Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes me feel uncomfortable on Canada Day

Canada Day always leaves me somewhat conflicted.

Poll

Does Prime Minister Stephen Harper make you feel uncomfortable on Canada Day?

Yes 54%
631 votes
No 46%
527 votes

Don't get me wrong. I like the country of Canada.

My concerns are more with how the day is celebrated.

Two years ago, writer Tanya Fink chronicled how Canada Day was turned into a giant military-recruitment festival in downtown Vancouver.

Tomorrow, we can expect Prime Minister Stephen Harper to deliver a patriotic speech that will glorify our military adventures abroad and overlook many of the reasons why I like Canada. They include:

Ӣ The country's history of federal-provincial agreements, which have made health care and education more broadly available.

Ӣ The progress Canada continues to make in race relations, notwithstanding our disgraceful historical treatment of nonwhite residents.

Ӣ Canada's proud tradition of minimizing its role in ill-conceived wars, such as the U.S.-led attack on Iraq and the bombardment of North Vietnam.

Ӣ Canada's impressive record of citizens responding to the federal government's woeful handling of environmental issues. (This includes Harper's opposition to an international limit on the export of cancer-causing crysotile asbestos.)

Ӣ The role that municipal politicians in Canada have played in helping to change public attitudes toward smoking, drug addiction, transit, and the Cold War.

”¢ Our system of public pensions—while it's far from perfect, it helps some poor seniors avoid the fate of elderly people in many other countries.

Ӣ The determination of community activists to draw attention to missing and murdered women, including those of aboriginal descent.

Ӣ The positive impact that some Quebec politicians, including Gilles Duceppe, have played in countering biker gangs, which reduced their strength.

Ӣ Canadian writers and artists (there are too many to mention all of them), who have enriched our lives in countless ways. I will highlight one: Lawrence Martin, an Ottawa-based journalist whose many books, including Harperland, have helped educate me about the way this country is governed.

Ӣ Democracy Watch, an Ottawa-based group that regularly blows the whistle on the Harper government's reluctance to follow through on its accountability promises.

There are many more good things to mention about Canada. But as Samuel Johnson once said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." So I don't want to beat the drum too hard.

Besides, the prime minister has a habit of doing this anyway. Harper likes linking the Conservative party with symbols of the country, including the military, hockey, the monarchy, and the flag.

Canada Day offers an ideal opportunity for him to do this again—especially with Prince William and his new bride in Ottawa.

I'm sure all of this will have me cringing once again on Canada Day.

It's a slippery slope from patriotism into jingoism and all sorts of unethical decisions. Frankly, I don't have confidence in this prime minister to recognize the difference.

After all, real patriots wouldn't be out there promoting the export of carcinogens to the developing world.

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.

Comments (40) Add New Comment
cuz
Charlie, it's no secret that you don't like anything about Stephen Harper or the Conservative government. Why bother trying to make us think you are objective?? Your blind acceptance of leftwing jingoism only shows that you are unwilling to consider viewpoints other than your own as valid.
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Chet
makes me uncomfortable every day naseous actually
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Chet
and while you're at it John "blowhole" Baird Christy n Gordo too
Dimwits
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Mike Puttonen


"Harperland" in audiobook format available from PostHypnoticPress.com
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monty/that's me
Charlie, borrow a car and go see and hear Trooper at 8:45 pm On July 1 in Surrey, 64th and 176 St. "Raise a Little Hell" is one of their best known songs. Sing along, you'll feel better.

As for Harper, pretend he, Baird, Moore, McKay, Christi and Gordo have all vanished up their own dirt shoots. Feeling better?
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J_J
Yes, I am patriotic and I am a proud Canadian. And yes, I am insulted that you suggested that I, as well as millions of Canadians, am a scoundrel because of it.

I also find it disappointing you have chosen to slam Harper for praising our military. These are the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our country. These are the veterans who fought in WWII, sacrificing so much so that you can have free speech and democracy. I find it reprehensible that you think it's a bad thing we have a Prime Minister who respects our military and does not diminish our brave soldiers.
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alexthegreat
Nationalism was so last century.
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Arthur Vandelay
The thing that really makes me uncomfortable is the author's luke warm endorsement of Canada. Me? I "like" my cell phone but there are certain things that I absolutely and unequivocally "love" and Canada is very high on that short list.
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Steve Sanderson
Charlie, knumbskull liberals like you are the reason we finally have a confident decisive Prime Minister and leader who will return Canada to its former place as a prosperous and truley tolerant nation / not a hate filled left wing failed utopia.
Feeling very comfortable this Canada day, sucks to be you Charlie!
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Willie
I love hearing the left whine about Harper. He's gotta be doing something right!
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Durward
So Charlie, what you love about Canada is all the socialist nonsense and feel good lies?
No wonder you don't like our PM.
You are no patriot Charlie and no student of history either.
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I Love Charkie
Well Chuck - it seems you like to bitch - but in truth - what have YOU personally done to improve this country? Oh, when you get a chance to leave this country you should take it - right on over to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, ran, Libya, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, China or perhaps one of the "Stan" countries - just to name a few. The vast majority of residents there would give their left nut to have YOUR freedoms. Your freedom there would be somewhat limited - however - you could attempt to write - at the risk of your life. It is people like Harper, the military, and those who stand up for reality in this modern world that actually provide you the freedom to be able to do nothing for this country but complain. If you promise to leave - please take your family as well - I will start a collection for the tickets - bet the money rolls in pretty quick - time to get rid of losers like you and bring in some real folks who not only appreciate this country, but actually do something of value to help it grow. Go grab that government subsidy you live on and be happy people like me pay their taxes so pariahs like you can live the good life.
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Jacxass
Just put Stephen in a skirt and send him to a Turkish Steambath
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whatever whatever
There were military recruiters some where in the midst of the 100k+ crowd, some where in downtown Ottawa. THE OUTRAGE THE HORROR!

I am banging my head against a cinder block wall in protest right now! HOW DARE THEY!!!!!
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Walter
You are a sarcastic person who cannot be democratically gracious until you get your twisted.com way. You are not truly Canadian.
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Meanwhile in Russia...
Putin just announced he's sending brigades to the arctic.

No Mr Smith I believe Mr Harper is exactly the right person to be in charge. What would Jack Layton do the Russians when they arrive on our borders... smile at them???
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Harry H
If it wasn't for our military you'd be singing "Deutchland Uber Alles" instead of O'Canada.
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JETSOLVER
It's alright Charlie, I swore to protect and defend you as well as all other Canadians, equally.

I wish you would do the same...
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Susaan
It would appear that Charlie has a kindred spirit in the Ottawa-Liberal-National Newswatch, as it is providing yet another prominent linkage for anti-Harper type like Charlie and the Straights. Get over it. No military pictures or guns. Oh the fearmongering. PM Harper received 58% of every vote west of the Ottawa River. Quebec and the Maritimes more closely relate to your anti-Harper hurt feelings. Love Canada, warts and all. Including Charlie and his right to say anything. Even bs.
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cheena1ca@yahoo.ca
Hmmm, any particular reason my comment didn't get posted??
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