Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Happy Canadas* Day!

* No, that's not a typographical error.


Sir Francis would like to take this moment to offer belated congratulations to his Québecois friends, whose national holiday has recently passed, and anticipatory congratulations to his Albertan friends, whose national holiday is shortly to come.

He must admit, though, to being puzzled by all this talk of "Canada", as if the year 2006 did not occur. He recalls that Parliament, under the leadership of Stephen Harper (and working from a script co-authored by Gilles Duceppe and Michael Ignatieff), decreed that Québec was a nation (languishing inside some allegedly "united" state called "Canada").

Having dragged us back to pre-Act-of-Union balkanisation at the behest of classically cracker-barrel provincialist panderers, the House really should have followed up with a motion decreeing that what had been called "Canada" since 1841 should now again be called "the Canadas", pursuant to ancient practice.

Despite that official oversight, I shall conform myself to the new reality and wish a happy Canadas Day to all of my Liberal/"Conservative"/NDP/BQ/Green/Marxist-Leninist/Marijuana Party/Family Coalition/Christian Heritage/Rhino Party friends, and a happy Canada Day (and an even happier "Dominion Day") to all those who, like me, know bloody well that the Fathers conceived of us as one nation and that the entity they conceived has been worthy of its real estate only when it has behaved as a nation.

Just for laughs, please read this account of Stephen Harper's remarks, delivered today on Parliament Hill. As usual, when required to deliver reasons for Canadian pride, Harper comes up preposterously, hilariously dry. We read this about his drivelling banalities:

Harper reminded the assembled that Canada is blessed with resources, a vast northern frontier and a diverse population that includes aboriginal people and immigrants from around the world. He said Canadians should be proud of their work to protect the environment and to help Afghanistan.
Thus, we should be proud of our landscape and demography--much as the people of Uzbekistan should presumably give themselves a collective Nobel Prize for their steppes and tribal diversity--and we should exult in having retreated from every multilateral environmental commitment we could run from and in having played a role in helping push Afghanistan to a point of failure even more catastrophic than its agonies during the Taliban era.

This is the best our head of government could do to celebrate a nation that has, through the toil of many generations, been made into one of the wonders of the world. I doubt if one can find in the chronicles of Canada Day speeches (if any such thing is kept) a feeble bleat of more sublimely pedestrian inanity.

Both Harper and Governor-General Michaëlle Jean appear to have made the recent apology over residential schools a key part of their speeches, giving Canadian pride a bold, new dimension: not only can we be proud of our lakes and trees, but we can also be proud that we feel sorry about our ancestors having done bad stuff.

Perhaps this mania will be contagious. Perhaps we shall, later this week, hear G. W. Bush declare how proud Americans should be that some of them feel rather awkward about their forbears having whipped, raped and worked to death so many black folk.

Ah, but "only in Canada", you say? Thank God.

14 comments:

Aeneas the Younger said...

It will always be "Dominion Day" to me ...

Ti-Guy said...

Thank God we gave you people the word Canada. I shudder to think what you'd have called it...Borealia, most likely. Can you imagine the mockery?

Sir Francis said...

Thank God we gave you people the word "Canada".

Yeah, and you even managed not to mangle the Iroquoian too badly...

I don't think we would have gone for "Borealia", though--too abstract, and without an obvious reference to ourselves.

I would have voted for "Wolfeland", if given the chance: it has a sleekly (and ironically, as it turned out) predatory ring to it. :)

liberal supporter said...

The Loblaws of Wolfeland?

Ti-Guy said...

Yeah, and you even managed not to mangle the Iroquoian too badly...

Now, now. As ATY, says: "Don't bite the hand that feeds you."

I don't think we would have gone for "Borealia", though--too abstract, and without an obvious reference to ourselves.

Huh? Borealis was one of the names orignally tossed into the ring at Confederation.

How do you think Australia got its name?

Sir Francis said...

How do you think Australia got its name?

Hmm...I'm guessing the fact that British authorities were very much not interested in getting input from the inhabitants had something to do with it.

Ti-Guy said...

Indeed. But it's still dumb name for a country, don't you think?

I may be biased, though, I confuse Autriche with Autruche and quite often end up thinking the Ostrich is indigenous to either Austria or Australia.

Sir Francis said...

Indeed. But it's still dumb name for a country, don't you think?

You bet. Right up there with Greenland. Why not just call it "Landland"?

By the way, what say you about the latest humiliation offered to your peuple? Have you been in touch with the local chapter of the FLFO (Front de la libération franco-Ontarien)? :)

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

Good post. Canada Day in my town included a parade with 3 horses and a fire truck, a barbeque at the legion, local musicians playing bluegrass, native C&W, and raunchy rock.

A little different than Ottawa. But still very Canadian.

Does this mean there is more than one Canada, or just variations on a theme?

Ti-Guy said...

Have you been in touch with the local chapter of the FLFO (Front de la libération franco-Ontarien)? :)

..euh...ontarienne.

And yes, I have. We're blowing up ATY's shrine to Elizabeth I next week.

Oh, relax, CSIS Operative #389. I'm just kidding.

Sir Francis said...

..euh...ontarienne.

Câlisse!

Sir Francis said...

A little different than Ottawa.

Not really. Virtually everything you describe occurred in Ottawa as well (except the fire truck!). Perhaps, despite the best efforts of our divisive hack politicians, Canadians are more alike than you think.

Let's face it: national holidays transpire pretty much the same way across the world. Much "Hooray-for-us" ballyhooing during the day and much public urination and vomiting after dark. Whatever.

I'm not "proud" to be Canadian. I did nothing to earn it; I was born into it. I would as logically be proud to be green-eyed.

Canadian citizenship is not something to be proud of. It's something to live up to. Too few of us manage to do so, our so-called "leaders" and all the rest of the buffoonish denizens of the House of Comics least of all.

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

You are absolutely correct, we don't even know what it is we need to live up to.

Politician's certainly wouldn't find votes in an effort to tell us either. We are stuck in a national purgatory of bad politics and poor appreciation for our own birth right.

Dylan said...

Amen, Sir Francis! And a belated Happy Canadas Day to you too!