Monday, April 01, 2013

The Need of a Canadian National Monument

Canada has no real national monuments.

Mostly it's because of the irony; towering statues and obelisks that promote pride in Canadian humbleness or simplicity would tend to miss the point. But that problem assumes Canadians would look upon a 100ft copper maple leaf with arrogance and not their common reverence for the natural world around them.

Some may say we don't need any large showy structures, that national monuments are grandiose and idealistic. However there's nothing more idealistic than believing Canadians are so above human nature that they have no need for symbols to inspire them.

We are known for being pragmatic and humble, but those traits should not stop us from lifting them up in stone or steel to remind us of what we aspire to be. We have never let us being humble stop us from doing great things and we certainly shouldn't let it now.

Our lack of arrogance did not stop us from building the longest railway in the world at the time of our nation's founding. Our modest patriotism did not stop us from contributing disproportionately more to two world wars and the peace operations since. And our reserved pride has not lessened our willingness to help those most disadvantaged in our society.

One could argue that the greatest national monument is a citizenry who doesn't need one. But such a thought presumes we are a people above icons, above the simple nature every human shares that requires something real to inspire us to pursue something ideal.

Considering Canada currently has a Conservative government that will apparently leave little or no lasting legacy, that the economy is in need of stimulus spending, and that the 150th anniversary of Confederation is fast approaching, there really is no better time to build a monument for this nation.

A national monument, not to make us more patriotic, but to remind us, and to inspire us, to be better Canadians.

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