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.