The Americanization of Canadianism
Strange how things start innocuously and then suddenly take flight. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Cardboard Canadians, pointing the finger at the cheapskate Conservative government in general and Joy Smith in particular. I thought at the time the only agenda they had was to humiliate the general population with their paper flags that we’re supposed to paste on our windows to show our allegiance to Canada. But oh no, they were serious. That was pretty well evident from the goings on in Ottawa on Canada Day.
It seems that they’ve got the CBC embedded in their activities too. Of course that’s where all the hullabaloo is coming from in the first place. Every reporter was in everybody’s face asking what it means for them to be Canadian – even young children. Bloody hell! I almost felt like starting to sing: “Canada, Canada, Über Alles” Disgusting!
Of course, as part of the entertainment, they also had to have a re-enactment of the War of 1812. This of course is the two-hundredth anniversary of that war. The re-enactment was a mistake if ever there was one. History tells us that there were at least a dozen Aboriginal nations who took the side of the British in this conflict. These were the only Canadians there were at the time. The rest were all British and French immigrants. After the Indians helped them win the war, we (the immigrants) immediately went about the business of decimating the Indian Tribes with disease and starvation, herding them onto useless pieces of land with a lot of empty promises. We stole their resources, their languages and cultures, and their land and continue to do so. We – the “Canadians” that is, established a head tax on Chinese immigrants to keep these undesirables out of the country after having exploited their laborers to build the railroad opening up the west. During WW II, we– the “Canadians” that is, rounded up all the Japanese Canadians, expropriated their property and held them prisoner for the duration of the war and stuck the profits from the sale of their former properties in our pockets. During the same war we – the “Canadians” that is, refused to take in Jews trying to escape Hitler’s gas chambers.
I could go on. But we did our good things too. Nobel Laureate Lester Pearson created an army of peacekeepers to deploy across the world. Their service was second to none. But we – the “Canadians” that is, have them turned into combat troops, intent on killing rather than keeping the peace.
Like it or not, this is our real legacy. Should we be proud to be “Canadians”? Should we, like the Americans, sweep all that dirt under the flag in denial and pretend we are all good and our country Canada is pristine and without blemish? Shall we look at the abuses we foster on others and say, “Oh, we’re not like that, we’re Canadian!” Look at the reputation the USA has around the world. Is that what we’re aiming for? No, let’s not do that. Let’s rather take ownership of our imperfections for once.
It’s not like we’re living in a war torn dictatorship or anything like that. There are lots of countries worse off than we are, no question about it. Most of us would think we have it pretty good in our daily lives, and so we do, relatively speaking. But for heaven’s sake, let’s not throw our nice clean white flag with the red maple leaf on it over everything that’s wrong and pretend nothing is wrong. Rex Murphy (bless his Rhodes Scholarliness) said it about right when he commented on parliament members leaving their characters on the doorstep of parliament on entering to the point that neither they nor their offices are respected, and that the media gobbled up their rhetoric for the sake of entertainment.
And that’s exactly where the bottleneck lies. If they would just shut up long enough to look around, they would find that for the most part we are decent people living our lives the best we can, keeping our various cultures close to the vest, respecting one another’s individuality and obeying the laws of the land. What else do they want? We know who we are. What does it matter what anyone else thinks? At least that’s the way it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.