Pipestone Flyer

    I grew up in Canada, the best country in the world.  My parents grew up in Canada, the best country in the world.  So far as I know, the first of my ancestors to come to Canada arrived in the early 1780s, right after the American Revolution.  Some of them had to leave the new U.S.A. because they were so loyal to their king and native land that the men of the family had fought for the British during the American Revolution, so came to Canada as United Empire Loyalists.  Some of them were persecuted in the new U.S.A. because they were “Pennsylvania Dutch,” pacifist Ana-Baptists who would not fight, whose spiritual heritage had the same roots as that of the Mennonites, Hutterites, and Amish of today.  That would be seven or eight generations before me.  Some of my great great grandparents came to Canada on a sailing ship from Cornwall before 1850.  They were miners and farmers.  A Scottish great grandfather was a jack-of-all-trades who did much of the stone work and brick laying on original buildings on Young Street in Toronto.  My one grandmother was the last to come to Canada, arriving from Belgium when she was seven years old in about 1890.  My ancestors were among the hard working people who built Canada, who helped to make it the best country in the world.

    When I grew up, the Canadian flag was the Red Ensign, with the Union Jack in one corner and the Canadian Coat of Arms in the middle.  Every school day started with the singing of O Canada, God Save the King/Queen, the salute to the flag which was recognized as “the emblem of my King/Queen and country,” the Lord's Prayer, and a Bible reading without comment.  Sixty years ago, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was celebrated throughout the country.  In Wetaskiwin, many of the floats in the celebration parade were made in school time by classes of school children.  The day of the Coronation was a school holiday with the parade and an interesting, varied, and long program at the Drill Hall.  Television was new and in few homes, so the movie of the Coronation was shown in movie theatres, a must see for everyone.  French and English were the official languages of Canada, but anyone who spoke any two languages was rightly considered bilingual.  

    I grew up in Canada, the best country in the world, before the Liberals and especially the evil genius of Pierre Elliot Trudeau destroyed so much of the best of it.  Trudeau was a master at manipulating the media to make him look like a star to the kind of people who idolized entertainment stars.  He said and promised exactly what he knew people wanted to hear, then did exactly as he pleased, often exactly the opposite of what he said.  He managed to leave perceptions of his actions that were far from reality.  For example, there is a perception that he championed immigration, but the number of immigrants actually entering Canada decreased while he was in power.  He pretended to champion the efficient use of energy, but presided over the destruction of the railway system, the most energy efficient method of transporting both passengers and freight.  Many of his policies were divisive, creating animosity between regions of the country, between provinces, between languages, between people groups.  His version of bilingualism, which effectively eliminated those who did not speak French from the federal civil service throughout the country, was one of those divisive policies.  Quebec responded by legislating more and more restrictions on the use of English within its borders.  He pushed through a constitution which Quebec would not sign on to.  His was the National Energy Policy which alienated the West, especially Alberta.  He couldn't eliminate the Monarchy, but he drastically reduced references to the Queen, the singing of “God save the Queen,” the recognition of the flag as the emblem of our Queen as well as of our country, the use of “Royal.”  His was the vision of a cultural “mosaic” which ended up with every minority group being able to dictate its minority terms to the whole country whenever it claimed to be “offended” or wanted to claim its “rights.”  Trudeau produced a divided country torn from the roots which had made it the best country in the world.

    As we approach Canada Day, three things reminded me of the huge contrast between the Canada in which I grew up and Canada today.  As a volunteer tutor with the Literacy Program, I had a student say to me, “I'm surprised that you are a Canadian.  You're not like what I think of as a Canadian.”  Turns out he had worked with a lady from England, and he recognized the English in me.  How sad that those British Christian roots are no longer recognized as the very foundation which makes Canada a highly desirable destination for immigrants.  

    In another situation, I heard a man in his fifties, a “Baby Boomer,” say, “As a male white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, I have the least rights of anyone in this country.”  How sad that the descendant of generations of Canada builders should now be made to feel like a second class citizen.  

    Thirdly, I see short news clips about the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and I remember the joyous celebration of her Coronation in schools and small and large communities across the country.  There have been some short visits by members of the Royal Family to some special occasions to mark her remarkable 60 year reign, but most of us have seen these as mere news clips.  How sad that we are not celebrating this rare and special event in every school and community across the country.  She is our Queen, our titular head of government.

    So this Canada Day, I remember with gratitude and sadness the best country in the world that I grew up in.  At the same time I recognize the beauty of this vast land and the peace and degree of remaining freedom for which we can still be very thankful.  This Canada Day I will celebrate my home and native land and work and pray that she may grow and develop in ways that will once again make her the best country in the world.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says the provincec has ordered 1.96 million doses of the flu vaccine. “That is a record for the province and 20 per cent more than last year,” she said. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

The death of 19-year-old Jacob Michael Chitze of Edmonton has now been ruled a homicide following an ongoing RCMP investigation.
UPDATE: RCMP arrest youth for second degree murder of 19-year-old Jacob Chitze

Arrest made for the murder of Jacob Michael Chitze, 19.

Pumpkins for the 46th Annual WDACS Pumpkin Ball on display at Vision Credit Union Wetaskiwin. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
46th Annual Pumpkin Ball held virtually this year

This year the pumpkins were sold over a six-day online auction.

Manny’s Motel demolition underway. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
Manny’s Motel demolition underway

The property has been vacant since the fire that destroyed most of the structure Jan.14, 2020.

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

(Black Press file photo)
Maskwacis RCMP welcomes new detachment commander

The Maskwacis RCMP detachment has a new detachment commander, Inspector Leanne MacMillan.… Continue reading

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Most Read