Saturday, July 01, 2006

Oh, Canada

I was going to go on about comics, so consider yourselves lucky. Instead I want to celebrate Canada Day, and not just because I watch curling on the CBC.

Canada Day commemorates the creation of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. I remember it as Dominion Day as a child, and as that oddly-named note on the Calender three days before the 4th of July. The renaming, however, is another case of a holiday shifting itself around as it makes itself comfortable. It was first proposed as a celebration on the first anniversary of Canada's creation, but people up north have only gotten around to seriously celebrating it for the last twenty years or so. The always-practical Canadians decided to wait a century to make sure this was a going concern before running out and buying fireworks.

The Dominion of Canada was created by the British North America Act, or BNA, out of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada, split up into Ontario and Quebec (thirty years previous, they were Lower Canada and Upper Canada, lumped together by another act).

Part of the reason for the forming of the Dominion was the fact that their neighbor to the south, the US, was getting a little frisky with all of its "manifest destiny" talk, and before and after the enactment of the BNA was the time of the Fenian Raids, when Irish Veterans from the US invaded Canada, with the idea that they could take it over, then trade it back to Britain for a free Ireland. It actually sounds like a better plan than it was. Here's part of the entry from the Wikipedia:
Fenian soldier's song

We are the Fenian Brotherhood, skilled in the arts of war,
And we're going to fight for Ireland, the land we adore,
Many battles we have won, along with the boys in blue,
And we'll go and capture Canada, for we've nothing else to do.

Along with such things like the War of 1812 and the Oregon Boundary Dispute (fifty-four-forty-or-fight!) convinced the Canadians that they had a rowdy downstairs neighbor and the best thing they could do was get organized. While the discussions that led to confederation were in the process for years - the 1840 Act of Union which smushed Upper and Lower Canada was coming apart - but the noises of the Americans bowling with kegs in the downstairs parlor probably speeded the deliberation just a tad.

So Happy 139th, Canada, and we look forward to a big shindig next year!

We are the Canadian Borg.
Resistance would be impolite.
Please wait to be assimilated.
Pour l'assimilation en francais, veuillez appuyer le "2".

--- Tag line lifted from somewhere on the net.

More later,