Ahhh…the kick off to summer: the long weekend where most of us (except apparently Newfoundland this year) put in our bedding plants, shoot off fireworks, hang out on patios and fire up the barbecues. What makes a better Victoria & First People’s Day?
In our humble colony, we started celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday in 1845. For 168 years, we’ve saluted the crown and kicked off the season. And everyone’s been cool with that.
Except there’s a somewhat vocal group of Canadians who think we should rebrand the holiday to include a nod to our First Nations.
National Aboriginal Day is June 21st by the way, but it’s clearly not popular enough. It’s not a stat holiday, plus you don’t have drunken idiots shooting off pyrotechnics.
I remember when Dominion Day was rebranded as the flashier, and dare I say more American, Canada Day. I think it did work to kick up our red and white enthusiasm, and it did it without losing the meaning of the day: we were and still are celebrating the official birth of our country.
No one’s trying to belittle of demean the history and plight of our First Peoples, but do we not get to keep any traditions and consistencies?
I’ve already had to explain to the bairn that Pluto’s not a planet anymore –and let me tell you that was a fun convo –so what else will we have to change? Because everything is offensive and/or exclusive to someone, and if we start here, what’s next?
Our entire legal system’s based on the 10 commandments from the Judeo-Christian bible and has religious undertones, so clearly should be pitched. Edmonton’s hockey team is named after an un-sustainable and depleted natural resource and is therefore gauche so they should be renamed immediately. So should Saskatchewan’s CFL team because the name is barbaric and violent. And how long do they have to keep telling us they’re “more than just tires” before Canadian Tire gets off their duff?
The petition says “The newly named holiday would be an opportunity to commemorate that venerable relationship, to celebrate unique Indigenous cultures, to revisit our shared history, and to provide an opportunity for all Canadians to participate in the diverse and extraordinary heritage of our country.”
What about everyone else? If that’s their argument, shouldn’t we then call it Victoria & First People’s & Chinese & Italian & Jewish & Irish & Scottish Day? Oh and what about the French?
In the meantime, I’ll keep celebrating a fun weekend the way my parents, and their parents, and their parents did before: by cleaning out the eaves-troughs and having maybe a few too many Molson’s as we raise our glasses to this great country.