Trudeau’s uninspiring Canada Day speech betrays an apologetic patriotism

John RobsonJohn Robson

Compare the PM’s joy at a Pride parade with his stilted Canada Day prose and you know his heart is in transvaluing not celebrating

Well, I hope you had a happy Canada Day. But I’m uneasy. Because however you’re doing personally, there has been a kind of flatness about recent official celebrations.

The sesquicentennial two years ago was a notorious damp squib. And as Rick Gibbons just wrote, many festivals were cancelled or curtailed this year because people weren’t showing up, from Sussex, N.B., to Kitchener, Ont., to Toronto’s Queen’s Park to Fernie, B.C.

Those born recently might dismiss wistful comparisons of 2017 to 1967’s “Ca-na-da”, bell-bottoms and the Montreal Expo. They might mock nostalgia for a time when our knees didn’t hurt unless we skinned them, and scorn tales of how great things were when we were kids, or how terrible but we were so tough, 20 miles uphill in a snowstorm to school carrying six logs, and twice as far home up an even steeper hill with eight. Back when there were miles. But do they party like it was 1967? And why should they?

Look at the PM’s insipid Canada Day statement. After barbecue and outdoor clichés, he said “This year, we have a lot to celebrate. In the last four years, Canadians have created more than a million new jobs. The unemployment rate is at its lowest since the 1970s. And across the country, 825,000 Canadians have been lifted out of poverty.” So Trump isn’t the only leader who can’t tell a party political broadcast from a national celebration. (Even the Liberal-friendly Toronto Star called his actual spoken Canada Day remarks “a campaign-style speech”.)

In a statement the immigration minister praised immigration and diversity and how “With the protection of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, people of every race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and cultural background share in the pride of being Canadian.” (This message is brought to you by the Liberal Party of Canada, which forgot there were other parties.) And the environment minister followed her own barbecue cliché with a relativistic “we each mark Canada Day in our own way,” before remembering to urge “more Canadians — particularly newcomers to our country — to experience the outdoors” then praising “diversity” (except the kind where you stay inside) “compassion and hard work.” Boooring.


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