True North Strong and Free, but only until the man upstairs decides otherwise - Macleans.ca

True North Strong and Free, but only until the man upstairs decides otherwise

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I was feeling pretty good there for a moment while watching Stephen Harper’s Canada Day greeting.

There he was, our Prime Minister, praising “the wisdom of our ancestors who built this great land,” which is nice, and giving “thanks to those brave Canadians who risk their lives to defend us,” which is also nice. Plus, Harper did the video at his residence at Harrington Lake, which allowed us to watch the water for signs of an innertubing Mike Duffy.

To recap then: Ancestors? Build this land. Troops? Defended it. As for the current crop of Canadians, we are apparently “strong and resilient” and “committed to common values.” A little generic, but fine. We’ll take it. Beats being called “weak-willed and majorly fruity.”

But then a curious thing happened – Harper concluded his brief remarks not with a tried and true farewell, like “Long live Canada” or “Seacrest out,” but instead by stating: “May God continue to keep our land glorious and free.”

Whoawhoawhoa. Whoa. I thought our ancestors made us glorious and free. I thought our troops defended our glory and our freedom. But no, turns out our glory and freedom are all the work of an omnipotent deity who squeezes us in between determining the outcome of professional sporting events and hearing the prayers of potentially pregnant teenagers.

Now I wish Harper’s speech had gotten more into the details. How exactly does God keep us free? Does He put up some invisible “God shield” that keeps out terrorists? Does He conduct a semi-annual smiting of aspiring despots? Is it He who each winter keeps back from our cities the packs of ravaging yeti?

And what does God do to “continue to keep our land glorious?” Is that Him creating the northern lights and Elisha Cuthbert’s cleavage?

I’m sure we’ll get the answers to these and other important questions at some point other than during the next election campaign, when Harper will by complete coincidence stop mentioning God.

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