Reflections on Our Fair Dominion
Happy Dominion Day to one and all. Unfamiliar with the term I just used? Until a few decades ago, when a great fool named Pierre Trudeau made the ever so foolish decision to rename our national holiday celebrating the birth of our great nation “Canada Day”, it was the title this day was known by. For indeed what we celebrate today is the creation of the Dominion of Canada, the forging of what was at the time separate colonies under British rule into one unified body. Canada stands alone among nations for having such a phony name for its national holiday. The Fourth of July in the States is not called “America Day”, it is rightly known as Independence Day, as it was the day America proclaimed independence from Mother Britain and set itself, for better or worse, on the path that has led it to its present day place. There is no day called “France Day” in the Republic of France, instead they celebrate the storming of the Bastille that birthed the first French Republic as “Bastille Day”, and rightly so. This aberration is but one of many fostered on our old and august nation by the Liberal Party of Canada over the years. Whether it was hauling down the Red Ensign that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought and bled under in two world wars, or more subtly replacing the letter head on government papers with “Government of Canada” over the older “Dominion of Canada” title that preceded it, such imposition of artificial symbols that fit better with the progressive ideology of the left over more true and organic ones with history and meaning has been the legacy of the Liberals over their decades of dominance of our political system. We are the poorer for it, culturally, historically and socially.
But enough grumbling. Irritants such as those mentioned above aside, we who hold the passport of Canada are truly blessed to hold citizenship in such a country. For almost a century and a half we have known uninterrupted and harmonious government of our fair dominion. While we do not think of ourselves as an old nation, when we look at the broader context we truly are. In 1867, when the Dominion of Canada was first conceived, the globe as it was then was scarcely recognisable recognizable. Germany was nothing more than a loose collection of independent kingdoms, principalities and free cities held together by little more than the memory of the old Holy Roman Empire, a by then defunct organization. It would be decades still before Bismarck would unify them into one nation, much to the reluctance and dismay of his monarch. The Middle East was but one vast empire governed by the Ottoman Sultan. It would be another half century before that crumbling edifice would finally collapse upon itself. Vast tracts of Africa and Asia were colonies of the great European powers, and would remain so until they hastily uprooted themselves in the aftermath of the Second World War leaving chaos in their wake. From Poland to Siberia, the Russian Empire of the Tsar bestrode the planet as a massive if mismanaged colossus that would endure until that terrible night in a basement in the Ural mountains when the centuries old line of Peter the Great and Alexander II would be snuffed out in mere minutes. Fair Britannia held the most powerful empire ever seen in history, one upon which the sun truly never set, and would one day birth the nations of the Anglosphere, ourselves among them. We have successfully outlasted all that was true then and are still here, an extraordinary accomplishment.
In all that time, we have known little in the way of strife. There have been no civil wars or rebellions in our history, aside from a few mild hiccups in the province of Quebec. Compared to the Troubles of Ireland or the ethnic conflict of Yugoslavia, the FLQ crisis pales in significance. France, in its history, has known a monarchy, five republics, a Bourbon restoration, two Empires and a fascist regime, whereas under our Westminster system of governance there has been uninterrupted civil rule that has unfailing provided good governance and peaceful security to the Canadian people. Reformers advocating changes to more populist alternatives of governance, such as proportional representation or ranked ballots, would do well to be reminded of this, as would we all. For all its imperfections, as every system can claim, our Parliament of First Past the Post elected members has served us well and we would be fools to ignore that. We have known no Watergates, no Dreyfus Affairs, no Terrors of the guillotine, and no depravities against humanity.
Even glancing at the international headlines today can reassure us of the prosperity we hold in comparison to the wider world. While we still grapple with the lingering fallout from the Great Recession, we face nothing even close to the dire scenario that has befallen Greece in only the last few weeks. Unemployment stands at levels we could not even imagine, particularly among the young. People stand in line for hours in front of banks only to discover when they arrive at the head of the que that the ATMs have run out of money. Only yesterday, the home of Plato and Aristotle became the only developed nation in history to default on its national debt, joining the ranks of such nations as Zimbabwe in this distinction. Look south and one can find the example of Venezuela, where even basic commodities such as toilet paper and toothpaste have become desirable luxuries, and the government has recently announced a new scheme of quotas at grocery stores, meaning Venezuelans must now stand in line to earn themselves a place in line. So desperate has the economic situation become that the latest trend in the underground economy has been to steal other people’s hair in order to sell it on the black market. Whatever challenges we face here at home, they are nothing on the scale of those faced by others elsewhere in the world.
So “Happy Birthday” to Canada, our dominion from sea to shining sea and let us all be grateful. Let us be grateful for peace. Let us be grateful for prosperity. Let us be grateful to be heirs to the legacy of the greatest words ever put on to paper, the Magna Carta, which sparked the concept of freedom under law that is the birthright of every citizen of the English speaking peoples. Let us be grateful for our legacy of freedom and values that has been defended for a century and a half by the blood, toil, sweat and tears of our men and women in uniform, all of whom have given some and some of whom have given all. Let us be grateful for our history, and the rightful pride we can take in it. This has been our heritage since Wolfe first set foot upon these shores all these years ago and planted the banner of Queen and Country upon the plains of Abraham. May we never forget.
God bless Canada, God save the Queen, and a happy Dominion Day to all.