Monday, July 3, 2017

Canada Day Celebrations and Contemplations

The school year is now over and we top off (or end) that whirlwind final week with the anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

I confess that I didn't do much at school to recognize this historic event. (I'm usually not much of a rah-rah-holiday person to begin with, so my lack of enthusiasm isn't much of a surprise.) I wore red and white as part of our Spirit Day and during the assembly, we watched this video narrated by Mike Myers.

To acknowledge the 150th birthday of the country known as Canada, my daughter and I plan on doing our own little research assignment (which probably won't make it into the "A Kids Guide to Canada" national project). The task is inspired by an American "What If" project, which wondered who would win in a mass knife fight to the death between every president (see or this forum discussion We realized that we struggled to know enough about all our Canadian prime ministers to be able to answer this question, and so we aim to answer this hypothetical question: "Who is the toughest Prime Minister of all time? If all the Canadian Prime Ministers were alive, at the same time, at the peak of their health and fitness, and had to fight 'Hunger Games' style, who would emerge victorious?" It may be an unusual project, but it's something that's piqued our interest, so we are running with it.

On July 1, I wore my "Invasion Free Since 1812" Second City comedy troupe t-shirt (the only vaguely patriotic article of clothing I own) and visited my parents for dinner and fireworks.

This is all well and good but I'm more aware now that not everyone is in a celebratory mood about Canada Day. Our FNMI population and their allies can't ignore how the unification of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into one country 150 years ago accelerated some extremely unfair treatment - broken treaties, racist policies, and the horrors of the residential school system. I know there was a huge controversy about the money spent on the giant inflatable rubber duck that will sit in Toronto's harbour and how funds could have been used to support other, more worthy, causes. Should we rejoice or resist?

I found this post on Twitter that eloquently spoke to the odd contradiction that is Canada Day, and why (and possibly how) we can celebrate but also stop and think.

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