The Next Chapter

Mike Myers on the meaning of Canada

The comedian and actor on his book about growing up Canadian, and what he loves about the country.
Mike Myers joined The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers in studio to talk about his new book about being Canadian.

Comedian and actor Mike Myers is one of Canada's most famous exports — the Scarborough, Ont. native may have moved to the United States, but he's never forgotten his roots. For Canada's sesquicentennial this year, Myers has released Canada, a book that's part memoir, part cultural commentary and part fond comedic riff on the country's people and culture.

Mike Myers joined Shelagh Rogers in Toronto to talk about the book. 

On the Canadian identity

Canadians value progressive ideals — we value cooperation more than we value exploitation, we value being in alignment with people as opposed to powering over them. These are beautiful things. This is why when everybody meets me around the world — and everyone knows I'm Canadian — there's a sense that my default mechanism is alignment and not powering over. How can we do this together? How can we work together to make this fantastic? We think we don't know who we are, but we do know who we are. Over time, with the force of cultural evolution, we may have found out who we are, which is a collection of ideals. And they're beautiful ideals, they're the best ideals. And that will be our greatest legacy.

On the importance of culture

All of us who are citizens can have knowledge, and culture. Culture is everybody's birthright, and it needs to be protected, it needs to be subsidized, it needs to be nurtured. And Canada does a good job of nurturing its culture. This is who we are at the end of the day — after we've housed, fed, shod, cleansed, what-have-you — we want to have a sense that we're part of something cool. And this was very important to me, that it was possible for me to make culture. It wasn't just something that the upper classes did.

Mike Myers' comments have been edited and condensed.