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Sarah Palin’s Canadian connection?

Americans have long noted the unfortunate Canadian habit of laying claim to some of their most famous celebs with a smug: “She’s Canadian you know.”

But that faux pas, driven by our national inferiority complex, has finally backfired on us.

In an ill-considered bid for publicity, is laying claim to Sarah Palin.

As if Pamela Anderson isn’t embarrassing enough.

Apparently we have Francis H. Oriel of Kingston, Ontario (b.1832) to blame for the Canuck connection. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1851, and eventually settled in Chicago.

In our defence, Oriel was barely Canadian. His father came from Norfolk England, and Frank crossed the border before he was 21. That makes him more of a tourist. At best, maybe a landed immigrant. But it’s a stretch to call him Canadian.

Perhaps more revealing is Palin’s connection to England’s Henry III. To quote Wikipedia, the 13th century absolute monarch had few personal accomplishments, despite his 58 year reign, and he was a political and military failure. He was unusually religious, fought wars on behalf of the Pope, and was constantly embroiled in battles he couldn’t win. This includes civil wars, since he had a polarizing effect on his subjects. He was known for being extravagant, greedy, and having a tendency toward nepotism.

But if must boost its profile with Canadian celeb connections, perhaps they could put a shine on our passports by finding national links to Americans who don’t make us all cringe. Say, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, or Palin's doppelganger Tina Fey. Given their edgy humour, they’re way more likely to have dipped in the Canadian gene pool than Palin.

Shannon Rupp is a contributing editor at The Tyee.

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