As we prepare for a quintessentially Canadian celebration of our national holiday, hoping the long weekend traffic is not made intolerable by native blockades, I seek reasons to wave a flag. I’ve settled on the national beer glass being well over half full.
I know, I know. “It could be much worse” is a quintessentially Canadian rallying cry. I would like to be more positive. But I cannot do a Maple Leaf Forever kind of column, not least because that aspect of our heritage is not exactly popular with the smart set. Americans generally lay aside their grievances on the 4th of July because they regard their history as fundamentally glorious. But here the official view is quite different. Our statesmen were bigots, our industrialists rapacious, our scholars hegemonist, our soldiers war criminals, and our past a shabby nightmare from which we are only now awakening.
As a typical article in the History Society magazine The Beaver grumped a few years back, “Expo ’67 promoted a narrow notion of Canada suggested by the title of the world fair — Man and His World — a place where white, Western, and well-heeled values were paramount. But Expo was a last gasp for a Canadian identity that marginalized the voices of women, Québécois, aboriginal peoples, and new Canadians, even while it celebrated world culture.” Who doesn’t feel like setting off a few fireworks after reading that passage? Continue Reading →
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