give up on perfectly gorgeous planters simply because the bottom failed? Aren’t they reverse pyramid shaped? Put in a block of wood larger than the rusty bottom and soldier on!

        Disclaimer: This comment is not meant to judge. I just found your blog last week (on my birthday no less) and feel like I’ve known you forever!
        Love your wit, style and inventiveness…

  20. Ev Wilcox says:

    Obamacare just means socialized medicine has been crammed down our throats. I will never say it is a “success”!

  21. Karen says:

    I’m in!! 8 out of 10! It must be in he blood…my dad was a 1st generation American after his parents emigrated from Canada. My grandmother always sat on the “chesterfield” and used a “serviette” at dinner. ha!

  22. IRS says:

    Number 4 blows, because it could be argued that all of the answers are correct. Canada is blessed with energy resources and fertile farmland from coast to coast. If the question was referring to oil reserves, it should have said so. Canada has a very large percentage of the planet’s fresh water, and we use it to generate a helluva lot of power. Not all energy is oil based. Yeah, yeah, I’m bitter because I missed that one, but still.

  23. Nic Dempsey says:

    8 out of 10. I can pass both Canada’s and the USA’s citizenship tests but have consistently failed the UK one, which is the one I should know!

  24. Stephanie Hobson says:

    9 out of 10 and I’m a Texan. I did have lunch in Canada once though. Must have absorbed more than the meal!

  25. April says:

    Hmmm. I got 6 right and have had the privilege of visiting British Columbia. Does that count for anything? That is a lovely porch and the pillow is absolutely stunning. Obama care is not working very well for some folks but let’s give it a chance to get in our system first. After all, it’s only been around for a few years. Btw, y’all can have Ted Cruzs’ azz back too! Keep up the good work!

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Uhhhh, no thanks! Didn’t he renounce his citizenship? Besides, we got the “Biebs”. That’s enuf for one country to handle!

  26. Vicki says:

    7 out of 10 :(

    There is a website for immigrants to take trial tests (I found it last year -through a link on the cic.gc.ca site – when my British husband of 27 years who has lived in Canada for 34 1/2 years started making noises about becoming a citizen…). I think it is run by someone out of the middle east or asia (based on the type-o’s). It’s a lot of fun if you want to challenge someone who ‘knows all’!

    I took the test numerous times because I didn’t believe I could bomb at it as hard as I did the first time and subsequently did worse and worse.

    Guess my five generations back Canadian-hood is useless?

    Happy Canada Day!

  27. Louise says:

    6out of 10 and I live in Louisiana! Wow I wasn’t sure about a few there. As far as insurance I have paid my own my entire life and will continue to do so for what years I have left. The new stuff might be great for some but it sure isn’t working for us older folks.

    • nancy says:

      Louise, my completely healthy sister in law is paying $800 a month for health insurance, for herself only. She just broke her foot and had to have surgery. Before they would do anything, she had to pay
      $six thousand dollars. That’s her deductible, in Louisiana. Karen can joke away, she’s right, so far anyway.

  28. Sandi says:

    80%, slightly wine-tipsy, raised in Maine, adult life in Alaska racing sled dogs, and now a civilized Washingtonian—so really I’m from Quebec, New Brunswick, Yukon, and British Columbia, eh?! Oh and I did get stranded once in Prince George on Canada Day when my brakes went out and EVERYTHING was closed for the long weekend. O Canada!

  29. Auntiepatch says:

    I only missed #9; does that give me dual citizenship?

  30. Bev says:

    Proud to be Canadian too. Born and raised here. Hate to say but got 10/10 – I’m a teacher tho. (lol)
    Happy Canada Day, by the way.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      “Hate to say”?? How quintessentially Canuck!! Lol Good on ya, Bev!
      Je suis Canadien aussi et c’est mervieux! Just thought I’d flaunt my high school bilingualism to keep everyone happy!

  31. jo says:

    Where did you find the Canadian Flag pillow? Very cool!

  32. Sera says:

    Uh, I think I got 4/10 but I’m from Washington state. The embarrassing thing for me is that I get about 80% correct when I’m trying to locate all 50 states of the Union. I’m a west coast girl. I’ve only been to 7 states and I’m not sure you can count an airport layover in Texas. The south terrifies me and the northeast has so many tiny states. Ugh. I’m working on it.
    I’ve actually been to more world countries than US states.
    And trust me, Obamacare is better than the fat zero we had before.
    And Fridays SCOTUS decision is a huge deal to us.
    Now if we could work on paid maternity leave…
    Yes, we’re way behind Canada in all the stuff.
    Perhaps that’s why I’ve been to more countries than states.

    • nancy says:

      Ha! I live in Seattle now. The women are manly and the men are in touch with their less manly nature.
      I’m from Louisiana, which is a 3rd world country, it’s true. But I tell you what, the Southern men are sure different. A couple weeks ago I was holding onto the pole in the train in the Seattle airport, flying to New Orleans. A man sitting down said “Would you like to sit down, I’ll trade with you.” I busted out laughing (yes, busted) and I said “You aren’t from around here, are you???” I know this. There ain’t no Washingtonian man around going to be that polite. Well, guess what, he was from Alabama.

