Symbols mean something, and today is the anniversary of our adoption, back in 1965 under Lester B. Pearson, of a the ‘maple leaf’ as our national flag, replacing the richer symbolism of the Canadian Red Ensign. Whatever one’s aesthetic tastes, the union jack, the lion rampant, signified a robustness and strength lost in the symbol of a leaf, a paper-thin entity blown hither and thither by capricious breezes, like the phantasmagoric lost souls described by Saint Jude: waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead,
The railway is also – or, perhaps was – another symbol of Canada’s national strength, withi the connecting of the east and west coast – from sea to shining sea – by the chemin de fer part of our mythic history. Hence, ‘tis symbolic and indicative that the same railway has now been shut down – we are on the ninth day of protests by various indigenous groups, aggrieved that they have not been heard, that we (who is ‘we’ here?) have invaded ‘their’ lands, that pipelines have no place in Canada, and on it goes. The native protesters are joined by millennials, boomers, generation zedders, who have all imbibed the toxic, mind-numbing historically and intellectually impoverished watery stew served up by our homogeneous universities – indigenous good, colonial bad – even though every one of them lives with the benefits of such ‘colonialisim’. Pre-British-and-French Canada, pre-rail-and-road-travel, pre-modern medicine, pre-Christian – in a word, pagan and pre-colonial Canada – for all its natural beauty and grandeur, was not a pleasant place, but red in tooth and claw, unhygienic, mired in disease, superstition, starvation, prey to the vagaries of implacable nature.
Would that they could be transported back to Canada circa 1505 or so, for a few days of survivor, and see how long their puffy coats and sociology degrees get them.
But the minds of modern Canadians know this not, or refuse to see it. In their ignorance, they are blown hither and thither by the fads of the day, by what seems to them a righteous cause, with that indignation borne of principles only partly seen and understood – the notions of private property, its purpose and origins, wealth creation – the half-blind following the more blind – sort of like the lifeless leaves of autumn. All the while the real evils of Canada fester and ferment. Sad to say, even though I live in hope, we likely won’t see many of these same protesters at the March for Life come May.
So maybe our new flag means something after all.