Joseph Heath: The new nationalism

More excerpts from Joseph Heath’s book, Enlightenment 2.0, on one of the ironies of Trudeau’s policies promoting Canadian symbols. For the Conservative take on successive Liberal governments, see Chris Champion’s Tory History and Its Critics | The Dorchester Review.

So that is how, in a case of not inconsiderable historical irony, Trudeau — the avatar of pure reason — became the father of modern Canadian nationalism, in all of its most boisterous and vulgar manifestations. One wonders how he would have felt had he seen the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, with its giant inflatable beavers, table-hockey players, moose hats, dancing lumberjacks and voyageurs, and Michael Bublé dressed as a Mountie singing “The Maple Leaf Forever.” The phrase “What have I done?” might have sprung to mind. And yet, almost 40 years after Trudeau made the initial moves, one could see the power of the strategy. Quebec artists essentially boycotted the Olympic ceremonies, refusing to participate in what they rightly anticipated would be an orgy of Canadian nationalism. And yet when the curtain closed, they proceeded to complain about the lack of “French content” in the program. A principled commitment to national sovereignty is all well and good, but no one likes to feel left out of a party. As far as political dilemmas go, the shoe had been moved to the other foot.

Joseph Heath: The new nationalism | National Post.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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