David Warren in an editorial in the Ottawa Citizen entitled “My Canada includes Canada” Warren makes a valid point that “the Canada into which I was born does not much resemble the Canada of today.” Up to this point I agree with Warren, but it is at this point we diverge in opinions. Warren states he will never call it “’Canada Day’ without inverted commas” preferring the old moniker Dominion Day. He also objects to the Idea of Changing the motto to the more concise and less religious, “From Sea to Sea.” Warren points out that “our flag our heraldic arms, even the words of our national anthem have been replaced or tampered with . . . [and] in every case, something was quietly deleted from our actual heritage.” Warren thinks that we are loosing what makes us Canada. This is my take on the changes and a defence of my assertion that I live in Canada and Mr Warren does not. I Call Canada Day, Canada Day, not because I want to take God out of our country’s history. If you strongly believe that there is a conspiracy to do this you are wrong. The main reason for the change was because Dominion Day was never really celebrated. Although Governor General Viscount Monck proclaimed it on the 20 June 1868 there were few or no celebrations until 1958. Why because Canadians saw themselves as British subjects more than Canadians. Canada used to celebrate Victoria Day more vehemently than Dominion Day. It wasn’t until after the passing of the Canada Act in 1982 that Canada severed all remaining dependence on the United Kingdom and within 7 months Dominion Day was changed to Canada Day. We were no longer a prisoner of our past but a people with an independent future. For the same reason I support the change to Canada Day, I also support changing the Motto to “From Sea to Sea.” In this case it talks about the nation rather than the presence of God. Don’t get me wrong I am a Christian and believe that God is above all, but what of all our non-Christian brothers and sisters is this not their country too? If we embrace just the Christian perspective we leave out the thousands of Japanese and Chinese that built the railways, the thousands of Jews that made Montréal a world class city the millions of Indians that lived thrived and worshiped their own Gods before we arrived. Canada is all of us not just Christians. Rather than loosing what it is to be Canadian we have expanded the definition, we have apologize for the head tax, and the mistreatment of Indians in residential schools. We no longer try to make Canadians into European images of those that came in the 17th century. We have not “quietly deleted [anything] from our actual heritage,” rather we have added to it and made Canada really Canadian. If Mr Warren would like to live in British North America he is so welcome to do so but I would rather live in the Canada of today then the Canada of yesteryear.
I wrote this article as a letter to the editor in response to Warren’s note but the citizen chose not to print it thus I am publishing it here.
Warren in my books is up there with those dinasuars that want to return the Flag to the red ensign take the French out of the anthem, bring back corporal punishment in schools , and the death penalty etc…. you do that and what do you have ? The 1940’s !