Wednesday, June 30, 2010

O Canada!

The Fathers of Confederation
Our home and native land,
True patriot love in all thy sons command,
With glowing hearts,
We see thee rise,
The True North strong and free.
From far and wide,
O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee!
God keep our land,
Glorious and free,
O Canada we stand on guard for thee,
O Canada we stand on guard for thee!
July 1st 1867, with the signing of the British North America Act (now called the Constitution Act), Canada became a sovereign nation. Without too much fuss, an assortment of political leaders from places like Ontario (called Canada West), Quebec (called Canada East), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and later, Prince Edward Island, agreed to join together in a dominion of provinces under the The Commonwealth of Great Britain (apparently they forgot to invite Newfoundland until it was too late to change the plans!) Newfoundland went on as it's own entity until finally joining Canada in 1949, amid some local dissent. As the plans for a transcontinental railway were brought to fruition thanks to the forcefulness of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, other provinces joined Canada along the way, Manitoba in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905.

Why did the British colonies in North America decide to join together instead of just maintaining the status quo? Well, talks had begun of a union of Maritime provinces as early as 1864 at the Charlottetown Conference. Britain had actually suggested this first union as a sort of insurance policy for the tiny, far-flung colonies who were basically abandoned for 6 months of the year by their mother country due to inclement weather. The two halves of the province of Canada (English and French) had thought this union a capital idea, and joined on for the ride. Basically, they were looking for safety in numbers, as they were tired of being invaded by marauding Fenians and feeling threatened by American politicians with their dreams of Manifest Destiny.

Canada's dream was much simpler, "peace, order and good government". The union of provinces has always been a precarious one, but Canadians are very practised at compromise -- the various differences in each province's cultural identity has been enshrined within our Constitution.

Elijah Harper
The Native peoples of Canada have always played a vital role in its history--from Native Leaders like Tecumseh who defended Canada against the U.S. in the War of 1812 to the revolutionary Métis leader Louis Riel who is recognized as the Father of Manitoba.

In modern Canadian history, Elijah Harper made his point by quietly saying, "No" in the Manitoba legislature to the Meech Lake Accord which would have recognized Quebec as a "distinct society" but completely ignored any mention of the First Nations peoples.

One hundred years after Confederation, Canada played host to the world at Expo '67 in Montreal. It was a watershed moment for Canadians to take pride in their country. There were countless projects in communities across the nation that were opened during Canada's centennial year, new libraries, parks, highways, town halls, bridges, etc. It was a very happy time for Canadians and there were good repercussions for many years afterwards.
Here is the song by Bobby Gimby that was used to promote Expo '67 to Canadians.

Well, since I missed posting on Victoria Day, I think my Canada Day post will do for both! This is about as Canadian as it gets...Scott Thompson from The Kids in the Hall (circa 1990) spoofing the Queen.

Here's an old clip of Jim Carrey's stand up routine about Canada. I love his voice impression of Chief Dan George.

And now...for the pièce de résistance....
Here is Stick Figure Richard to help celebrate Canada Day!


My dear friend Natalie (an American) has made this cartoon for me (a Canadian) which is about an actor whom we both admire and hold in high esteem (who just happens to be British)!

Yay! Happy Canada Day to all you Canadians, or wannabe Canadians,
or those who just wanna visit Canadians.
Youtube video: Canadian, Please!



tyme_4_t said...

OMG - SFR in a Mountie uniform!!!!! That is so cool! I am so jealous! (and a little worried that I am jealous of you over a cartoon - but somehow I know you will understand ;))

Although Expo '67 happened 3 yrs before I was born (yah yah yah - you are doing the math) I always loved hearing the Ca-na-da song!

We are so lucky and blessed to live in this great country - Happy Canada Day!

(still grinning over the SFR!)

Maria Grazia said...

Happy Canada Day!!!
Congrats to Nat! Stick-Figure Richard looks so gorgeous in that uniform!

Myrtle said...

Happy Canada Day!

SFR, handsome as ever in uniform. I am sure he enjoyed his visit to your wonderful country.

bZirk said...

I didn't think SFR could get any more handsome. Love him in uniform! and Phylly, thank you for the history. Canada is a beautiful mystery to me. I'm sure SFR is enjoying his time there. :D

fitzg said...

Thanks to Nat for the SFR Mountie! And to all the good wishes for Canada Day.

Queen in the Capital today. Saw a nice clip of the Royal couple descending the plane. Protocol requires the Duke to proceed paces behind Her Majesty. He was almost beside her today, to make certain a Ducal elbow was there in case his Royal wife required a steadying assistance. (She didn't, but nice.)

Appreciate the Canadian sense of humour, which laughs at ourselves, and our "trappings" and stereotypes!

#1 Sister said...

Good Job Phylly! Very impressive on the history as well. Happy Canada Day to you too... See ya at the cottage tomorrow :o)

Phylly3 said...

Oh, I agree that Stick Figure Richard is very handsome in his Mountie uniform!! Thanks so much to Nat for letting him visit us here!
@Myrtle-- Thanks for dropping by and commenting!
@fitzg -- The Queen will be in Winnipeg for Canada Day. I heard them discussing it on the radio, that they hope the mosquitoes won't be too bothersome for her! (Unfortunately we can't train the bugs in proper protocol!)LOL!

Phylly3 said...

@#1 Sister -- Thank you very much! You bet I'll be there!

pbml4 said...

Happy Canada Day! Love the Baby Canada vintage cartoon...and SFR of course!

DEZMOND said...

when it comes to Canada I've always loved their singers - Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Nelly Furtado, Deborah Cox, Daniel Powter ...

Traxy said...

SFR in Mountie uniform - yum yum! :D

I'd love to go to Canada at some point. Such a beautiful country! Half the fun of watching things like "Road to Avonlea" was the gorgeous scenery. :) I love nature and Canada has tons and tons of it. Biiiiiig woods. Not like Britain, which is mainly fields. Which is also nice, certainly, but I'm Swedish, so the woods are calling!

Phylly3 said...

@pbml4 - welcome! Glad you like the political cartoon. I think it symbolizes our country's history quite well!
@Dezmond - I agree. I also love Sarah MacLachlan and Jan Arden. Neelma has done fan videos of RA to songs by both of these artists.
@Traxy -- Come and visit my woods anytime!

Anonymous said...

I just read this post for the first time! SOOOO good. I was born just a few years after Expo but that song rang some bells! And Jim Carrey had me howling with laughter!!! Nice to see SFR in a Mountie's uniform. Always like a man in uniform :) And this year, we'll have the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! I think I might join in the festivities to catch of glimpse of them.
The only thing you forgot, of course, is the 'I am Canadian' guy and the Will Shatner take on it....Perhaps for this year?