An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
CANADIANS WILL CELEBRATE their country tomorrow, and “celebrate” is the key word.
Maybe the excitement of getting outside for the annual July 1 event instead of being cooped up in a pandemic will make us all feel more festive than in the past couple of years.
A bit of a pall has hung over the date in those years due not just to the pandemic but controversies around racism and residential schools, leading us to question our country.
Last year, there were calls across the nation to cancel Canada Day entirely. The residential schools controversy was raging. Churches were being burned to the ground. Four members of a Muslim family had purposely been hit and killed by a man in a pickup truck.
Canada Day had become a day to question our identity instead of to celebrate it. Several cities, including Penticton and Victoria, ignored Canada Day.
Thankfully, Kamloops didn’t heed that call. Instead, the City and Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc teamed up for an online celebration. The message was: now more than ever, we need to restate our faith in our country and recommit to working together to make it a better place.
So, Riverside Park will once again be the scene of music and dancing and good food and good fun. With all the work that’s been going on at Riverside Park, there will be less space than usual but that shouldn’t deter anyone. All the usual features will be there.
Please, let’s leave the protests for another day.
Canada Day is an easy target for those with grievances; just ask the “Freedom” protesters who have announced they’ll show up in force at ceremonies in Ottawa tomorrow. They vow to stay for awhile, too; federal and civic officials, on the other hand, vow not to let them ruin Canada Day for everyone else.
Tomorrow, let’s show how we can all get along; not how we can’t.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor, wishing you a happy and peaceful Canada Day.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC, 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.