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It’s Canada Day.

Like any day where people don’t have to work, July 1 should be spent somewhere nice with people you like.

Like any day in a world where workers’ rights are constantly under attack, you probably do have to work. So instead, spend the day daydreaming about the lake, the dock and the friends you might get to see once this year.

The vacant nationalism, the flag wearing, the odes to a nation that flow like poetry from Facebook statuses from across the nation (OK, with two notable exceptions), should give us all time to reflect.


If your family immigrated here, why give “Canada” the credit for a decision made by your ancestors?

Why give “Canada” the honour of being a symbol for anything and everything that is good?

Why buy into the national myth that upholds how great life is for many of us, while at the same time ignoring or erasing the strife, struggle or challenges that also come with living in “Canada?”

Nationalism is never vacant and it’s most dangerous when it’s masked as such. Nationalism holds a political purpose. It can serve to unite an oppressed people. It can help unite people with varying identities to achieve something that will improve their lives. It can be used to justify the subjugation, ethnic cleansing and genocide of people. It can be used as a blunt object to erase history.

Today, Canada Day should be stained in black for the oil spills and environmental destruction that has been waged across this country for the past year. It should be silenced as we’ve witnessed another watershed year of our freedoms vanish under a radical, conservative government that benefits when the Canadian Flag is waved and myths are used to hide facts. It should be spat upon by the millions of workers whose right to collective bargaining were quashed this past year by Liberals, Conservatives, the Saskatchewan Party or the Parti Québecois.

Take the holiday, if you can, and spend it well. But don’t wave that flag if you can’t justify what “Canada” means today. Take the vacancy out of nationalism and be deliberate: The myth versus the facts: which side are you on?

Honour the land, honour the earth, honour your relations, but leave “Canada” out of it.

Nora Loreto

Nora Loreto is a writer, musician and activist based in Québec City. She is the author of From Demonized to Organized, Building the New Union Movement and is the editor of the Canadian Association...