Monday, January 7, 2019

Youtube Response And Weekend Summary

This is a response I wrote to a comment on a video on youtube. 


It deals with the difficult to define question of what is our national identity as Canadians? At least it gets the juices flowing and not too heavy with rhetoric.


I agree that Europeans did bring value, though they also brought disease for which the indigenous peoples' immune systems were not prepared. We did bring Jesuits who took aboriginal people that had been following their own deistic and tengriistic beliefs for approx 10K - 35K years on the continent and told them they were wrong. 


So what really defines our national identity from all of that? 


Perhaps it is the effort of many people of like mind and ideas who work together to build a means of shelter and sustenance drawing from natural resources that is the foundation for a particular set of ideals around which laws are fashioned and from which progress stems. So is our national identity that of the European exploiters of the lands of indigenous peoples, nearly driving them to extinction so that we could use the land's resources in a much different way? 


I think that our national identity began when we started accepting the responsibility for our actions in the past, and made efforts towards reparation, restoring the dignity of the indigenous people so that they could finally transform the civilization that we'd started on their land. 


Our identity also began when we kept the invading Americans out of the Dominion of Canada (even burning down their Capital, which consequently is why they have a White House now) in order to retain our independence from them and ultimately our ties the the Crown. 


Our national identity began when Lester B. Pierson and Tommy Douglas forged the universal health care plan for Canadians.

Our national identity began when John Diefenbaker scrapped the Avro Arrow, in order to preserve Canada's position of neutrality with regard to the capability to deploy nuclear weapons, instead keeping us as a world trusted negotiators and peace keepers.

Our national identity began at Expo 67 in Montreal, Quebec where we presented our vision of the future of the world.


Our national identity began with the introduction of the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977 which had been brewing for three decades from 1947 and since the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 


Our national identity began in 1931 when we obtained full legal independence and autonomy through the Canadian Declaration of Independence.


Our national identity began on June 5, 1944 when elements of the Canadian Armed Forces with our Allies, secured the bridgehead code-named Juno beach, allowing for the largest amphibious deployment of troops in history and signaling the beginning of the end of World War II. 


Our national identity began with the Community Folk Art Council which was essentially a musical production that founded the roots of what would become Caravan in Toronto. Caravan celebrated the country's contributing cultures by way of various pavilions housed throughout the city. These pavilions allowed Torontonians and visiting tourists to travel to other parts of the world without leaving the city. You could experience arts, food, music, dance and drink.


Our national identity began through our first peace keeping actions for the United Nations and our many successes there from to and by.


Our national identity began when after WWI and WWII Canada became home to a large number of skilled trades persons who essentially built the infrastructure from the ground up. In fact, the majority of housing in the country originated from these two eras.


Our national identity began when we apologized for the wrongful imprisonment and internship of Japanese Canadians during WWII.


Our national identity began when we acknowledge the immense contribution that many low paid Chinese workers, many of whom paid with their lives, made to our national railway infrastructure.


Our national identity began when the RCMP, our national Police force apologized for the lost lives of so many indigenous Women at the hands of serial murderer Robert Pickton, promising to ensure better protection for all Women. 


Our only real enemy is polarization and destructive or despotic cultural branding that pits culture against culture and distracts us from the fact that we're all Canadian.


I grew up in a multicultural society and the only thing that has really changed is that cultural branding has become very competitive and destructive, almost as if by polarization we were being alienated from being the whole that we truly are. Cultural identity and tradition can co-exist in a multicultural society. We've been there before throughout the 1960s and 1970s which was the golden age for the birth of Canadian multiculturalism.


In my humble opinion, we've been steered into the idolization of symbols that have no meaning but are very good at polarizing us. Keeping us trapped either in the peaks of extremes of the valleys between. We've lost our balance in this chase to maintain symbols whose meanings have been lost, instead just leaving us with symbols alone. 


Because not many Canadians keep the bigger picture and the past that brought us to this place in mind, we're struggling while competing to define what it is to be Canadian instead drawing from meaningless symbols that become the flavour of the day, completely changing by the next. Until we admit that nationally, we're all stuck in the peaks or the valleys and ultimately separated from one another rather than together being the whole of Canada, which includes the culture of every citizen in this country and the road through history that it took to arrive here. 


Thank you for the thought provoking response and I have to admit, I was afraid to read it at first as I'm a bit shell shocked by trolls. I'm glad I did read it and I certainly hope that I did not miss anyone or anything that contributes to what defines us.

Thank you very much.


Brian Joseph Johns

200 Sherbourne Street #701
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5A 3Z5
416-203-0928

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