Canada Day 2021

Canada isn't an abstraction - it's 38 million people.

I would suggest that the point of Canada Day is not so much to celebrate pride in Canada as to strengthen the feeling of connection that we have with other Canadians as a community. I think that's a necessary and fundamental part of public life. If people didn't care at all for anyone beyond their immediate circle of family and friends, if they didn't feel a degree of responsibility for other Canadians in general, why would they be willing to pay taxes for any program (like CERB) that did not benefit them personally? Why would they care about the tragedies of people they'll never meet?

Somewhat like a war, the Covid crisis really demonstrates the importance of social solidarity. How willing are we to make sacrifices for other people who we don't know and will never meet?

At the same time, turning Canada Day into a contest of patriotism, as O'Toole is doing - "what's the matter, aren't you proud of Canada?" - also seems wrong.

This year it makes sense to mourn and to reflect - both the children who died at the residential schools and are buried in unmarked graves, and all those who died from Covid over the last year and half. But the feeling of belonging to a national community is not dispensable.