Monday, May 23, 2011

Firecracker Day or British Heritage Day

When I was a child growing up in Toronto we called this holiday we are celebrating today, (Victoria Day) "Firecracker Day." It was our annual excuse to buy firecrackers (much easier to get in those days) at the local variety store, and spend the day getting into all kinds of mischief, like blowing up tulip blooms with  small firecrackers. I'm sure that's distressing to any gardeners out there, but the unfortunate and numerous tulips provided us with hours of entertainment.
It was a day off school and off work for most, because our true-blue Ontario stat-laws meant business was at a standstill, or else. Things are still shut pretty tight around here even in 2011. But that is another posting.
Even as a child I knew that celebrating the birthday of a dead monarch was a dumb idea, except for the fact there was no school. It still is a dumb idea, but rather that eliminating the holiday why not change the rationale behind it?
We in Canada owe our British forebears a debt of gratitude, not for the old queen or the present one, but for the rules, laws, and practices that we use to this day to govern ourselves. Canada is as successful as it is, because of the British idea of liberty from Magna-Carta to the Westminster System. While these facts may be widely known, they are not really understood by many Canadians, who have a very rudimentary idea of the concept of liberty, and somehow think that it is an American idea. Of course the Americans owe to Britain that same debt of gratitude because they are after-all our cousins.
Anyway, just a suggestion, change the name of the holiday to British Heritage Day, or Westminster Day or just keep Victoria Day. What really needs to change is what we are celebrating, not a birthday, but a way of living in liberty.  

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