Authoritarians in Canada are embracing the tactic of banning celebrations and Canada Day is their prime target following fresh announcements from some cities saying they will cancel or modify traditional July 1 celebrations again this year.
A demoralized citizenry is easier for authoritarians to control than a prideful and happy populace. Totalitarian regimes have a long history of banning celebrations and social gatherings in order to keep citizen morale low and subservience to the state high.
Years of pandemic lockdowns demonstrated to authoritarians just how willing citizens could be to give up social gatherings and celebrations when dictated by the state. Most people look back upon the introverted, fearful years of the pandemic with sadness. Graduations, weddings, and even funerals were cancelled or deferred while gatherings of more than a handful of people for events such as Christmas or Thanksgiving were literally illegalized.
It was a miserable period for most people, but it was exhilarating for bureaucrats and politicians experiencing the thrill of controlling others. Many authoritarians yearn for those days, and they are hard at work trying to replicate them through the cancellation of celebrations.
A hallmark of oppressive regimes is the suppression of celebrations and happiness. Iran keeps its population divided, frightened, and unhappy through stringent laws against demonstrations of joy. In 2014, people identified in a video dancing to the song “Happy” were sentenced to up to a year in prison and 91 lashes.
More recently, five Iranian girls were detained for dancing to a Selina Gomez song in a video.
Demonstrations of joy or unity are literally illegalized. It isn’t just that authorities despise happiness, they recognize that a happy population that socializes may start to question the regime. A fearful one that keeps to itself will not cause trouble.
During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and the 1970s, the Chinese Communist Party set out to eradicate the Four Olds: old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits. The idea was to bring China’s culture under the full control of the Communist Party.
Canada Day as the name suggests is a celebration of Canada as a country. The celebration began as Dominion Day in 1867 and was changed to Canada Day in 1982 after the patriation of the Constitution. It is traditionally a day of light, family celebrations of living in one of the most free and prosperous nations on earth. Cities and towns host gatherings, picnics, and parties across the country and citizens spend a day simply enjoying each other and being happy.
Things changed in the spring of 2021. Anomalies were found using ground-penetrating radar on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., that many believed indicated the graves of children who had attended the school. The nation and the world were shocked.
Prime Minister Trudeau made the unprecedented move of lowering the Canadian flag for six months while citizens were chided for the sins of their forefathers. Between the pandemic and attitudes of national shame, Canada Day celebrations in 2021 were muted if they were held at all. No bodies have been found at the school site to date and no excavations have been performed on this any of the other such sites.
Opponents of Canadian pride and happiness saw their chance and they pounced. It isn’t enough to cancel Canada Day for one year. Canada Day celebrations must be halted across the nation in perpetuity.
While the holiday itself will remain, Canada’s progressive left wants it to morph into a day of shameful introspection and mourning. They feel Canada is a loathsome, genocidal state and citizens should use Canada Day as a time to hang their heads in collective shame as an atonement for the actions of past generations.
Fireworks indicate joy and celebration and thus are a target. In Canada’s major cities, fireworks have been a part of Canada Day celebrations for decades. Families gather by the thousands to observe them. Yet they have been cancelled in Vancouver, while Calgary’s woke city hall came very close to cancelling them for “cultural sensitivities.”
While citizens of indigenous and Chinese descent are ostensibly the aggrieved parties, the opposition to the fireworks isn’t coming from them. It’s senior bureaucrats and politicians who take issue with the celebration.
When citizens pushed back against the cancellation, Calgary city councilor Kourtney Penner said to reverse the decision would be upholding colonialism and racism.
New days of observation focused on guilt and negativity are being created and pushed, from Red Dress Day to Orange Shirt Day to Truth and Reconciliation Day.
Canada’s federation is fragile. Independence movements exist in both Quebec and the West. Either could blossom into larger movements quickly, and eroding national pride through cancelling Canada Day erodes the thin fabric uniting the nation. Authoritarians may be fomenting revolution rather than expanding control with their efforts to cancel national pride and joy.
If demonstrations of national pride are banned, what is the point of being in the nation?
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.