We may be boring but we're big
I am ambivalent at best about Canada/Dominion Day. I tend to find it a bit like New Year’s Eve – a contrived holiday in which people are ‘told’ to have a good time. To celebrate!
To celebrate what, exactly? To celebrate the fact that some parts of this place are more equal than others? We actually have ‘Equalization Payments’ that prove that gem, as in the fact some provinces pack more political clout than others, so if they fall on hard times, due to their own fiscal ineptitude and corruption, the people in other provinces are called upon to bail them out – yet again.
To celebrate the fact we have one of the most inefficient systems of governance of any self-respecting western democracy? A system of governance which holds that all votes of consequence are relegated to the eastern part of the province and that we all must revere the Toronto Maple Leafs, even though anybody outside of Toronto itself couldn’t even muster detestation of the team.
It’s also a system of governance in which a nice old foreign lady has, for the sake of tradition and for little other reason, a great deal of constitutional sway over what we do. She has no actual power over us, but I think it’s time we grew past this colonial vestige and became a real grown up country.
Canada is, of course, a land of great physical beauty combined with the ghastliest climate outside of Siberia for the most part, and soggy and wet in the bit I call home. There is only solace in the fact that the worst climate in the known universe is to be found in Ottawa, the national capital.
One of our newspapers ran a thing yesterday in which Canadians, including British Columbians, were asked to name a group of Canucks they revered. Firstly, I don’t believe their findings, and secondly I cannot conceive of even one British Columbian who would see either Pierre Trudeau or (shudder) Celine Dion as symbols of anything other than what is wrong with this damn place.
But, for your enlightenment, here is the list with a few of my opinions:
* Pierre Trudeau: Not for anybody west of the Great Lakes or east of Ontario. The arrogant bastard was responsible for much of what is reprehensible in Canada.
* Terry Fox: OK, he deserves to be there.
* Wayne Gretzky: Remember when hockey players used to be Canadian? He was one of them, though he’s lived in the US for years.
* Tommy Douglas: To a degree, and certainly for Medicare, though not a lot else other than he’s Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather.
* David Suzuki: Not in any lexicon of mine. Not unless there is a category for boundless egomania without anywhere near as much substance as his acolytes believe.
* John A. Macdonald: Our first PM, a world-class lush, builder of a transcontinental railroad who gave Gordon Lightfoot something to sing about.
* Rick Hansen: OK, pretty darned admirable by any standard.
* Lester Pearson: Beloved by federal Liberals as a kind of icon (albeit with remarkably little personality), and he gets marks from me, as he was the first to feel the devious shaft of Pierre Trudeau.
* Celine Dion????????????? Why, at any level. I absolutely refuse to believe this one. For, if I did, I’d give up all hope for the country.
* Emily Carr: An overrated semi-talented artist who has been vastly surpassed by countless other Canadian wielders of brush.
What, no kudos for Pam Anderson, Howie Mandel, Alex Trebek, or the Unknown Comic?
But, at the end of the day, and for all its flaws, Canada remains a place that is relatively safe, relatively sane, relatively compassionate and, for all our lack of pizzazz, not such a bad place in which to live – especially in the summer months.
Happy July 1st for those who mark such things.
Labels: Here we are up here