Just An Observation: Canada Day Mayhem

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Written by Abigel Lemak

Alright people, Canada Day is here. Grab your lawn chair and a two-four of

something cheap, right? Well Iʼm here to put a burst into your Canada Day bubble.


While youʼre fitting into some red and white attire, arming yourself with sparklers and

adorning your face with maple leaf stick-ons, ask yourself the following: what are we

celebrating here?


Some will scoff and say that it is obviously a day to celebrate your Canadian

awesomeness and get hammered. Great. History nerds will pipe up and remind with a

drawl, that it’s to commemorate the Constitution Act of 1867. You know, the one that

united the scattered colonies into a single country within the British Empire, a.k.a.

Canada. Swell. And then thereʼs that student in the back of the classroom, quiet as all

heck. The one everyone wants to befriend because it would be just so cool, really

cultural and hip to be in with someone who was, “You know, like First Nations.” Same

goes for acquiring a gay friend, extra points for scoring a transexual. Some people want

to collect them all, because thatʼs just what we do.


We spread our multicoloured flag of Canadian pride, and wear multicultural association

like a big shiny button that flashes iʼm hip, iʼmcool, iʼm happening-- Iʼm a learned academic

yo. We want so badly to cut our colonial ties that we collect friendships, friendly knowing

glances, and go home patting our own backs. The fact of the matter is that beneath the

celebration of nationality lie our deep colonial roots. With national identity comes casual

assimilation, even the Canadian kind.


“Oh no, weʼre not a melting pot like the United States, here in Canada we promote a

mosaic of cultures. Right?” Riiight.


Now, there are a few ways people deal with the points raised concerning Canadian



A. They adopt a heavy guilt complex, renounce their colonial associations and proceed

to join a number of clubs and dance solemnly in a slew of “traditional” dances.

B. They put up their hands, take a step back and say, “Hey! S--t happens...itʼs just

history dude.”

C. Others pull out their passports, their motherʼs passports and their motherʼs motherʼs

passports to show that they werenʼt here when it all went down, “It was before my family

even got here, man.”


I sympathize with all of the reactions listed above, I really do. But, hereʼs what I



Stop with the guilt. Itʼs a selfish indulgence and to be honest, completely useless to

everyone around you. Step away from the feathered headdress. It won’t make anyone

feel better and you look ridiculous. Truly, you do. Get off your newly immigrated high-

horse. Youʼve adopted the country as your new home and that comes with history.


Instead, why not take the time to learn a bit about how Canada came to be as we know

it today, and check your sources while youʼre at it (itʼs always a good thing to find out

whose talking.)


Rather than aiming to get through all twenty four bottles in one night, pay homage to the

people of this land (all of the people) by quietly raising your glass on Canada Day and

looking around with new awareness and as little pretension as you can muster.


Weʼre all here now. Letʼs just not be ignorant slobber-drunk-faced jerks about it.

Iʼm still working on that too.

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