The shirt isn’t old by my standards but the screen print on the front is tattered and cracked. It feels like perhaps there is a parallel here that I need to examine.
I purchased it in 2017 in Ottawa for the 150th birthday of this nation. I wore it then with pride…
It was, for me, a year to celebrate all the greatness of Canada. The wonderful geography, the people and the places that make our country unique. I wrote about the trip and Canada extensively that year and have them all filed under Parks Canada 150. I rejoiced as guest bloggers added posts about their Canada.
But here’s the thing and perhaps I just didn’t see it then. Maybe we were tattered around the edges in 2017 but there was more window dressing on top of the cracks? Or perhaps I’m just naïve and nothing really has changed in the last 5 years. Perhaps we’ve spent the last 155 years tattered. I listened to an interview with Buffy Sainte-Marie and she said she faces, daily, racism and the effects of the Federal Government policies
since from before Confederation.
But again I want to believe that Canada can live up to its potential. That we can face our past and what colonization did to the original inhabitants of this land. With those truths recognized I want to believe that we’re can all work towards reconciliation. And that we welcome newcomers whether they be from Eritrea or the Ukraine. That race or colour or religion doesn’t get in the way of our living the Canadian values. Again I suspect that these views are either naïve or that I look at the world through rose colored glasses. I wish that was otherwise.
Last year the flag was at half mast as we faced more bare truths about the long term impact of the residential schools. Which is fair in my opinion. There are many reasons to celebrate but in light of colonization and white privilege it has now become significantly harder. But perhaps we can take a page from our newest province. Newfoundland celebrates Canada Day in the afternoon. In the morning they honour and recognize those who fought in the First World War under the Newfoundland flag. Somber and reflective and yet forward facing. It’s just a thought.
It hasn’t even been 5 years rather hardly 5 months, since flying a Canadian flag became a sign of protest? Disrespect? I feel saddened that in the capital of our country, there is likely going to another freedom rally. Freedom from what I’d like to know? We all vote. If we don’t like how things are going then the best way to address that is by actually a) voting, b)keeping our elected representatives honest by communicating with them and c)bringing to light concerns with suggestions for improvement. Going to our capital and running amuk proves nothing except that this group seems to like to hear themselves talk. About radical off balanced ideas. If you want to know just how crazy some people in Canada read about this and shake your head.
I took a picture of that slightly tattered shirt. It still has a few good years left in it before it becomes an “at home work shirt. It sits on the quilt that has seen some better days. It has been unstitched and new material put in and the quilting redone. The binding wore right out and had to be replaced with a superior design one.
Perhaps our Canada is like these items. It needs some new and some old. It needs respect for what it originally represented and some solutions for working together going forward.
Happy Canada Day.
Ps fellow blogger Jane nailed it with this post O Canada