Over the course of the Second World War, 1.1-million Canadians served in our armed forces. Of these, more than 45,000 lost their lives and another 54,000 were wounded—this out of a total population of just over 11-million. And why were we there? To support the United Kingdom, that’s why.
During the war, Canada was active in defending the shipping lanes in the North Atlantic and the Canadian Merchant Navy completed over 25,000 voyages across the Atlantic. And who benefited from this valiant effort? Almost exclusively the Brits, that’s who.
And yet, when one reads most of the military history written by Englishmen or watches their war movies or television documentaries one would think Canada was a minor cog in mighty Britain’s war machine. The truth is that without Canada, the most likely scenario is that the English would now be celebrating Oktoberfest as their national holiday and binging on German beer on weekends.
But the hubris of the English is unsurpassed, even though it lacks any recent national achievement as a basis for it.
That binge-drinking capital of football hooliganism’s muck raking press has had little that is good to say about one of our proudest moments in recent history, the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Well before the Games even opened, Britain’s Guardian newspaper was busy slagging what it dubbed the “gloomy Games” under the headline: “Vancouver’s Olympics head for disaster.”
A headline in the UK’s Daily Mail said of the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed in a crash during a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre, that “Canada’s lust for glory is to blame for this senseless tragedy.” Yellow journalism at its nasty best.
Simon Barnes of the British Times, wrote recently: “Their highly unpleasant Own the Podium program … has alienated the world they are supposed to play host to.” Well, this is will probably come as a surprise to Mr. Barnes, but England is not the world. And we’ll see in 2012, won’t we, the sort of hosts the English are when they host the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Based on how English fans carry on at international football matches, I won’t be expecting too much in that department. Weren’t they banned from attending matches in Europe?
One article in the UK’s Telegraph states patronizingly that: “Canada has been trying so hard to please, it hurts.” If it hurts so much, don’t stay on our account. But don’t bother to call the next time someone starts dropping bombs on London.
The British press is not alone in criticizing our Games, of course, but it above the rest seems most rancid in its criticism.
When I visited Britain at the turn of this century and again in 2005, I faced several pathetic attempts at humour when several Englishmen asked about “the colonies” when referring to Canada. What a bitchy dross they are of a once-proud empire.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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