Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Dominion of Canada Day… does that cover it?

I didn’t celebrate Canada Day today, or Dominion Day, or even July 1st… I figured if the Canadian Embassy in Washington didn’t feel the need to celebrate, why should I?

I’m not even sure how to celebrate it anymore.  We used to celebrate Victoria Day when I was a kid... we even had a poem.  You might remember it.

The Twenty-fourth of May
Is the Queen’s birthday
And if you don’t give us a holiday
We’ll all run away!

We would celebrate it on a Tuesday or whatever day it fell on.  If it fell on the weekend we just didn’t get a day off.

How did we celebrate?  We lit off fireworks and firecrackers.  Dominion Day?  We really didn’t do much.  No poems, I don’t even recall fireworks.

In 1967 it was a big deal.  It was the Centennial, Montreal was hosting Expo ‘67.  A lot of people went to Montreal that year.  I didn’t, I was too young.  We had a play at school instead.

Back in’ 67 we had something to celebrate.  We acknowledged our past but it was mainly looking at where we were at and where we were going to.  We knew we were fortunate to live in a wonderful country and we were looking towards a bright future.  We had a new flag (1965) that we were showing the world and we had new ideas to move that world with.

We were looking forward to a better world then, things worthy of celebration.

This year, we have a big show at Parliament Hill that wraps its arms around the War of 1812, the Queen and the Olympic Team.

Isn’t it funny how the guys who want to fete the War of 1812 are among the people who killed a historic part of that victory?

How so? 

Part of that victory was the taking of the Fort in Detroit.  Using the road that Governor Simcoe had built to link Upper Canada from end to end.  This Governor’s road was to become Ontario’s Highway #2.  This is the same Highway #2 that Jim Flaherty and Mike Harris exiled to the cities and the counties because the province of Ontario no longer wanted it.

Sadly, the remnants of historic Highway #2 are in pretty rough shape for the most part.

But that seems to happen whenever the current crop of politicians now under the Harper Banner touch anything.

I’m saddened when I read that the crowds of people who wanted to attend the party on Parliament Hill were reduced to a mere trickle because they had to clear the RCMP security detail at the gates.  Guys, it’s our House, you are only guests.

I’m saddened that the Harper Government has chosen to celebrate a war from some 200 years ago rather than looking towards the future.  But then again, I don’t know what kind of future the Harper Government envisions.  I’m not even sure I want to.

Anyway, today I tweeted that I wasn’t celebrating Canada Day,

#HappyCanadaDay I'm not celebrating, but don't let that stop you. Stephen has ruined it for a lot of us. #DenounceHarper #cdnpoli

I was accused of “sour grapes” in a reply.  I responded “Not sour grapes, my opinion.  While I’m still allowed to have one.”

Maybe all these years I’ve been running off the optimism of the 1960s and especially 1967 and maybe I’ve finally run out.  I just can’t recall a politician who has made me feel so badly that I want to have nothing to do with him or anything he has a hand in.

Things seemed simpler back then.  When we worked together we were able do great things.  We helped our neighbours and our neighbours helped us.  I shovelled your snow and you gave me some tomatoes because mine never seemed to turn out as nice as yours.

We were just nicer to each other then.

Maybe that’s why I don’t want to “celebrate” Canada Day this year.  The Canada that Stephen Harper wants to celebrate just doesn’t appeal to me.

Oh, by the way, that Embassy in Washington that isn’t celebrating Canada Day…  They will be hosting an event for the Fourth of July.

I guess it’s all about priorities.

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