Today is Canada’s 150th birthday, but that means a lot of different things to different people, so I can’t think of one music genre or song that fits. As a friend said, Canada is a cultural mosaic.
To me, being Canadian means recognizing the awful things we’ve done and are doing like how the railroad was built, the continued mistreatment of our First Nations people, our involvement in The Somalia Affair, turning away Jewish people in WWII, the internment of our Japanese citizens during WWII, and our involvement in supplying materials for the bombs detonated in Nagasaki and Hiroshimi. There’s probably more listed in a book called Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific by John Price.
All of that means everyone who lives here can have immensely complex feelings about this holiday.
For the First Nations people, many may protest or want little to do with this day. It means 150 years since strangers came and took nearly everything from them.
For the Chinese, it may bring up memories of lives lost building a cross-country railroad system that so many still use today.
For many from all over the world, it means a safe place from the atrocities in their home countries.
Some of us don’t even know why we ended up here instead of the country of our ancestry. The Scot in me wants to listen to Oh Canada on bagpipes.
But we’re all on this piece of the globe trying to live together despite differences and some truly awful things in our recent past.
And for the most part, things are pretty good here. A few weeks back, I spent time in the park near my house at an event where people from all different racial backgrounds and lifestyles came together to sing and dance to hip-hop. It was the first time I had ever felt like the oddball being one of the few white people who live in my neighbourhood, but I enjoyed the day. Missing Linx was there. One of their members happens to be one of Ottawa’s newest Poet Laureates, which isn’t a distinction that is easily achieved. You can learn more about JustJamal ThePoet here.
And Canada has a lot of wonderful things too!
We’ve had amazing people like Terry Fox.
The world owes our First Nations people for maple syrup.
A Canadian invented basketball.
Winnie the Pooh was inspired by a Canadian soldier’s pet bear.
John McCrae was another Canadian who created a famous poem.
Superman was created by Canadian-American man names Joe Shuster.
And how about the green spaces, fresh lakes, Tim Hortons, hockey, ringuette, bacon, Alberta beef, and real beer?
Being a Canadian is mostly awesome, but don’t forget how we got here and respect how others choose to spend this day. That’s about the most Canadian thing you can do.
I’ll likely spend part of it in deep mourning for my Nexus 5, which has decided to stop functioning. According to the Internet, repair is estimated at $200. I have some money on my tab, so a new phone would be about the same including a case for it. There are a couple of problems. I really can’t afford a phone right now. I have a trip next weekend to a place I’ve never been with no GPS. Guess I’ll be busting out an old school map. Truthfully, my phone has been acting odd. Difficulties charging properly and calls only ringing once before hanging up making them impossible to answer most of the time. Maybe I can collect on a debt owed to me and have it work out.