Friday, July 01, 2005

Canada Day

We've just come back from a day in Edmonton celebrating Canada Day 2005, and it reminded me of all that we have to celebrate.

Canada has been through a lot in our 138 years of official nationhood. In the family of nations, we're still just a kid with a lot to learn. For a kid, we haven't done too badly and we've given the family a lot of things.

In the world of aviation and space exploration, we gave them the anti-g suit (1940), the Canadarm (1981), the crash position indicator (1959), the helicopter bear trap for landing on a ship's deck, the jet airliner, the radio compass, STOL aircraft, and the variable pitch propeller (1918). We've also given them people like J.A.D. McCurdy, Billy Bishop, Wop May, Buzz Beurling, Andrew Mynarsky, Max Ward, Marc Garneau, Chris Hadfield, Roberta Bondar, Julie Payette and many, many more.

In the world of sports we've contributed games such as basketball (1892), lacrosse (circa 1600), hockey and five pin bowling (1909). The names Naismith, Howe, Richard, Orr, Gretzky, Villeneuve and hundreds more have brought us international glory.

The world is a healthier place because of Canadian inventions like insulin (1921), polio vaccine, the pacemaker, heart valve operations and the CPR dummy.

Some things could only have been invented in Canada. Who else would have come up with the snowblower (1927), the snowmobile (1937) and, of course, Muskol.

Canada has led the way with communications firsts like the telephone (1874), the foghorn (1854), newsprint (1838), the walkie-talkie (1942), wirephoto and standard time.

For the household, Canada has supplied the electric cooking range (1882), gingerale (1904), pablum (1930), frozen fish (1926), kerosene (1840), the first patented lightbulb (1874), the jolly jumper and the washing machine.

In the miscellaneous category, we gave the world the rollerskate, the ear piercer, the hydrofoil, the IMAX theatre, Superman (1938), Trivial Pursuit (1982), the zipper, AND, drum roll please, the brainstorm of a brilliant young inventor named Steve Pasjac. In 1957, Steve invented the retractable beer carton handle and beer lovers have been thanking him ever since.

The entertainment world has been enriched by more Canadian entertainers in every category than is possible to list. And, most of them are assumed to be American, because that's where they've made their money.

Finally, we've given the family well over one hundred thousand of our sons and daughters in the name of freedom. In this Year of the Veteran and every year, we should never forget what they sacrificed or take for granted what they have given us.

What we saw today in Edmonton is some of what we have. It was the spectacle of people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and ethnicities enjoying themselves. Where there's water, there are kids; and we didn't see anything bigger than a puddle at City Hall or at the Legislature grounds that didn't have kids playing in it. Everywhere was a sea of red and white, music and laughter in the air, and people celebrating being Canadian or just being in Canada. Only in Alberta would you see a lovely young lady doing a balletic pas de deux in logger’s boots with a Bobcat as her partner.

It all gave me pause to think about some of what I've been hearing from some of the many people that I'm talking to these days. That is the talk that maybe Albertans are getting tired of getting what they see as the short straw from Ottawa, and that maybe it's time to look at going it on our own.

I can understand and empathize with the anger that some people are feeling and giving vent to. I cannot agree with their solution. We have come too far and accomplished and sacrificed too much together with the rest of Canada, to give serious thought to leaving. We may not succeed in getting everything that we think we deserve, but separation wouldn't make it any better.

Like many people, my family has had the opportunity to live, work or play in every part of the country. We love every part of the country.

There is success in achievement, but there is also success in effort. There are many things that need to be fixed in Canada, but we can't do it unless we're prepared to work together. We also can't do it unless we're prepared to accept less than we think we deserve. Naturally, we want people in other parts of the country to feel the same way. The best way to accomplish that is to talk to them and listen to them.

We think too small. Like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view. - Mao Tse-Tung


Blogger Candace said...

Back atcha! You're it

And if you check out my response to your tag, you'll get my opinion on a certain quote LOL. Good one.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Zubari Zubari said...

"I personally killed 840,000 intellectuals!"

- Mao Tse-Tung

7:46 AM  
Blogger Zubari Zubari said...

It used to be called Dominion Day, but it was changed because that was too offensive.

It used to be called “The Dominion of Canada”, from Zechariah 9:10: “His dominion will be from sea to sea.”

It’s supposed to be a celebration of Confederation (July 1, 1867), but they changed the name to “Canada Day,” which is nothing but idolatry.

As far as I know, this is the only country in the world that celebrates Country Name Day.

Imagine if they tried to introduce “Japan Day” in Japan.

People would either scratch their heads or laugh. “Japan Day? I don’t get it. We know this is Japan. What’s the point.”

In Israel they celebrate the establishment of the state on Independence Day.

In the US you celebrate the Declaration of Independence.

In the USSR they celebrated the revolution.

It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the Soviet Revolution or US Independence or Canadian Confederation. The point is, the day has a meaning, a context, a history. It celebrates an event.

Aaaahhhh . . . too depressing.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Canadi-anna said...

Good post.

9:25 PM  
Blogger The Commentator said...

I've always said scratch a little and you will find a Canadian imprint on the North American experience. Our history is buried beneath dust and tumbleweed. Canadians, for a young and smallish nation, has achieved much against great odds. We were acccustomed to punching above our weight because of our once rugged individualism. Alas, all tha has changed unfortunately? Trudeau was great for our image, but who will reverse his obviously, in hindsight, misguided policies that many Canadians assume to be our inherent values? It's an observation.

12:00 PM  
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1:43 AM  

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