Sunday, October 7, 2007

Thankful for what?

The earliest proclamation of Thanksgiving in Canada was in 1799, when the Lower Canada legislature issued a resolution thanking God "In signal victory over our enemy and for the manifold andinestimable blessings which our Kingdoms and Provinces have received and daily continue to receive." From 1879 until 1957, Canada's Parliament issued an annual proclamation to thank God for a bountiful harvest and "the blessings with which the people of Canada have been favoured" -- and during the war years, gratitude also to the men and women in uniform who were putting themselves in harm's way. In 1957, however, Thanksgiving became a purely secular federal holiday. Notably, the date chosen was the second Monday in October; the same as the US Columbus Day.

Truly odd they'd pick the same day as the commeration of a guy without whom the process of the near genocide of Aboriginals in North America could not have begun -- to give thanks.

Of course, we have much to be thankful for; but on this the 50th anniversary of the secular holiday as we know it today we can't be thankful that natives are still wards of the state, that there are still food banks, that so many kids go to school hungry, that the state still forces mothers to choose between staying at home or working for a living. We can't be thankful grow houses operate in our neighbourhoods, Mounties get shot on a regular basis like a turkey shoot, and that corruption still pervades the corridors of Ottawa.

So today or tomorrow, as we cook that turkey or duck or whatever special food we have -- let us remember that the Canadian dream is not complete. Blessings should be for all -- not just the privileged.

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1 comment:

Sean Cummings said...

We can't be thankful for a relatively high standard of living compared to most other countries?

We can't be thankful that we have a democratic system (flawed, but still not bad) when other countries (like Burma) kill pro-democracy protestors?

We can't be thankful that we have a free press that holds government to account when ineffective opposition cannot?

Lots to be thankful here in Canada. Bags of stuff...