From the Mandarins:
Canada's 150th-birthday bash in 2017 could highlight the fun and symbolic - such as a nationwide hockey tournament and a cross-country canoe pageant - but could also involve serious policy changes, such as lowering the voting age to 16 or instituting mandatory voting, newly obtained public documents show.
Ideas being floated to cele-brate the sesquicentennial by the federal government, provinces and territories also include a heavy emphasis on aboriginal culture, a trainload of artists criss-crossing the country, and even a "special edition" census, the documents from the Department of Canadian Heritage indicate.
From the Montreal Expo to canoe "pageants" in just fifty years. Somewhere the Fathers of Confederation are appalled. What small men we must appear to them, those tamers of a continent. From linking the country with railroads, telegraphs and microwave transmitters we have sunk to playing at portage. When the Mandarins are not being trivial, however, they revert to outright condescension.
Mandatory voting? Let us celebrate one of the freest nations in the world by curbing the freedom of the citizen! Extending the vote to 16 year-olds? Who are these guys cribbing their ideas from? The local high school speech night? The special edition census is a nice touch. Keeping with the mandatory theme of Canada at 150, perhaps we can have extra-long prison sentences for non-filers. Freedom is someone else's nationality.
The lack of any real ideas on how to celebrate this country can be traced to cultural relativism. Note the "heavy" emphasis on celebrating aboriginal culture. Whatever the intrinsic merits of aboriginal culture, or the injustices committed against the aboriginal tribes, it is at best a laughably fiction to think Canada's success as a modern country has anything to do with aboriginal culture.
No one, at least outside of a university lecture hall, believes that Canada is Canada because of the cultures of semi-nomadic tribes, many of whose descendants still live upon the public fisc. To pretend otherwise requires a systematic evasion of Canada's actual history. Not the long guilt inducing propaganda currently taught. Canada is Canada because of a certain set of values. Those values came overwhelming from one part of one continent.
One of the reasons for the spectacular success of Expo 67, a broken clock moment for government if there ever was one, was its focus on technological and scientific progress. The future seemed limitless to the people of 1967, especially to the people of this country who emerged from depression and war to take their place as a leading power. Not a great power, but a nation of substance and opportunity. Their world was open to men with the knowledge, the skill and the vision to exploit it. The Canada of 1967 was filled with such men.
None of these values are fashionable now. Science is either deprecated or twisted into a tool to undermine industrial civilization. The value of human life is downgraded; we are just one species among many. Progress is an illusion devised by Madison Avenue. What sense of life emerges from the Canada of today? From men who doubt the power of their minds to conquer the world? From a nation whose people have been taught from childhood to feel ashamed of being human.
The bold confidence of Expo 67 came from a uniquely western view of the world. Until we recover the heroism of that world we will continue with such insipid attempts at "celebrating" Canada. There is something too eloquent about the idea of canoe "pageants." For centuries the pre-European inhabitants of this continent crossed this continent with these primitive craft. Then in the historical equivalent of a blink of an eye railroads, highways and airliners spread across the continent. The wonder is perhaps not that these amazing things were done. It is that there are minds still so primitive as to fail grasp what made them possible. Or perhaps spirits so meek, or wicked, as to see them as an evil to be apologized for.