ROTHENBURGER – I forgive you, my big, beautiful, wonderful Canada

CANADA, you’re not everything I’d like you to be. You’re flawed.

Like an uncertain child, you stumble from time to time. You make poor choices now and then, but I’m not disappointed in you. I’m disappointed in those who refuse to come to your birthday party.

As nations go, you’re young, only 150. Yet it’s an important milestone, and I’ll be there to celebrate and to wish you all the best.

Because, Canada, I forgive you your trespasses.

Those who are unhappy about this birthday party forget that a country isn’t defined by individuals or a single generation. It’s about the spirit, the intent, the total record of a people, not one person or a few; it’s about values and commitment in the long-term, not a day or a year out of a lifetime.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (8485 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – I forgive you, my big, beautiful, wonderful Canada

  1. tony brumell // July 1, 2017 at 10:21 PM // Reply

    Apparently you have not read of the Beothic indians of Newfoundland.they were actually hunted to extinction,with a price on their head they were hunted for sport.Kind of like hunting the Grizzly today .And yes trophies were taken.This was genocide and it took place in the country you love so much.Go ahead .look it up.This was more than just a mistake.It was blatant .It was purposfull and it was ruthless.It was also complete.Right here in the country we all love…Right?
    Go ahead .look it up.

  2. Cindy Ross Friedman // July 1, 2017 at 6:05 AM // Reply

    Hi Mel – I like the idea of today as a new beginning for reconciliation, and I agree with most of what you said. A compelling and thoughtful column as always.

    However, Canada of the past wanted to exterminate Indigenous Peoples. Yes, colonists tried to to “convert” the land’s caretakers in an attempt to erase their culture and beliefs, but we must understand that many colonists indeed wanted to exterminate human beings through residential schools and blankets (doubts about tha validity of deliberate small pox infection are diminishing; this really happened in many places).

    It was an attempt at genocide, and to truly begin reconciliation, we need to admit this truth.

    But yes, I will celebrate the Canada of today at 150. Canada, regardless of its dubious colonizer start, has learned and will be good allies with our caretakers.

    See you all there!

    • Mel Rothenburger // July 1, 2017 at 8:00 AM // Reply

      I’ve never seen a documented case of intentional spreading of smallpox by use of blankets. As smallpox (brought north by miners to Victoria) was raging through the Chilcotin in 1862, two white traders came upon one of the devastated villages in which many corpses lay unburied. Seeing a chance for profit, they gathered up the blankets from the dead and later sold them back to other Chilcotins, which resulted in the disease spreading further inland. One of the traders himself contracted smallpox and died from it. The incident morphed into a story that the Hudson’s Bay Company had used blankets to intentionally spread smallpox. This, of course, makes no sense, as the Chilcotins and other tribal groups represented the very economy on which the company prospered. Without them, there was no fur trade.

      • Mel:
        So it was strictly a business decision not to completely wipe the natives off the “face of the earth…i.e. Canada?
        The genocide of the whole of the Americas’ natives is one of the grates under-publicized events of the near-modern era. No?

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