Because Bitumen, Environmental Destruction and Dispossession of land are much more difficult to portray as warm and cuddly toys at gift shops around the country. Seriously? Global economic crisis and this is best they could come up with as a distraction?
Actually this is a fitting symbolic shift.
What better way to depict the deeply incongruous impact of humanity on the Canadian landscape than to reject the beaver? The beaver may cause enormous environmental changes at the local level, but they also create new ecosystems with dams and dens.
The polar bear, like Canada, sits on a rapidly diminishing ice floe, set adrift by environmental damage and unable to affect the very behaviours that have caused the crisis. Drifting towards extinction.
Yes, tragically, the polar bear might be a better symbol.