Happy birthday, you champion of liberal democracy.
You purveyor of polite indignation wrapped up in layers of quintessential maple syrup posturing. Sweet, meaningless, empty gestures.
Your leaders wielding compellingly manufactured and provocative words like the ideologues they pretend not to be, and it’s mostly hot air and you know it.
You are left and you are right, but mostly you’re stuck in the middle.
Still a peacekeeper where arguments exist and violence inevitably flows. Neutral like Switzerland and equally as utopian.
But lately, I fear, it’s been all about taking sides, scorched earth and money trails.
To many, you’re the last beacon of honest light shining throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Like a multicultural aurora borealis attempting to drown out the burgeoning sorrows of predictably low brow tribalism. Special interests before integrity. We’ve seen this show before, and I hate reruns.
You want to be a flashy internationalist and probably think you deserve to be, but with Gondor to the south and an island of fading respectability in the east, some days I’m not sure where you stand.
You’re the veritable definition of generational asylum for thousands and a sublime sanctuary, ushering in refugees under patriotic pretenses to keep us all warm during those chilly evenings of self-doubt and moral relativism.
But you failed to reconcile your own past before rushing out on the world’s stage and now you wonder why you can’t sleep at night.
Failing to embrace history and instead distracted by the twin indulgences of overrated doughnuts and puritanical ice hockey.
Yet, we both know the Maple Leafs will never, ever win the Stanley Cup, Tim Horton’s will always taste like gruel, and you still can’t find reasonably affordable internet for the masses.
Everything is binary because you won’t let it become fluid.
You’ve ignored the basic and incontrovertible facts.
It took the displacement of 150,000 Inuit boys and Metis girls to finally grab your attention, because you spent too much time looking the other way.
With monotheistic zeal, you forcibly removed generations from local communities between 1840 and 1960, and then assimilated them into ecclesiastically run residential schools like ethnically appropriated robots living in The Twilight Zone.
And still you pretended it was all just par for the course.
Now, thousands of graves have returned to haunt your soul like a celestial reckoning.
You’ve allowed our cosmopolitan cities to grow morally and existentially unchecked, bereft of fairness, equality or poise, indulging in old Canadian families that still rule the roost; you seem to care more for English nostalgia and fading bilingual sensibilities over the humiliation of your homeless and downtrodden citizenry left without dignity or hope.
It’s not too late to find a soft spot, is it? You’re like granite.
I know it’s too late to use the weight you used to need to throw around.
You aren’t the same anymore, and I accept that.
The days of Degrassi, Terry Fox, The Kids In The Hall, and Jean Chretien’s choke hold are long gone and done; beautifully cherished and awfully distant memories of a country rife with humility, inner spirituality and self-deprecating wit.
But still you remain. And, hey, I’m here, too. There’s much work to be done.
Oh, Canada! You glorious imperfection in a world of endless hypocrisy.
Happy Birthday. Many returns.