rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

While Jason Kenney promises the best summer ever, it's hard to shake the feeling of apocalyptic foreboding this Canada Day

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Morinville's Roman Catholic Church burns Tuesday night (Photo: Twitter/Kim Smith, CTV).

ST. ALBERT, ALBERTA -- It's Canada Day.

The pickup trucks with their maple leaf flags may or may not be screeching around Edmonton's Whyte Avenue tonight, laying rubber in celebration of the provincial government's edict the masks must come off, Delta variant or not.

But while Premier Jason Kenney insists the summer of 2021 is going to be the best one Alberta's ever seen, with a Calgary Stampede and everything, it's hard to shake the feeling of apocalyptic foreboding in the air this Canada Day.

As we gingerly emerge from a year of on-again, off-again COVID-19 restrictions and more than 26,000 deaths across Canada, with a chorus of deranged COVID deniers screeching at every turn that the malls must reopen or freedom will perish from the earth, this just feels like one more bad bet by the United Conservative Party.

The air's hot enough for it to be Texas, hovering just under 40 degrees Celsius most days this week. But by mid-afternoon it feels like Fahrenheit 451.

It can take you an hour to get an ambulance in Edmonton whether it's COVID, heat-stroke or something else that's ailing you. While you wait, you can consider the pleas to take it easy on the power grid because it may not be able to hold up under the strain.

Yet the same hysterical voices that insist COVID vaccines are a billionaires' plot to put microchips in our bloodstreams are assembling in cyberspace to yell at us that global climate change is a fraud ginned by Justin Trudeau and a shadowy new world order to make us submit to wearing paper masks.

They'd be in the streets, too, except it's too hot for them as well.

Medical facilities keep getting anonymous letters ordering them to cease and desist practicing medicine, or else.

In the midst of this, unidentified men in Alberta have been attacking Muslim women because of the way they dress and, often, the colour of their skin. This happened last week right here in St. Albert. The Mounties say they're having trouble finding the culprit.

Worst of all, what we were told over and over, most recently by the witnesses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is revealed to be the horrifying, undeniable truth as the unmarked graves of little Indigenous children -- more than a thousand in just the past few days -- are revealed at the sites of former "residential schools" across Canada.

There are many more to come.

But for some reason the COVID and climate change deniers, self-described "conservatives" all, who see a conspiracy to thwart something they want at every turn, have trouble accepting that this horror was the result of a conscious, thought-out national policy.

Suggest using this Canada Day as a moment to solemnly reflect on the horror of the residential schools system, the reality of our colonial institutions, or the global predicament of climate change, and they'll say they don't want their culture cancelled.

And it's not just the mob. It's the conservative movement's leaders.

The leader of Canada's parliamentary opposition -- a party closely tied to Kenney's government -- says he wants to "take back Canada." From whom is never mentioned explicitly, but if you listen carefully, you can hear the dog whistle well enough.

"I can't stay silent when people want to cancel Canada Day," Erin O’Toole told his party faithful last week, never mind that Canada Day, like Christmas, is in no danger.

He just doesn't want to talk about the bad stuff -- on Canada Day or any other day -- unless there's a way to turn it into an attack on Trudeau or demean "woke" liberals.

But cancelling Canada Day fireworks -- as St. Albert's City Council bravely did on the reasonable grounds it would be disrespectful and inappropriate to launch them from the site of the demolished St. Albert residential school, which may well have its own collection of unmarked graves -- is not the same as cancelling Canada. Quite the contrary, in fact.

The night before last, a Roman Catholic Church burned down in Morinville, the next town to the north of St. Albert. The investigation has barely begun before Kenney was on the smouldering doorstep with his video crew to declare the fire "a criminal act of hate-inspired violence."

If ever there was a moment in Canada's history when sober reflection, empathy and reconciliation would seem like the appropriate course of action, this Canada Day is it.

But Kenney doesn't do sober reflection. He does incendiary division.

Canada may someday get to a better place because of what we do and say this summer, through generosity of spirit, a willingness to acknowledge our national sins, and our international responsibilities.

But I'm pretty sure that no matter what happens, we're not going to look back on this as the best Alberta summer ever.

Photo: Morinville's Roman Catholic Church burns Tuesday night (Photo: Twitter/Kim Smith, CTV). 

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.