Travels with Myself

A Journal of Discovery and Transition
Doug Jordan, Author

24.12 Dominion Day Revisited

June 30 is the eve of the Canadian National Holiday and as should be the case for any significant date for which we honour some aspect of our culture, the eve should prepare us for the hallowed day of reverence, gratitude, appreciation, and celebration that follows.

Canada Day, despite the clumsy ring of the word on our tongues, should be one of those days. And in many ways it still is. Canadians, well, most Canadians, multi-generational Canadians as well as recent ones, love this country of their choice or their birth. But there are many apologists, and nihilists, out there who don’t. Their value set seems more to criticize and tear down than to honour and build.

Canada began to take on its own identity in the 17th century with the French fur traders and settlers, then, increasingly with the migration of English (and Scottish and Irish) settlers to this land in the 18th century. A loose confederation of English, French and Aboriginal Canadians under the leadership of the British, fended off the American expansionists in the war of 1812. The Fathers of Confederation forged the Dominion of Canada, under the courageous leadership of Sir John A. Macdonald, (who incidentally promoted the equality of Aboriginal peoples in Canada), in 1867. In the 20th century, waves of immigrants adapted quicky to the Canadian idea. They shared in the sacrifices of building a nation separate from America and Britain (and France) and yet joined in the defence of our heritage in two world wars and in defence subsequently of democratic free-enterprise societies.

July 1 is Canada’s national holiday as designated by Parliament in 1879 in recognition of the formation of the Dominion of Canada by our Fathers of Confederation, July 1, 1867. It was designated as Dominion Day but to some republican-minded Liberals the name was changed to the tongue-twisting and banal ‘Canada Day’ by a rump parliament of 12 Liberals in 1982. Now, two or three generations on, everyone accepts that July 1 is ‘Canada Day, and vacuous tv and radio personalities juvenilely wish us all ‘Happy Birthday, Canada’. 

It is to weep. (I wrote extensively on this in a previous blog post: Bring Us Back Our Dominion Day.)

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ (Georges Santayana), applies. Canada has a proud heritage, as a dominion, that is, “autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations” (Balfour Declaration, Clause II).

To rename our national observation as ‘Canada Day’ is to disrespect 150 years or more of our history. The consequences of this erosion are concerning.

Our country is not without faults, and it is fair game to audit, evaluate, propose changes and seek widespread support for ideas for how our society should evolve. But this cannot be by revolution and destruction, the feverish ravings of a small minority in our midst. 

Revolution and anarchy is not the Canadian way, respectful gradualism is. 

True to its nature, I suppose, Canadian identity has been gradually, inevitably, evolving. Gradualism, however, isn’t always for the best; when the vocal activist minority persist and the passive majority gradually give way, this acceptance, inurement even, of the views of the active few does not form a firm foundation for strongly held shared values. Our identity gradually erodes into blandness, loss and vulnerability.

Worse, over the last almost ten years of government by a cabal of undergraduate ‘progressives’ lead by the president of the United Nations Club, we have gradually lost our identity as a serious player on the world. Our Prime Minister, duly elected, I admit, by a majority of urbanists, declared himself at the start of his regime, as the head of the world’s first post-national state. Most people glaze over at this fuzzy concept. The world is not ready for the realities of the ‘global village’. (More on that in my next post – The Global Village Paradox.) How many Canadians voted to be the model for ‘post-nationalism’.

What has Canada become?

When people parade around on July 1 wishing each other Happy Canada Day, I feel the emptiness of this baby talk. I feel the erosion of our national identity. I no longer feel pride of accomplishment, of clarity of purpose.

Bring us back our Dominion Day.

Doug Jordan, reporting to you from Kanata.

© Douglas Jordan & AFS Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of these blogs and newsletters may be reproduced without the express permission of the author and/or the publisher, except upon payment of a small royalty, 5¢. 

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