July first is Canada’s national day. It was originally called Dominion Day but was changed to Canada Day in 1983. I like the old title better because it sounds more classy. Besides that, there are one too many “duhs” in Canada Day.
Though I’m now proud of my nation, there was a time when I didn’t understand the privilege I had in being a Canadian. When I was about four years old, I felt puzzled that there were no TV stations broadcasting on the first of July. It was already noon but neither local channel was on the air.
“Why is there nothing on TV today, Mom?” I called from the living room. She walked in from the kitchen and explained, “It’s Dominion Day today. The people from the stations are on holiday today.”
When I asked what Dominion Day was, she said it was Canada’s birthday. Then she described how we lived in a town that was in a province which was in a country called Canada. It was all beyond me but I took her word for it.
In fact,it took me several more years to feel like I was a Canadian. To me, Canada was down east somewhere. I picked up that feeling through the attitudes of adults about the government in Ottawa, Canada’s national capital. As the years passed, Ottawa felt like some distant place which had no bearing on my daily affairs.
My alienation grew when in grade seven, we had to learn French in school. Nobody spoke the language in my family or among my friends. In fact, I never heard french spoken anywhere I traveled.
When Quebec separatists took a couple of hostages and threw the country into a panic during the autumn of 1970, my alienation turned to outright anger. I felt, based on the constant stream of demands from Quebec for more rights, that our government cared only for that province.
Gradually, I became more aware of the good aspects of my nation. It has the longest undefended border in the world. Though our health care isn’t free, because people pay for it with their taxes, people aren’t bankrupted by catastrophic health crises. Canada’s early history wasn’t nearly as violent as America’s. Even our money looked, and still looks, nicer than American dollars.
I’m much more involved in voting and politics today, chiefly because I see how blessed we are to live in Canada. I also worry about destructive legislation which robs people of their freedom to start businesses un harassed by government bureaucrats. Politicians need to keep their ham-fisted hands off and let free enterprise do its thing.
Believe it or not, a church minister taught me that Canada was the dominion of God because of two Bible passages. I learned later that he was wrenching both scriptures far out of their contexts. Since I didn’t want others to fall for the same garbage I once did, I wrote about the bizarre things he taught in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. This wonderful testimony of God’s gracious providence is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.