Hnn | The Latest From HNN | Details

Canada: An Ephemeral Reality

 

Canada: An Ephemeral Reality

For HumanistNetworkNews.org
July 1, 2009


This is Canada Day. Unlike Independence Day, which our American neighbors will celebrate in a few days, Canada does not celebrate our independence because that evolved. Putting a particular date on it would be too artificial for us realist Canadians. Rather, Canada Day celebrates our very existence as a nation. As of July 1st, 1867, the world had a new form of state - a dominion.

The Dominion of Canada, as our country was originally called, was a semi-autonomous state within the British Empire. The Canadian government, ensconced in its new capital, Ottawa, looked after internal affairs while the mother parliament in Great Britain looked after international affairs.

Now, the term internal was somewhat relative since Canada, then consisting of Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, also took on some responsibilities for the North West Territories - pretty much the rest of what is now Canada except for British Columbia.

Later, the Dominion of Canada became simply Canada and Dominion Day became Canada Day. Along the way with decades of war and peace under our belt we gained most of our autonomy from what had become known as The United Kingdom. By 1982, we had figured out a way to amend our own constitution (or thought we did) and severed the last shred of dependency from the bemused mother parliament.

So - what do we celebrate on Canada Day? Mostly, I think, we celebrate the ideas of Canada. I say ideas, because I suspect that each Canadian has an individual idea of what Canada is. That diversity is a major part of our ideal. Canada is, in reality, a means to an end. We do not hold any illusions that it is perfect and we work with and around its imperfections every day. Canada works largely because we let it work.

Consider this. Every time we hold an election, our government dissolves. Theoretically we hand the running of the country over to the Privy Council, a group of advisors selected by parliament to advise our Governor General who supervises the whole effort. In reality our bureaucrats just carry on with whatever laws are in place at the time.

We Canadians don't really give a second thought to the notion that someone may just decide not to honor the results of the election and stage some kind of take over. We trust Elections Canada to get it right and the defeated parties to honor the results of the election.

This is perhaps the most important part of our national philosophy. Consider all the turmoil that elections cause in other countries. Iran is the most recent example with the interference of its clergy and the lack of a truly trustworthy election system.

With Canada Day we are celebrating neither a day in history, nor an institution. We create Canada every day through our daily aspirations and lives. Today, Canadians are celebrating Canada, an ephemeral idea that is so strong that it seems real enough to hang our dreams on.


Doug Thomas is an English teacher and novelist, an agnostic member of SOFREE (Society of Ontario Freethinkers), and an active member of the Humanist Association of Canada. He is also Managing Editor of Canadian Freethinker.
Posted 08:31AM on July 01 2009 by Ruth N. Geller
Categories: Ezine

American Humanist Association

The Openly Secular Project has launched! Its mission is to eliminate discriminat...

less than a minute ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday Everyone! Find more humor at: http://goo.gl/vMqskv

20 hours ago

American Humanist Association

This is a great info-graphic explaining the nature of morality. For more inform...

21 hours ago

American Humanist Association

AHA's Merrill Miller will be at the 2014 Religion Newswriters Association Confer...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Apparently it is impossible to fly an airplane without believing in God. Do you...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're looking for a web developer to implement design improvements to our Darwin...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who will be at Apostacon this weekend? From Friday the 19th to Sunday the 21st,...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association joined with 35 groups recently in supporting R...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Fox News and The Kelly File cover the United States Air Force's decision to reve...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

VICTORY! In response to the demand of the AHA, with help from the Military Asso...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

What do kids say about God? Some in this group say he creates apples, is kinda l...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The battle continues for Texas atheist group, the Metroplex Atheists Rowlett. Th...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Satanic Temple decides to join in the fun when a Florida judge ruled in favo...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

The behavior of Ray Rice is not just one single occurrence that needs to be reme...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

What is your opinion on using crowd-funding to raise money for an abortion? Ge...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Is America's Army becoming God's Army? From bible distribution to requiring the...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Monica Miller, attorney for AHA's Appignani Humanist Legal Center, appeared live...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Communications Associate, Merrill Miller, reports on the variety of reactions we...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Already, many students have taken a stand by sitting out the Pledge of Allegianc...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller had harsh words for the AHA this week in covering...

8 days ago