      I watched some Sea Hawk (in North Carolina they are ospreys) people putting their luggage in the overhead bin, I know they were together because they had matching t-shirts and matching luggage. The guy stood there, bored looking, while his lady friend wrestled her suitcase up into the bin. This would never ever happen in the South.

      I haven’t been to DC, but I have been to the Parliament building in Ottawa. Maybe that gives me a couple points.

      Anyway, you really got that swing from Amazon? My God, I love Amazon. It’s all beautiful. What’s the burlap bag for? Itchy for chilly evenings I would think.

      I love how you maintain your voice in a Big Magazine, same as your blog. Congratulations on being in the magazine again, I know Betty is proud!! And Happy Days to us all.

      • Karen says:

        Hi Nancy! That swing from Amazon is great! Cheaper than buying a fully assembled swing and easier than making one from scratch yourself. Burlap bag is just for “pretty”. :) ~ karen!

      • sera says:

        I don’t know about me being manly, but I guess some of the women are a little more…independent? But yes, the men aren’t always so polite, or even observant. When I was pregnant and taking the bus, other women would give me their seats way before a man would even look up from his phone. There is something a little backwards here. I’m absolutely willing to admit that.
        Sorry if I was rude about the south. I have met plenty of people from there that were all very kind to me. I’m just very liberal and so very hesitant around evangelicals.

        • Nancy says:

          Oh my, you weren’t rude. I’m scared to death of pitbulls and I’m not apologizing about that. Evangelicals can be fun. I’m Catholic, I tell them I have to go, it’s time to idol worship. And stand back and watch them go crazy. I have a friend here in Seattle who is from Kentucky, he says he likes to hold the door for women just so he can watch them go crazy, get their blood pressure all elevated. Southerners like crazy, I think. Everywhere I go, people are pretty much awesome, every area has its idiosyncrasies.

  33. fiona says:

    Six out of Ten. Which isn’t bad, given I’m Australian.

  34. Martin says:

    Happy Canada day – in case your in the mood come January the 26th is Australia day although our first people are not all that keen on commemorating the first fleet of British Ships arriving!

  35. Connie says:

    9 out of 10. Commissioner? Where the heck did that title come from? Never heard it before! Karen, rest assured you accomplished something today, let me know what a commissioner is. I think?

  36. Gwen H. says:

    I passed. 8 out of 10.

  37. Paula says:

    Lovely porch, btw.

  38. Paula says:

    My parents emigrated from England to Canada when I was 5 years old, therefore; I went through the entire school system in Canada from Kindergarten onwards. Do you think I would need to study for a citizenship exam? The answer is ‘yes’ otherwise I most likely wouldn’t have passed or at least not have done very well.
    I took the test 5 years ago and I passed :)

  39. Allison says:

    I have to say I’m not a fan of the Obamacare joke either. I come here for the fun and snarky but not when it comes to the livelong struggle I’ve had with obtaining healthcare. Canada day doesn’t mean crapping on the struggles of your neighbors … then backing out with a denial of knowing anything about it. Boo.

    • Vicki says:

      Karen is irreverent never ‘snarky’ and does not intentionally crap on anyone. Have a piece of bacon and chill with a caesar, it’s Canada Day!

  40. Dominic says:

    Well, I lived in Metro Detroit, and now I live in Metro Buffalo, Not too much keeping me away from Canada! So I guess I’m not too surprised that I got 8 out of 10. Although 2 of my correct answers were yanked straight out of my ass.

  41. Jacqueline says:

    Woot! 10/10. Do I win something, a can of maple syrup, a hockey puck, a toque, Canadian Tire money?

    Sorry, shouldn’t brag, not very Canadian of me, eh?

    Bonne fête du Canada!

  42. Amber says:

    woo hoo! 9 out of 10, and I’m drunk! \
    No. 10 had too many multi syllabic words to focus on properly, so I gave up.
    yup, born in CANADA
    Note: my score may change tomorrow when I do the test sober. I’m aware of that.

  43. Missnicoleo says:

    Also 9/10 but majority I guessed based on the ridiculous other options in some questions. Is this a legit test??

  44. Kathy Hartzell says:

    Well, with extra credit, I get 80%, but with a sample of only ten questions, we cannot get 75% so you flunked Candadian math, too.

    And I don’t agree that healthcare for all is a failure. I think it is working, when you have people able to get mammograms, not to have to decide if they can afford to go to the clinic for a cough of two months….our system has been broken forever. It will take a few years, but already it is benefitting more than it is inconveniencing. And, I am one who pays the “inconvenience” fee, and think it is the right thing to do.

    • Karen says:

      True. It’s the actual test (which has more than 10 questions) you must get 75% on. ~ karen!

    • Marta says:

      I’d say Obamacare is not working — yet. But change was needed, and nothing of that magnitude is going to work right out of the gate.

  45. Nicole says:

    80% in Canada-adjacent Michigan. All that separates me from being Canadian is a passing a test and Lake Huron.

  46. Jenny W says:


  47. Sherri says:

    If they kick you out, you can come visit us in Washington State!

  48. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    #10 did me in. Arghhhhh

  49. Sherri says:

    Typo in title?

  50. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    9 out of 10. I’m gobsmacked.

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