Sunday, July 01, 2012

Now That's An Awesome History

Today  is Canada Day.

Amid the hoopla, I hope Canadians remember Canada Day is more than just a holiday; it's also a day to remind ourselves we live in a country with the world's most boring name for a national holiday.

I mean come on, with all the government grants we dole out to writers and poets, you would think somebody could dream up a holiday name that was a little less generic-sounding.

I asked my son to suggest a better name for the holiday and he came up with an excellent idea -- "Awesome Day."

Now that's cool.

But of course, the holiday's name doesn't really matter. What truly matters is on July 1 we salute the fact that 145 years ago, a new nation was forged; a nation dedicated to shutting down the oilsands, raising taxes and bringing back the gun registry.

Oops, sorry that's Canada Day according to the NDP.

What I mean to say is Canada is a special and wonderful place -- a place where people are free to follow their dreams, a place where beautiful landscapes delight the eye and a place where everyone regardless of race, creed or colour has the right to cheer for NHL teams that fail to win the Stanley Cup.

And yes throughout our history we have overcome many challenges.

In the 1970s we endured the "Trudeau Years" when former prime minister Pierre Trudeau sought to impose the Cuban economic model on the country through a program of socialist experiments, bigger government and a poorer Alberta.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Trudeau also gutted our military, alienated our allies and dated Barbra Streisand.

We also survived the Mulroney era. Whereas Trudeau tried to wreck our economic system, former PM Brian Mulroney shattered our domestic peace in the name of granting Quebec the constitutional status of a "distinct society."

Mind you, this was done with the noblest of intentions: To win votes in Quebec.

And so, Mulroney pushed the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, both of which enjoyed the backing of the country's media, intellectual and business elites; and so naturally both accords failed.

Mulroney did succeed, however, in unleashing years of tortuous, nation-dividing and pointless constitutional debates which culminated in the 1995 Quebec referendum on independence.

Ultimately Quebecers voted -- by the narrowest of margins -- to continue accepting multi-billion dollar transfer payments from Canadian taxpayers.

After Mulroney, Jean Chretien of the Liberals assumed control. Unlike his predecessors, Chretien stayed away from grand economic and constitutional schemes meaning his government was free to focus on other more important matters, such as corruption.

So scandal-ridden was the Chretien government that Liberal fundraising letters noted donations to the party could be made by cheque, credit card or cash-stuffed envelope.

But we survived that too.

The point I am trying to make is that despite the best (worst) efforts of our politicians, Canada is still the best country in the world.

Yes we have our problems, but can you really think of any other place you would rather live? (Okay maybe southern California, but that's about it.)

Now if only we could change the name of our national holiday to Awesome Day.

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