An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKED best about Canada Day yesterday? No guilt, just joy.
Sure, there were the usual mandatory references in speeches to how our country must do better — it seems impossible to talk about Canada these days without doing that.
But, in Kamloops at least, there was little of it. Remarks at the opening ceremonies were brief but they reflected true pride in our nation. The politicians talked about diversity, honesty, respect.
I was especially struck by the comments of Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir. She mentioned reconciliation but she focused on the importance of togetherness.
“This is our home and we’re all proud to be here!” she exclaimed.
No judgments, no recriminations. It was so refreshingly different from so many other speeches made on such occasions in recent years. So different from a Canada Day ceremony I attended a couple of years ago when First Nations participants turned it into a lecture on how Canadians should be ashamed of the wrongs of the past.
There’s a time and a place to tackle those wrongs, whether against our indigenous people, minorities or immigrants who came to help us build our Canada. These things must be resolved because Canada is a fair country and we won’t let them be ignored.
We’re a joyful country, where politeness and values of respect may seem trite but where they’re genuine and heart felt.
The speeches were fittingly followed by several minutes of simultaneous drumming with nine other Canadian cities in a powerful statement about unity. And, a spectacular fireworks display capped off a perfect day.
Canada Day is a time to celebrate the overwhelmingly good things about our country, and that’s what we did yesterday.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.