Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canada Day and Independence Day

This is the week where the wealthiest parts of North America celebrate their creation. In Canada July 1st is Canada Day; once more accurately called Dominion Day for the federation of the remaining British North American colonies into the Dominion of Canada (1867)and remaining under limited control by Britain until 1982. In the United States July 4th is Independence Day (1776) signifying the day that the Declaration of Independence was finally approved by that first Congress of thirteen British colonies. Its likely that the Canadian birth was hastened by the Americans. At the end if the American Civil War in 1865, the Union Army was victorious, exhausted, but still the strongest military force on the continent. Politicians in the Canadian colonies probably thought that a unified country (Charlottetown Conference 1864) was better than individual colonies if the Americans had designs on a northern acquisition.

On July 1st each year Canadian media outlets attempt to define what it means to be Canadian. All the lame inventions Canadians are "famous" for are trotted out: the zipper, the Blackberry etc....etc.... Mostly attempts are made to distinguish us from Americans; outwardly and culturally we are very similar. Toronto is so similar in appearance to Chicago and New York that it is often used to stand in for those cities in Hollywood movies. Its true the culture is similar but equally true the differences are great. Canada began as a union of two cultures (French and English) and two languages. Canada's bilingual nature, entrenched in government policy, led to multiculturalism which eventually became policy. Canada is not the melting pot that is America. In Canada immigration and acceptance over the past 50 years has led to a diverse multicultural (especially in the major cities) and uniquely secular nation. Not so in US; despite the First Amendment to the US Constitution which says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .", American governments past and present have a distinctly religious tone. The strong affiliation between government politicians and the Christian religion in the States would not be tolerated in Canada. That makes Canada different in very many ways and it could make the US as dangerous as any nation that claims some special relationship with a god.

Peace and Liberty

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