It was disappointing to go onto social media on Wednesday to see various campaigns trying to smear our great country on its national holiday.
Canada Day — or as I prefer to call it, Dominion Day, the name used by Canadians for over a century until former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau re-engineered our national symbols to bury our rich history and traditions — should be a day of unity and patriotism.
Instead, for many Canadians, it was just another day to push division, show off their woke credentials and try to smash the foundation of our free society.
On Twitter, the hashtag “Cancel Canada Day” was trending, filled with vile and ignorant messages insisting that Canada is a uniquely evil country, purveyors of atrocities equal to Nazi Germany, and that Canada simply ought not to exist.
On my own Facebook and Instagram pages, where I use the opportunity every year to praise the great Canadian achievement, I was met with scorn and anger from those who cannot separate our wonderful country from its inept government or the mistakes made by past leaders.
Some commenters wanted to dwell on dark episodes of our history, others insisted that it’s time to break up the country altogether.
It seems that many Canadians, sadly, have lost all context and cannot show appreciation of Canada for even one day.
After weeks of difficult conversations about race and historic injustices, Dominion Day should have been a day where we put our differences aside and join together to celebrate the things we love about Canada.
In that vein, I interviewed Brian Lee Crowley of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute for a special Dominion Day episode of my video podcast, the True North Speaker Series, to discuss reasons to be proud of Canada and why we should celebrate our history.
Crowley and I discussed the building of a Canadian ideal — a society where rights, freedoms, dignity and justice are upheld and protected for each and every one of us. Crowley noted how rare this is in human history, and we discussed the reasons why Canada has been so successful.
Canada is an extraordinary country, with a proud history and a promising future. But our peaceful, pluralistic free society did not pop up overnight. It was built and preserved by past generations of Canadians who understood the importance of the rule of law, tradition, liberty, peace, order and good governance.
We cannot divorce our successful present society from our rich historical past. That is why we must reject and combat modern efforts to erase our history, tear down statues, rename streets and schools and paint one-dimensional caricatures demonizing historical figures and past events.
Understanding where we came from and the importance of Canadian achievements is the best antidote to the fervent anti-Canadian mob.
Of course, Canada is not perfect — no country is — but as Crowley noted in our interview, it’s important to judge ourselves against other systems of governance rather than some idealistic utopia that does not and cannot exist.
“Never forget that the way to judge any society, any group of human beings is not against some impossible ideal standard. You must judge people against where they’ve come from, the efforts they’ve made to improve themselves and what the alternatives are by any of those measures,” said Crowley, an historian and author of the book The Canadian Century.
“Canada is a rare jewel in human experience. We have every reason to be proud of Canada.”
Rather than spending Dominion Day complaining about our imperfections, we should use the holiday as a reminder of our unique achievements and proud history.
I hope you will join me next year in an unabashed celebration of our great country on July 1st, and on July 2nd we can go back to criticizing the government and working to improve upon the Canadian ideal.