Dominion of the Dead

by Mark Steyn
Seasons of Steyn

Yesterday, on the eve of “Canada” Day, revellers lit up the St Jean Baptiste Catholic Church in Morinville, Alberta.

~When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle gave me a lavishly illustrated book on the US/Canadian border – “the longest undefended frontier in the world”, until Chi-Com 19 came along. There was a quote in it that struck me even at the tender age of seven. It came from some prairie farmer:

What’s the difference between Dominion Day and Independence Day? Oh, about forty-eight hours.

Cute line – although, even then, I wasn’t entirely persuaded. By the time of my July 1st 2004 column I was openly skeptical:

If it was ever true, it isn’t now: Can you imagine Washington changing the Fourth of July to America Day? Federally funding the parades and fireworks? Distributing cardboard hats saying ‘Smile – it’s America Day!’? Saying ‘Hey, that old Uncle Sam guy’s gotta go. He’s not inclusive enough. And who wears tails with those striped pants these days?’ Americans are novelty junkies when it comes to the Flavour of the Day at Starbuck’s (decaf-hazelnut-raspberry-Eurasian milfoil-latte), but not about what counts: flags, constitutions, anthems, Pledges of Allegiance.

God, what was I thinking? What’s the difference between Dominion Day and Independence Day? Oh, about thirty-nine years.

As you’ll know if you heard Andrew Lawton yesterday, today’s “Canada Day”, if not quite formally canceled, is to be more honour’d in the breach. That’s not a problem for SteynOnline, because we have never honoured “Canada Day”at all. At this shingle we observe Dominion: always have done, always will. Canada Day is a bland insipid nullity, rushed through Parliament by a hack Liberal backbencher (Hal Herbert) with a bare quorum of members and the crap wankers of Joe Clark’s Tory party as usual sleeping of lunch. So it was great to hear Andrew raving that Canada Day was on the outs, and thus, presumably, my long campaign to restore Dominion Day had triumphed.

Alas, apparently not: It turns out Hal Herbert’s supposedly minor act of vandalism on Canadian history has led to such a wholesale torching of Canadian history that even Canada Day is ashes. Who’da foreseen that?

Dominion Day is specific; Canada Day is generalized pap – and, like any semi-decent author, I have a preference for the particular. At the very least, if an American asks you, “What the hell is this Dominion Day thing?”, you have to give a bit of thought to the answer. Whereas, if he asks you what Canada Day is, you simply coo some vapid drivel about celebrating the diversity of our multiculturalism. Nevertheless, in vaporizing real history for Trudeaupian mush, one is implicitly rebuking the past – for serious nations do not change their national holidays in this way.

And, once one has implicitly rebuked the past, it would be unreasonable to expect other persons not to disdain it more explicitly. And so, entirely predictably, the multiculti crapola turns out to have no real purchase on people, and Canada is now full of “Canadians” who hate Canada Day and the Maple Leaf far more than ever Canadians of half-a-century back hated Dominion Day and the Red Ensign.

So “Canada Day” limps on, unlikely to make it to its fortieth birthday in any meaningful sense. Hal Herbert and his wretched Grit quorum simply changed the name of the old holiday and then retooled it to fit the new moniker. By contrast, south of the border, the Biden Administration has actually inaugurated an entirely new “national holiday” – Juneteenth. I should explain that Juneteenth is something to do with the abolition of slavery in Texas, but I can’t be bothered: The terminus of the “underground railroad” was in Canada, where slaves were free. But to the wokesters, the men who presided over that Dominion are just as evil and racist as any southern redneck, so who cares? The point is that Juneteenth fulfills the same function vis-à-vis Independence Day as Canada Day vis-à-vis Dominion Day: it is there as an implicit rebuke to the old day, to the past, to one’s entire civilizational inheritance.

And, in fairness to the House of Commons in Ottawa, where the Tories were unaware of what was happening until it was too late, in Washington almost every Republican, gummi-spined as ever, went along with Juneteenth.

This summer’s woes were foretold by the total fiasco of Canada’s sesquicentennial four years ago – a fiasco any semi-competent opposition could have hung around Justin’s neck with ease, but evidently not when that opposition is led by Andrew O’Toole or Erin McTosspot or whoever it was back then. As I wrote on that grim Dominion Day of 2017:

A national celebration of collective guilt is a hard act to pull off. An historical anniversary on which it’s unsafe to mention any history doesn’t leave a lot else… Half-a-century ago, the Liberal Party of Justin’s dad offered us a rather wearisome nationalist boosterism. Now it’s boosterism without the nationalism, which is even more wearisome. I would dearly have loved someone to walk out on stage and say, “This is all total bollocks, isn’t it?” But the nearest we got was Charles and Camilla involuntarily giggling through the Inuit throat-singing in Nunavut. And that probably wasn’t a smart move, which the activists are sure to demand their pound of blubber over…

And yet, if you can pull off a Canada Day without Canadians, why not do it again? For Justin Trudeau, the man who hailed Canada as “the first post-national state”, what could be more natural than the first post-national national holiday?

There’s a lot of that about. Happy Dominion Day to all our readers, to whom it should be no surprise that the modish nothingness of Canada Day failed to make its fortieth birthday: North or south of the border, pandering to the vandals buys you very little time.


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