Happy Canada Day 2011
We like to celebrate Canada Day every year, adding material to the Canadian core below.
Empires are not in the habit of willingly granting self-rule to their people. In 1867, in the British North America Act, Britain did.
As long ago as 1839, the British Parliament had begun to wonder what to do about the energetic people living in British colonies north of the United States. Parliament asked for recommendations. An unlikely trio provided them.
They were the Earl of Durham (known as 'Radical Jack'), brilliant Charles Buller, and Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who had written about land reform in Australia while languishing in Newgate prison, where he had been sent for eloping with an under-age heiress.
In a blunt report they recommended a union of the colonies with local self-government. Small, local government empowered Canadians to solve their own problems, create their own opportunities and live in freedom.
Parliament Hill, Ottawa. Canada's Constitution and Her Majesty's Government in Canada are modelled after the British Constitution. Independence flourishes. In a fruitful paradox, the British Sovereign is Sovereign of Canada. Image: Wikipedia
Today the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated Canada's 144th birthday with millions of Canadians on Parliament Hill. Image: Globe and Mail. Prince William thanked Canada's military for their work in Afghanistan. Kate wore a red maple leaf in her hat.
Yoho National Park in Canada's Rocky Mountains
Canada sends its gas and oil and wood around the world. As Mark Steyn put it, "Canada is a resource economy. . .It has the second largest oil reserves in the world. Image: Citizens for Justice
Obtaining that energy, on which our lives as lived today depend, is not always a pretty sight. The Athabasca oil sands. Image by NASA.
Stanley Park, Vancouver
Canadians live under the rule of just laws which protect their property, their freedom and their lives.
The Jade Canoe by Bill Reid at Vancouver International Airport is a tribute to Canada's native heritage. Image: vancouver 21
Reid was born in Victoria, British Columbia to an American father of Scottish-German descent and a mother from the Haida, one of the First Nations of the Pacific coast. He developed a keen interest in Haida art while working as a radio announcer in Toronto, where he also studied jewelry making, having first learnt about his heritage from his maternal grandfather, who had himself been trained by Charles Edenshaw, a Haida artist of great renown (Wiki).
Canada's NEOSS space telescope
In addition to monitoring the Sun's magnetic energy, Canada is building the world’s first space telescope designed to detect and track asteroids as well as satellites. Called NEOSSat (Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite), this spacecraft will improve surveillance of asteroids that pose a collision hazard with Earth. It builds on Canada’s expertise in compact “microsatellite” design."
Canada is well-known for its snowy landscapes. Having worked in Mackenzie, BC, we remember the snow piled higher than the houses until May; the roads which were perfectly clear despite daily blizzards, due to Canada's fantastically efficient snow -clearing programme, - men driving ploughs across thousands of wilderness roads; the blistering cold - 20 degrees F. below zero is typical - and the insouciance of Canadians who skied, snowshoed and ice-fished through it; and, finally, the winter stars, a breathtaking sight with millions of stars shining in the frosty night skies so we felt we were standing at the prow of a ship - the Earth - and sailing through star-filled deeps.
Image: Windsor Star
Canada's banks are strong, and Canadians have kept their loonie clear of the debt swamps. Their economy seems to be weathering the global turmoil. Canadians we've met have been relaxed and kind. The National Post is a fine paper. There are good things going on.
Visiting Canada, The Queen said
"I have been a witness to this country for more than half its history since Confederation. I have watched with enormous admiration how Canada has grown and matured while remaining true to its history, its distinctive character, and its values.
"This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example for the world. We have just now seen images of the Canadian forces [on a giant screen], and diplomats and humanitarian workers at work across the globe providing their support and assistance to others in dangerous and hostile circumstances, and earning the respect of us all.
"At home, Canadians have many reasons for optimism, even in trying times. The recent success of the Vancouver Olympics was about more than the thrill of the gold medal for Canada’s hockey team. [Crowd cheers].
"As well as renewing a sense of common purpose within this country, the Olympics showed to others something of the extraordinary warmth and enthusiasm of the people as Canada welcomed participants and audiences from around the globe.
"In many ways, Canada is proudly asserting itself on the international scene and looking to the future with confidence. I wish you all the very happiest Canada Day. God bless you all and God bless Canada."