With yet another flag-waving Canada Day behind us, replete with a veritable love-in of self-congratulatory fervour, one cannot escape the uncomfortable notion that it’s a slippery slope from patriotism to jingoism.
All denials to the contrary, Canada’s official policy of legislated multiculturalism has in reality become a sad manifestation of the intense insecurity that has developed with regard to our historical national identity.
Thus, all measure of things have been named and renamed “Canada”, be it Canada Day or Canada Place or the Canada Line, lest we might forget who we are or where we are or what we are.
Our constant and often smugly superior references to “Canadian values” have become yet another anxiously contrived and carefully “engineered” expression of our cultural angst.
The reason why other countries do not engage in the jingoism of referring to their national days as “America Day” or “France Day” or “Germany Day” or “Holland Day”, etc. is that they are secure in the knowledge as to who they are and what they are and where they are.
National days celebrate historical achievement. The French people gave birth to their nation on July 14, 1789, and celebrate it as Bastille Day. Americans gave birth to their nation on July 4, 1776, and celebrate it as Independence Day.
Canada began its journey to self-government on July 1, 1867, as the federal Dominion of Canada with the confederation of the new Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia… so let’s celebrate Canada’s birth as Confederation Day or, better even, return to our historical beginning and re-name it back to Dominion Day.