Reflecting on Canada Day

2020 marks the 153rd anniversary of Confederation, when great Canadians, led by Sir John A. MacDonald, founded the Dominion of Canada.

In 1867, this group of 36 pioneers cast a pragmatic vision for Canada.

A land of freedom and promise.

A land where citizens could enjoy the right to life, individual liberty, and property free of the crippling taxation that had marked the colonial period.

As a result of their efforts, the Dominion of Canada—based on Psalm 72:8 “He shall have dominion from sea to sea”—was born on July 1st, 1867.

Fast forward 153 years and that vision is under threat.

The pragmatism sought by the Fathers of Confederation has deteriorated into tribalism.

Individual rights and liberties consistently fall victim to group think and the scourge of political correctness directed by an increasingly powerful and centralized government in Ottawa.

Canadians are taxed to the point of never being able to ever get ahead.

2020 has been a difficult year marked by political unrest, illness, racial tension and government debt and deficits that would have defied imagination just one year ago.

At times like these, it is helpful to look to our collective past.

Our history is full of examples of unrest, pandemics and racial injustices but more importantly, examples of how we have weathered those storms and slowly moved forward as a nation.

In recent years, Canada’s history has come under attack from radicals who wish to erase the names and contributions of our forefathers. Statues are torn down, buildings renamed, all in an effort to extinguish the memory of those whose efforts paved the way for the fragile freedoms we enjoy today.

Rather than try to erase our history we should embrace it: the good and the bad. Our history is our history.

Of course, there are chapters that are sources of shame. Every country has those. Likewise, there are stories that should be sources of great pride and celebration. Given that we are dealing with real and complex human-beings, reacting to external forces within their own unique historical contexts, the pendulum often falls somewhere in between.

While it may be, at times, uncomfortable, when we take an honest approach to history, this is a tension that we as Canadians must manage and live with.

Our history is our history both the good and the bad. We should celebrate the good and learn from the bad. I think it behooves us, as Canadians, not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

After all, as Henry Ford famously said, and as we’ve seen evidenced in recent days, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”