How I Fell in Love With Canada

 

When I was younger I didn’t care much for Canada. That sounds terrible, but let me explain. I love history and culture, in particular European culture. Compared to the “captains and kings,” and the grand empires and high civilizations of Europe, Canada’s history and culture seemed, well…dull. This was made worse by the fact that my countrymen didn’t seem too enthusiastic about their country either. There didn’t seem to be many reasons to be inspired by Canada, so I wasn’t. I concentrated on other nations and cultures, particularly Japan and Europe. What a mistake!

The Turning Point

 It wasn’t until I lived in Japan that I realized how great a country Canada was. I spent most of my thirties there, and during that time I came to understand that I was, indeed, Canadian. Japan is a great country. My time there was well spent, but as much as I admire the Japanese, their values aren’t mine. As soon as I realized that, I began to search for my real Canadian identity. Before doing so, however, I had to recognize some important facts. First, I was Western. That may seem obvious, but it wasn’t to me. To use a current expression, I had “identified” with being Japanese and a “citizen of the world.” It seems embarrassing now, but I believed it then. What my time in Japan taught me was that, in the end,  I was totally and completely Western and Canadian.

Searching for the Maple Leaf

 But what did that mean? I had thought that I was automatically Canadian, then realized that I hadn’t understood what being Canadian meant. It meant more than having a passport. After all, hundreds of thousands of people live and work overseas, have a Canadian passport, and don’t give a fig about the True North Strong and Free except when they get in trouble and the Canadian government has to bail them out. Being Canadian had to mean more than that. I came back to Canada in my early forties, and it was then that my search for what it meant to be Canadian kicked into high gear.

Reading, Reading and more Reading

 I hadn’t liked Canadian history, but now I loved it. I couldn’t get enough of it. In fact, I was starving for it, and suddenly it was anything but boring. I collected books on Canadian history. I bought rare anthologies with articles and books written by greats like Stephen Leacock, Thomas B. Costain, Donald Creighton and Pierre Burton. I even bought the first ever series on Canadian history, a leather bound, hand tooled set entitled “Canada and its Provinces” published in 1913. Along with older authors I read more recent ones like Peter C. Newman, Johnathon Kay and Andre Pratte. I read and read and read…

The “New” Canada

What I discovered staggered me. Canada was fascinating! Canadians were heroic. In fact, they were amongst the bravest people on earth. Their struggle for nationhood was awesomely inspiring. My research showed me the true Canada. I was especially impressed by Peter C. Newman’s book “Hostages to Fate” a tale of the courage and persistence of the United Empire Loyalists. But it wasn’t only them. It was Joseph and Molly Brandt, Sir Isaac Brock, Tecumseh, Montcalm, Wolfe and countless others. It was John A. McDonald’s fight to create a nation and his determination to link it from “Sea to Sea.” It was Laurier’s statesmanship and John Diefenbaker’s Bill of Rights. It was great stuff, and my country was a great place. How could I have ever thought Canada’s history wasn’t interesting? I had discovered the traditional narrative of Canada, and it was inspiring. It made me proud to be Canadian.

The Other Narrative

But there was another narrative being created. It had been introduced to Canadians for decades, and by the time I had grown to love my country it had gained tremendous power. It is with us today and has more influence than ever. Unfortunately, it isn’t good. It has deeply affected our nation and brainwashed our young. In the new narrative Canada isn’t a great nation. It is “post national” the first state that isn’t a country at all and doesn’t need to be. Its history is shameful. Canada is a racist place with a history of colonialist aggression. It has suppressed people, enslaved them and indulged in genocide. It is guilty of a host of crimes. We Canadians are “racists” “sexists” “ableists” and “colonialists” even “speciesists.” And we have  been “phobes” as well, “homophobes” “transphobes” and “xenophobes.” I realized that, in this new narrative, the act of loving traditional Canada, might mean that you are a xenophobe. And, If you believe in Canada’s traditional history and not the new narrative,  you might be supporting bigotry and racism, whether you know it or not.

A Hall of Mirrors

 There’s only one problem with the new narrative. It’s wrong. Those who advance it are wrong too folks, they were before, and they are now, so don’t fall for the new Liberal progressive narrative or the ideology that supports it. It is so distorted that it reminds me of a fun house hall of mirrors. You know the one I mean, where a person’s image is completely distorted, and they appear as ridiculously tall, fat or skinny. The liberal progressive, leftist inspired narrative of Canada is like that distorted image. The traditional narrative of Canada is the real image of my nation. No, it’s not perfect. It left some things out, but it is the closest and most accurate narrative to a real history of Canada that we have. I have learned to love my country because of it. That isn’t going to change. I am unlikely ever to believe in the distorted narrative of Canada leftist radicals have created. And, if you care about this country, you shouldn’t either.

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Rick Higgins
3 months ago

Perry, thank you for this insightful article. You are describing something both wonderful and terrible. I see that many people in this great nation think that holding a Canadian passport and having an entitlement to be called a Canadian citizen is the same as truly being a Canadian at heart. I also see in the words that you’ve written, your personal transition from simply being a Canadian citizen, carrying a passport in your pocket, to being a Canadian with a historical Canadian identity, living in your soul. Canada is still a great nation indeed, but is being encumbered with layer… Read more »

Diane Moen
Diane Moen
3 months ago

Thank-you so much for this article! I am happy I was able to share it to my own Facebook page for my friends to also enjoy walking along with you on your transitional journey toward loving Canada. It is unfortunate to say the least that Canada’s public schools aren’t teaching this curriculum anymore. It should now be paramount for parents and grandparents to take on this educating in order to keep our Canadian European History alive until the school system reverses course. Lets hope it does – or lets put pressure on them to reinstate this history back into the… Read more »

Reed Elley
Reed Elley
3 months ago

Well,confession is good for the soul and we will forgive you for not initially liking Canada much. I have always been a huge patriot however lately, I have not been liked how we Canadians have treated her. I think she is a battered old senior citizen as she reached her 153rd birthday. Declining morals,ballooning debt,crippled freedoms,corrupt government,I could go on and on. She is a mere shadow of her former greatness. We have to get back to basics in faith,morals,democracy etc if we are going to see Canada become great again. Thanks for the article. It will stimulate a much… Read more »

Michael Groenewold
Michael Groenewold
3 months ago

Your journey to discover your identity as a Canadian is very helpful. It reminds me that our appreciation for what is good often comes through experiencing of what is not, or at least seeing something else which allows you to get a better perspective on things. It seems interesting that in a day when Canada is being denigrated and trashed even by our prime minister, that the true history of our country is not being taught in educational institutions across this country, on top of which the liberal leftists in the media and other popular platforms are piling on the… Read more »

Ken and Irene Oakes
Ken and Irene Oakes
3 months ago

The distortions panted by the “Left” Progressives of our nations founding leaders like John A. MacDonald are created by them focusing on his/their minor faults rather than acknowledging the major benefits that came to Canadians in his day and ours like the building our Canadian Transcontinental Railroad the CPR. What a benefit That was to my Grandfather, Robert Oakes. In 1884 he purchased a section of land from the Hudson bay Company in Langley Prairie for farming. When the CPR was completed people began arriving in great numbers he sold produce to them. He and many others flourished economically. In… Read more »