Thankful Thursday XXI – Canada Day

This Thankful Thursday, I’m thankful for Canada. Appropriately enough since today is Canada Day, the national holiday celebrating the country’s origins and independence from England 154 years ago. To many, it will be an extra-special one since last year’s was a total washout due to the pandemic. Although initially Canada had done well in keeping the virus at bay, last summer having infection and death rates much lower than their neighbors in the U.S. or in Europe, a growing disinterest in following the “rules” – social distancing, masks etc. – and problems obtaining the vaccines when they became available led to a spike in numbers this spring which led to widespread lockdowns once again. But things are looking up, with illness rates dropping and numbers of people vaccinated increasing by the day. As of last weekend, 66% of Canadian adults had received Covid vaccinations, compared to less than half of Americans. So, Canadians may not be crowding together into bars to drink Molsons tonight nor heading to the Rogers Centre in Toronto to watch a Blue Jays game, but they should be able to at least get together with a few friends and bbq a burger and perhaps sing along to the Tragically Hip before taking in some fireworks. I hope they do and enjoy it!

Of course there will be some protesting the people having fun because they object to the day itself. The killjoy contingent of Cancel Culture enthusiasts have taken to Canada like flies to a dungheap, which is conveniently pretty much what they compare the country to. They propose eliminating the holiday and erasing its name from history, because they object to parts of the country’s history. The whole thing has gained traction since news of the bodies of long-deceased children at long-closed Native boarding schools has come to light, suggesting possible widespread abuse of the students.

There is absolutely no justification for the abuse of the children, and indeed, it is reasonable to investigate it further to see how widespread that might have been, who the victims were and prosecute the violators should they still be alive. That in itself is unlikely, as the very last of the schools was shut for good in 1996; they were most active and in all likelihood most abusive during the first half of the 20th Century. Prime Minister Trudeau has apologized – several times – on behalf of the country and its forefathers, and created a list of 94 recommendations to right the wrong. Many Native Canadians are already receiving cash payments in return for being displaced from their land generations ago. That seems to me like a reasonable resolution. Let’s not forget the past, but recognize it is the past and move along together from there.

I’m a Canadian and I’m proud of the country. It is by no means perfect. No country that I know of is, or comes very close to that mark. But it is a good land with a history of great individuals and great deeds. Liberating Holland from the Nazis in WWII. Developing insulin. Gas masks. Hockey masks. An ebola vaccine. Lacrosse and basketball. Hawaiian pizza… well, I said Canada wasn’t perfect!  Add in more great artists, musicians, actors, athletes and comedians than you can shake a Zamboni at and you’ve got reason to feel good about the Great White North. And let’s not forget that magnificent scenery from the mountain lakes at Banff to the glowing fall colors in Algonquin Park, all saved for posterity in the parks.

My dad and his dad as well were struggling in post-war Europe when they came to Canada. They learned the language and soon found good jobs and built lives for themselves in the new land. My mom went through many an air raid and bombing as a child in Britain during the War and didn’t take to the climate there, so she too found her way to Canada (why she didn’t pick Australia for a better climate while still being able to see the queen on the money, I never fully understood) and soon was teaching classrooms of kids from a smorgasbord of different backgrounds. I went to school with kids whose parents had come from Germany and England, Jamaica and Japan. One of my best buddies in high school had escaped the Philippines not long before with his family. He missed his country but not the secret police busting down their door in the middle of the night and taking family members away for unknown reasons. His dad, sleeping safely at night for once, started a very successful electric company in town. After all sorts of asthma and other medical problems as a small child, I was probably only alive to meet him because of Canada’s fine health care system, funded by taxes but making world-class hospitals as accessible to a factory-worker’s kid, or an unemployed person for that matter as they were for the CEOs of the companies employing those workers.

Actress Jennifer Garner recently quipped that people often assume she is Canadian. She’s not, being from California in fact. But, she says it makes her feel great because if people think she’s Canadian, that must mean she is pretty nice. That’s a great compliment to all of us who are from there!

I’ll never say Canada is perfect and probably will never like the climate – I really hate cold weather. But I will always say I am proud to be Canadian, and glad that is where I began my life. Happy Thursday, and Happy Canada Day no matter where you hale from.

12 Replies to “Thankful Thursday XXI – Canada Day”

  1. That is crazy Dave. Every country, city, and town have dark secrets or open dark secrets. These people have to be ignored and nothing pisses me off more than the cancel culture. They are ready to condemn without the facts in the open… hell that generation is past…time to get on with the future and for them to shut their pie holes. History cannot be changed and should not be forgotten…those who do have a mob mentality.

    I hope you had a great Canada Day Dave.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, it was alright…I should have bought some Tim Horton’s coffee for the day! (Since Canadian beer is absent here… used to see lots of “imported” Molsons and Labatts in Atlanta… not that it’s especially great or better than US brands but it would seem suitably patriotic.)
      Those CC fools do more to add to prejudice and anger than the likes of the KKK ever could. I’ve heard some – or read actually – who now are advocating for a brand new American flag because the existing one people have grown up with and respect is hurtful or signifies slavery or some such BS… I mean, hello, wasn’t that the flag (with a few more stars now) that fought AGAINST the Confederate flag they hate as much and all it stood for. It’s ridiculous.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea…Canada is in your heart and that is what counts…it sounds corny but true.

        Unbelievable…no why should it be? Just down right idiots. I do think this will pass and I hope it’s not too long. If the people in charge would start ignoring these people it would help. People are giving in…that doesn’t help. Look at MLB moving the All Star game and taking away money from the very people they claim to support. I’m not saying Ga was right or wrong but you are taking money away from people who need it…moving it to Colorado where the voting is so tilted to white that it’s pathetic…

        Yes they breed prejudice and they don’t get it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m a naturalist / birder as you probably know, and it spreads over to that even. The Audobon Society is having pressure put on them to change their name because Audobon was a privileged European and sometimes had Native helpers along with him as he explored. How do we know these weren’t slaves, people are screaming. And there’s pressure to change a lot of bird species’ names – Clark’s Nutcrackers, Lewis Woodpeckers, Harlans Hawk, and on and on – because they were named after early naturalists or explorers who were almost always White males who back then, in the 18th Century largely, were going into the wilderness and exploring and not speaking out about unjust society, yada yada yada.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is more shocking than the American flag story. You talk about too much time on their hands…just crazy. Knee jerk reactions and if people would just ignore these people and not give in…common sense would win.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Very true. I mean to me the irony of it in terms of Audobon is that the guy went around shooting everything he saw, and eating a lot of it. Today that would obviously be entirely unacceptable… but he was living in different times and going to places no European had gone before. There were no cameras for him to record his specimens and no IGAs to buy his dinner at. But the complainers ignore that, rightly, and focus on how he didn’t spend time advocating for anti-slavery laws or how he used ‘White privilege’ to have his art seen or printed in books. Foolishness to say the very least.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Every era has it’s right and wrong….to punish everyone from a different era is wrong…it’s as racist as what they think they are against.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. true… it’s really only fair to judge people in context of the times and society they were living in. It’d be like suing modern railroads because their predecessors in the 19th Century wouldn’t hire female crew workers. (Hopefully I didn’t give anyone ideas there!)

        Liked by 1 person

      7. It’s like they think history should be judged by what is going on now…you cannot do that. You couldn’t do that 40 years ago either. Every era has it’s time.

        Liked by 1 person

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