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Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May's picture
Elizabeth May is the Leader of the Green Party of Canada and one of our country’s most respected environmentalists. She is a prominent lawyer, an author, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a loving mother and grandmother.

The War of 1812 and the Surrender of 2012

| June 2, 2012

It always struck me as a bit odd, from when I first heard it heralded in the 2011 Speech from the Throne, that Canada was to have a major celebration for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. It got more intriguing when the detail was unveiled that we were to spend $28 million in such celebrations, in a year when the budget was described as working toward deficit reduction. Many commentators have noticed Stephen Harper's tendency to wrap himself in the flag -- to adopt a jingoism and patriotic voice more often associated with a southern accent.

I am very comfortable with language about valuing Canada. I love Canada. No doubt about it. I consider myself a patriot. In fact, ever since receiving the honour of being made an Officer of the Order of Canada, I have taken the words of "O Canada" very seriously indeed. "We stand on guard for thee" is personal. And I tend to see it in terms of standing on guard for wilderness and ecosystems and future generations, which means standing on guard for environmental science and laws and policy.

But not until the details of 420 pages of C-38 came to light did I realize that Stephen Harper is doing something extraordinary for the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812. That flag he has wrapped himself in is a white flag. He is surrendering.

How else to explain that 200 years after protecting the sovereignty of the land that is now Canada and ensuring it was not subsumed by our southern neighbour, we are passing legislation to allow U.S. law enforcement agents onto Canadian territory to enforce US laws. What would Laura Secord have made of that plot? Had she discovered it with her wandering cow, would she have turned Stephen Harper in?

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Comments

of the approximately 110 000 residents of Upper Canada, near 100 000 were American born. Just saying.

Rebecca West is right. We need a united front. In the War of 1812, Canadians were able to repel frontal attacks to protect our sovereignty. Now the attack is more insidious. It comes from within. Maybe, the leader of the New NDP would take a moment to join the Green Party leader and confront this attack on our sovereignty. 

 

Elizabeth May never stopped being American just because she became Canadian - even if she renounced her US citizenship. Canada is not in Europe or Antarctica or Africa; it is no less an American country than is the US. Let's stop using the term "America" in a racist way. Calling the USA "America" is just as offensive as calling South Africa "Africa" or Germany "Europe". Christopher Columbus never went to the US, and yet nobody denies that Columbus travelled to America. Columbus went to Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Repubic, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela and most of the smaller countries in between. If Canadians are not Americans, then America was unknown to Europeans until 1513, when Juan Ponce de Leon sailed to Florida and gave that state its name. (I am reminded of the mortifying lyrics to the song "America" in the musical "West Side Story", in which the characters musically debate the wisdom of their choice to leave Puerto Rico, a country colonized by Christopher Columbus in 1493, to go to New York City, a territory unknown by Europeans until more than a hundred years later, which they call "America"! Talk about cognative dissonance!)

Surely the country of Ms. May's birth should make no difference in our opinion of her. One cannot choose where one is born. I should hope that we judge Ms. May by her words and deeds, not her family heritage.

This on your sleeve patriotism is very American.  But Elizabeth knows all about that too don't you Elizabeth?  Oh right, you use to be an American, I almost forgot.  Thanks for reminding me.

I'm all in favour of a united front against Bill C-38. My comment had nothing to do with that issue.

I was taking issue with May's fawning bourgeois patriotism and historical revisionism. Surely I'm entitled to do that and still be against Bill C-38.

M. Spector, I know the Green Party isn't at all your flavour of progressive - mine neither - but C-38 is an abomination and more than ever we need to unite our oppostion to this bill and put aside our differences.

Elizabeth May wrote:
I am very comfortable with language about valuing Canada. I love Canada. No doubt about it. I consider myself a patriot. In fact, ever since receiving the honour of being made an Officer of the Order of Canada, I have taken the words of "O Canada" very seriously indeed. "We stand on guard for thee" is personal. And I tend to see it in terms of standing on guard for wilderness and ecosystems and future generations, which means standing on guard for environmental science and laws and policy.

And I bet she thinks that wearing a poppy is a bold anti-war statement.

And that Canada has been standing up to the United States and defending its sovereignty for the last 200 years.

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