Canada turns 150-years-old today, Saturday, July 1, 2017. It is a "Statute Holiday" (what is called a National Public Holiday in Japan) called Canada Day. I read American news reports that inaccurately called it "Canada's Independence Day." Those dumb Americans. They can't imagine the world outside their own borders. A 150th anniversary is called a “sesquicentennial.” I’ve understood that since 1977 when my hometown celebrated its sesquicentennial. It made a lasting impression on me.
Despite what you might think about what you are about to read, I love Canada and think it’s a great country, but … (Leaving a sentence unfinished with a dangling “but” is a Canadianism, a strategy to conserve politeness when rudeness is hovering.) Canada is a large country, but it has a small population which means that it is really more like a small community than a great one. As a small community Canada is a bit of a silly place, really. It's terribly provincial and self-righteous. Self-righteousness in Canada crosses political lines just like violence does in the United States, so I might say that self-righteousness is to Canadians what violence is to Americans. But I could be wrong.
Canadians are said to have a reputation for niceness. I don’t think so. I think Canadians are surly and rude, dirty and lazy, backward and provincial. Or maybe that’s just me.
Who says that, anyway? Who says that Canadians are nice? Mostly we say it ourselves. We tell ourselves, for example, that Americans say that we are “nice.” Some Americans repeat what they hear us saying and it becomes a self-fulfilling loop. But Americans are not really saying it. We are, more or less. I admit that I might have been spoiled by living in a society that has a fairly uniform, universal and extremely high level of public courtesy unmatched anywhere in the world. In addition, I think that (Western) people are prone to interpret my efforts at modesty and humility as anti-social rudeness, but ...
Self-righteousness in Canada crosses political lines just like violence crosses political lines in the United States.
How many Canadians have there been since Confederation (1867)? It’s a tricky calculation because of the malleable nature of population. The human life cycle is such that at any given time multiple generations overlap. People are constantly being born and dying, immigrating and emigrating, and there are millions whose status changes not only between one census and another, but even during the commission of one census. I habitually figure a number roughly approaching eighty million Canadians. What has that number produced? It’s produced a lot. We can do more, and better, especially with more people. I am a cheerleader for population growth and development.
If we cannot physically occupy our territory then our claims to sovereignty over it are compromised - I mean diminished.
At Confederation in 1867 the Canadian population was about 3.4 (3.7 million by 1871). Today it is almost 37 million. So we have grown more and faster than many countries, especially the U.S. If this keeps up we might equal America in population in, like, a thousand years or so.
I have long been impressed by the fact that there are more people living in the Greater Toronto Area today than there were in the entire country in 1905 when Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote Anne of Green Gables (published in 1908), my favorite novel and considered by some to be the quintessential Canadian story, comparable to Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer in the U.S.
I have long written about my personal desire to see Canada with a hundred million people right now. We would have a bigger economy and a bigger impact on the world, plus a deeper , more diverse and more remarkable culture. I doubt that in my lifetime I will see 50 million. It’s possible. A population of 50 million is certainly in the pipeline heading towards us quickly, but I expect to leave the scene when our numbers are about 44 million. The primary motive behind my population fantasy is not dissimilar to the Fathers’ of Confederation motive in the first place: self-defence against the U.S. The U.S. is hailed as our greatest trading partner and ally. True. But it is also our greatest threat. In 1865 America finished its Civil War with a frighteningly large and modern military machine which it could easily have turned northward in pursuit of its Manifest Destiny fantasy. It didn’t happen, of course, but at the time it might not have been an entirely foolish notion, nor today, either.
As climate change worsens water wars are coming.
I want a much larger population as a deterrent to the coming American invasion. As climate change worsens water wars are coming. As a repository of much of the world’s fresh drinking water America will cast its covetous eyes northward and see mostly empty land for the taking. They will frame an invasion as a heroic endeavor and a virtue. Plus, they’ll blame it on us. The point is that if we cannot physically occupy our territory then our claims to sovereignty over it are compromised - I mean diminished. Economy, culture and global influence are all just perks of sovereignty. I am a cheerleader for population growth because I am a fan of sovereignty.
I am a cheerleader for population growth because I am a fan of sovereignty.
Every day I thank God that I am not an American.
But I could be wrong.