Friday, July 1, 2011

Canada Day

From a history on Canada:

"To the average American, the Declaration of Independence is a sacred document. 'Words worth dying for,' as they say. In Canada, we are a little less patriotic. The U.S. Constitution was baptized in blood, not floated in on champagne, and Canadians have often expressed a certain peculiar regret about this. We actually envy the Americans their bloodshed and gore. It's goulish, really, this notion that Canadians haven't been violent enough to inspire greatness. Ghoulish, and more than a bit neurotic.

"Remember, by the 1860s the greatest battles had already been waged. The conquest of New France. The defeat of the Loyalists. The War of 1812. The Rebellion of 1837. But even more importantly, responsible government, the very cornerstone of modern democracy, had been won. Confederation was simply responsible government in action. It was never meant to be a revolutionary or seditious act.

"Now, I suppose it would have been more entertaining had the Fathers duked it out in Charlottetown instead of drinking bubbly and trying to seduce each other's [sic] wives. And it certainly would have been more cinematic had John A. [MacDonald] reached the top by climbing over the bloody bodies of his fellow delegates. But to claim Confederation is uninspiring simply because it came about so smoothly is odd logic indeed.

"The American Declaration of Independence enshrined as its central ideals 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' During the French Revolution, the trio of catchwords was 'liberty, equality and fraternity.' In Canada, however, Confederation enshrined as its central goals 'peace, order, and good government.'

"Peace. Order. Good government. Not words to die for, certainly, but maybe - just maybe - words worth living for."

From Will Ferguson, Bastards and Boneheads: Canada's Glorious Leaders Past and Present (Toronto: Douglas and McIntyre, 1999), 93.

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