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Canada Day is our Independence Day!

Shane Wenzel

I just returned from a month-long health and wellness retreat at my cabin in Montana. I love it there, mostly because it’s stressless and I feel welcome. Despite some worry about how a sudden growth of more than 45,000 newcomers over the past two years (primarily from California) might change their culture, the culture there is humble. People have moved to Montana where they can buy or build a house on a plot of land, not live in a condo, and get away from high taxes, homelessness flooding their streets and unfettered crime to a 20- or 30-minute drive. The locals are hoping newcomers leave their ‘politics’ back in California.

So, I missed Canada Day, but I have some thoughts on it, primarily spurred by a thought-provoking and re-educational article by Canadian historian Gerry Bowler, headlined: What I want for Canada Day. Everyone must read it! He starts with, “I used to think it was a pretty good thing to be a Canadian.” Paragraphs later, he finishes with, “I want our kids to experience a single day of pride, free from the message that they live in a racist genocidal hellhole of which they ought to be ashamed.” “And fireworks. I want fireworks.” His article is full of stories of heroes, innovators and fallout from the destructive last few years. But he pulls you back to what could ‘Make Canada Great Again.’ Like I said, read it. It can be found online by searching Gerry Bowler and the article title – What I want for Canada Day.

On my retreat, I thought a lot about nationalism and how it got discredited by internationalists. They ignore the bonds that tie us to our history, our ancestors, our families, our communities, our memories and values that our history has shaped into our collective identities. Isn’t that why we love to travel and experience the different cultures along with their history (which compared to Canada is long but helped us shape our own history)? When I travel, I marvel at how some of the oldest countries take such pride in telling their stories, sharing their traditions, and how icons like the Eiffel Tower, the pyramids, the Colosseum in Rome, the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace all evolved and are preserved – the list goes on. Should we deny our future generations the opportunity to experience and understand how the world and our own economies have evolved? Where we came from, where we got new ideas and how humans have been able to develop different nations and celebrate their different cultures? If we do, shame on us!

Until recent years, nationalism was not thought to be evil like some now suggest. Names we are most familiar with like Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and our own founders became our statements of nationalism, independence and freedom. What did they see that we are in jeopardy of losing because people are hesitant, afraid or just not up to asking: “Why are we submitting to a few and the destruction of our nationalism?”

To use some not so popular words we have recently heard, I can only ask: “Why are we tolerating this?” and “Who are these people who think they only are in charge of us and our childrens’ future?”

Thanks, Gerry Bowler, for bringing this to my attention!