Graham Watt on the Harold Jarche blog
February 7th, 2009
Springfield, a small community in New Brunswick, has been in high dudgeon in past weeks, after the principal of Belleisle Elementary School there, cut out the playing of O Canada at the start of each school day. The reason given was the objections of some parents to their children having to stand and sing the anthem.
I have a 10-year old daughter attending public school here in New Brunswick, and she has always had to sing O Canada each morning. In fact, down here, it’s quite common to still hear God Save the Queen at some school and civic events. Evidently while colonialism is slowly ebbing, it is being replaced with good ol’ American patriotism. The many recent letters to local newspapers extolling the virtues of patriotism and hooking it onto the O Canada anthem is perhaps another indication of how this part of the country has become a pale imitation of the U.S., where everything and everyone must have a reputation as a stalwart defender of freedom, and hopefully, a missing arm or a visible wound, preferably still bleeding. Not quite the Deep South, more like the Deep East.
O Canada is a wonderful anthem, a bringer of tears during emotional moments, be they Olympic victories or the sight of our poor soldiers returning home in boxes, having given their lives not only for their country but also for misguided foreign policy. Must we play it every day in schools, like a song for some brand we’re trying to sell? Why not keep it for occasions that merit our tears of joy or sorrow? Why not keep it for those who have earned its playing? They are the brave lost ones who have no recourse, nor do their families, but to be proud that they kept their word, and did their duty.