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Victor Buha peers out in downtown Calgary after Albertans awoke to a deep freeze on Monday, Jan. 28, 2008 (Jeff McIntosh/Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
Victor Buha peers out in downtown Calgary after Albertans awoke to a deep freeze on Monday, Jan. 28, 2008 (Jeff McIntosh/Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

My national uniform: the balaclava Add to ...

In the days leading up to Canada Day, The Globe is teaming up with Facebook for an unscientific survey of Canadians about what our true national symbols should be. We've also asked a few Canadians to share their picks. Today, Little Mosque on the Prairie creator Zarqa Nawaz makes her pitch.

Be it resolved the balaclava should be Canada's national uniform.

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Before you sniff and insist it's only a winter garment for children who don't mind being targets of ridicule, think again. The balaclava is already an indispensable garment for adults who work in climate-sensitive professions: mapmakers and tree planters. Hardy Canadian professions if there ever were one or two.

Now that I've opened your mind to the possibilities of the balaclava, let's talk about my personal demons. I live in Saskatchewan, which has had two months of endless rain. As a result, the mosquito season is out of control. Locals who left for jobs in Alberta realized the folly of their decision when Saskatchewan was declared Canada's premier province for economic growth and opportunity. But they can't drive back because the Trans-Canada is flooded at the border.

Agree or disagree? Is the balaclava really Canada's national uniform?

And flooding means more mosquitoes.

The buzzing in our parks is rivaled only by the blare of the vuvuzelas in South Africa. As we drench our children in Muskol and various other insect repellents, barbecue season suddenly becomes much more hazardous. A simple flame-resistant balaclava, the kind firefighters wear, would instantly eliminate the worry about kids becoming part of the main course.

We asked Canadians to send us their Facebook photos of their favourite places in Canada. Here are our editors' picks, from Tofino to Twillingate And then there's the sun. Sure, parents have a myriad of choices in sunscreens, but that's hardly reassuring. Last week, The Globe reported that sunscreen ingredient retinyl palmitate accelerates tumour growth in hairless mice. It makes you think twice about breaking out the lotion. If a mouse can't make it with sunscreen, what chance do pasty-faced, hairless Canadians have? A summertime balaclava could reduce accelerated tumour growth anxiety.

Of course, summer balaclavas would have to use a more sun-friendly material than the itchy acrylic knits of winter. And who better to consult than the Saudis? After all, Saudi women have been covering their faces for years. In fact, the Saudis could stand to show a little skin, given their dry heat and lack of Koranic plagues of mosquitoes. We could trade garments in an international goodwill gesture. They give us their veils and we'll give them a few red and white tube tops.

The Globe is teaming up with Facebook to ask Canadians about what symbolizes Canada

And the name balaclava is so pretty. It just rolls off the tongue. It sounds like a pastry made in the Middle East. The only catch is that if you wear one in Quebec, you might be denied government services, given the balaclava's resemblance to the newly banned niqab. So don't wear one when taking a French exam.

The French have berets, the Scots have the kilt, the Indians have the sari. All respectable garments - but how cool are balaclavas? Think of all the people in history who have worn them. Ninja warriors, racecar drivers, SWAT teams, G20 anarchists, the IRA and the occasional oppressed Muslim woman. It's the perfect garment to up our exotic quotient in the world.

In conclusion, balaclavas provide protection from the cold, the sun, fire, insects, and the lascivious gaze of the opposite sex. We balaclava-wearing Canadians would finally be safe from the elements.

Zarqa Nawaz is the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie . She lives in Regina, where she's currently rubbing calamine lotion on her mosquito bites.

Agree? Disagree? Vote online and have your say at facebook.com/facebookcanada

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