Canada is a big country, but sometimes it feels narrow and unaccommodating. A place where you conform, or risk the lashing of people around you. That is what happened to Carolyn Parrish and Ali Bakthiari last week. On the same day, thousands of kilometres apart, they learned that you can pay a price for being too different. Ms Parrish is a federal politician who is famed for saying what most Canadians think: that US President George W. Bush is war-like and even a bit dangerous. She says it loud and she says it often, but she finally went too far: she appeared on a television comedy show and stomped on a Bush doll. It got a big laugh, but not from her boss, Prime Minister Paul Martin. He sacked the Toronto politician. Meanwhile, Ali Bakhtiari found that while his neighbours in ultra-rich West Vancouver are tolerant of many things, strong fragrant cooking is not one of them. The city council warned him that unless the odours of his Persian takeout restaurant stay inside his kitchen, he would be fined as much as C$10,000 ($65,000). 'Unjust and racist,' was Mr Bakhtiari's reaction. The Globe & Mail had fun with the story: 'Scents, sensibility clash in West Van' the headline read. So what do these stories have in common? Nothing, except that they are a little embarrassing, and they remind us that we're not quite as worldly as we like to think we are. Ms Parrish has been elected three times in a row, with comfortable margins, as a Liberal member of Parliament in her constituency. The people like her. When a news microphone inadvertently picked up her voice calling Americans 'bastards' several months ago, she got a lot of supportive mail from Canadians who feel that Ottawa is still too subservient to Washington. Canadians are also a bit testy about American criticism of our tolerance for same-sex marriage. But Mr Martin is trying hard to improve relations with the US, so we can sell the Americans more beef and lumber. Mr Bush is due to visit Ottawa next month, and there is some concern Ms Parrish may cause a scene. As for Mr Bakhtiari, he's wondering what kind of community he's set up shop in. A few months ago, West Vancouver passed a 'good neighbour' bylaw that requires homeowners to pull up offending weeds from their gardens. And last year, another bylaw banned outside lighting on residential property, if the light penetrates a neighbour's property. Now, the no-smell law. Owners of the city's multimillion-dollar homes say they have nothing against ethnic restaurants. They just don't want the smells. Did somebody here say Nanny State?