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Canadians can’t all be nice guys, eh?

A Canadian history magazine plans to highlight how a country stereotyped for its polite and somewhat boring citizenry is also home to its share of scoundrels through a survey seeking "the worst Canadian."
/ Source: Reuters

A Canadian history magazine plans to highlight how a country stereotyped for its polite and somewhat boring citizenry is also home to its share of scoundrels through a survey seeking "the worst Canadian."

"Our international reputation has us as this very nice, quiet, friendly place," said Deborah Morrison, president of Canada's National History Society, which publishes The Beaver magazine.

"We thought it would be fun to show people our seamier side and take a look at some of our more villainous characters, and how they've helped to shape our country," Morrison said.

So far, visitors to the magazine's Web site at www.thebeaver.ca have nominated pop singers like Celine Dion and Shania Twain as well as criminals and prime ministers, she said.

But she said currently in the lead is "somebody only Canadians could know and hate:" the late Harold Ballard, former owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team.

"We take our hockey very seriously," Morrison said.

Ballard, a self-described misanthropic "miserable old bastard" was loathed by fans and served time in jail for fraud and tax evasion.

The magazine's Aug. 1 issue will publish poll results for "Canada's most foul, useless, maligning and destructive human forces" as well as more rigorous opinions from historians and Canadian writers, she said.

Morrison said the magazine cribbed the idea from BBC History Magazine, whose readers chose serial killer Jack the Ripper as the worst Briton in history in a 2005 poll.