Bring Back Dominion Day
Today, on the one hundred and forty ninth anniversary of Confederation, I have a most modest proposal for our nation: change the name of this national holiday back to its original title of Dominion Day. This should hardly be a controversial idea; remember how the government was quite anxious to tell us during the recent debate over the national anthem that they were only changing the tune to be more reflective of the original wording. If going back to origins is what is in at this time, then it should also follow that our national day should also follow the trend and be returned to its original title.
After all, Canada Day is a tad bit of a silly misnomer when it comes to national holidays. We stand alone as possibly the only nation in this world that actually calls this occasion simply by the name of our country. While national celebration is one of the purposes of such days, the date itself is usually meant to be reflective of some actual event that bears true significance to the identity of the nation in question. Americans call July 4th Independence Day because it commemorates their Declaration of Independence from the British Empire in the name of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. The French have Bastille Day due to its historical significance as the opening shot of the French Revolution which led to the creation of the Republic (never mind that the French are presently on their fifth attempt at one and might need to try a sixth if things continue as they are). Britain honours St George’s Day due to the aforementioned saint’s patronage of England.
In our case, Dominion Day rightly reflected the true significance of this day in our national consciousness; the day the original provinces joined together in confederation to form one singular dominion, united as a self-governing entity of the British Empire for mutual protection against the potential of American aggression, which at the time had been successfully repelled only a half century prior (within living memory for some) in the War of 1812. It was the day we put aside our status as a colony and truly took our first faltering steps as a nation, one that spanned the breathed of a continent via plans to build a transcontinental railroad that would stretch from sea to shining sea. This held far more meaning than our banal and utterly meaningless title of Canada Day that we celebrate today.
Of course, it is quite easy to understand why the name was ditched in the first place. Dominion Day, having the identifiable Anglo connotations its does which harken back to our ever enduring origins as a colony of the British Empire, doubtlessly was an irritating raspberry seed in the wisdom tooth of Canada’s Laurentian elites and it should come as no surprise that Pierre Trudeau, horrible Anglophobe and washed-up Marxist that he was, backed jettisoning the name, much as his political mentor Mike Pearson shamefully threw away the Red Ensign which Canada’s forbearers had fought and bleed and died under in the killing fields of France, and the Netherlands and Italy. To people of this mindset, Canada’s British heritage is something small and ugly best swept under the rug, and since most of them happen to hold positions of power in the arts and academia and cultural fields of this nation they have quite successfully managed to induce a very deliberate episode of mass forgetfulness amongst the country as a whole on this subject.
All of this of course is utter rubbish. A nation is not just some artificial construct filled with a collection of random individuals; a nation is a shared history, identity and culture that serves to bind people together as one. It was Canada’s collective British consciousness, born of being the loyal colony that stood by the King when the continent’s thirteen others rebelled in treason, which inspired the provinces to unite together in confederation to begin with. It was in the name of that history that thousands of young Canadian men and boys crossed the Atlantic Ocean to fight and die in the mud and the blood of battlefields such as the Somme (the one hundred anniversary of which is also being celebrated today) in World War One, an event more than any other that can be credited with forging a common sense of identity among the various scattered farming towns and communities of the Canada of that day. Such things matter little to progressives, who view the nation-state as either something obsolete to be consigned to the attic with the other relics or at best as something malleable like a ball of clay that can be shaped into whatever they may fancy without consequence or ill-effect; history is littered with examples of the tragic outcomes of such views, as those so eager to rush in their brave new world grow so “dizzy with success” they often bring ruin to both themselves and those around them.
In a more immediate and practical sense though, with Britain having recently thrown off the shackles of the European Union the possibility of a newly invigorated Commonwealth presents itself as it never has before in recent history. Recognition of the historical relationship between Canada and Britain, a bond of both blood and custom, would be a highly significant symbolic step in this direction and there would be no better way to do so than reasserting the traditional name of Canada’s national holiday. It would be a powerful statement of the covenant between those past, present and those yet to be which is the vessel we call a country; a statement that would honour the heritage passed down to those of us alive today by those of the past no longer with us, to care for in the name of those who are yet to be born.
God bless Canada, God save the Queen, and a happy Dominion Day to you all.