Wednesday, July 2, 2008

REJECTED by Cobourg Daily Star, March 25/08

Multiculturalism – what is it good for?

It is good for honouring the world’s great literatures.

I have visited several European cities with streets, blocks, parks, subway stations named after their cultural icons; here and there is a statue of an author or composer. These are cultural touchstones that bond a people.

Through immigration, Canada has been enriched with these cultural touchstones.

In British Columbia the Doukhabors erected a statue of Leo Tolstoy. In an Oakville park is a statue to Ukrainian national poet, Taras Shevchenko. Toronto’s High Park has a statue of Ukrainian poet, Lesya Ukrainka, and Allan Gardens has Robbie Burns. Stratford has a statue of Shakespeare, Niagara-On-the-Lake has a statue of George Bernard Shaw and Fredericton has Longfellow.

Canada is likely the only country in the world that exclusively honours foreign authors and poets, while simultaneously ignoring its own. Canadians are so enamoured by multiculturalism that they prefer more than 9 to 1 the movies of foreigners, rather than their own.

Where are all the local cultural geniuses in Cobourg who would lobby for the new patch of green downtown to be named after Susanna Moodie? Dump the frink, and commission a local sculptor to make a statue of Susanna Moodie.

(If anyone reading this does not know more than 25 words about Susanna Moodie’s significance, then I suggest a good guzzle of Google.)

Enough is enough already with the occupation of Canada with foreign culture. But don’t expect the merry Band of Bland squatting on town council to take a stand in favour of Canadian culture. A crime-a-dozen fountain with no cultural identity is the best those old white men are capable of imagining, really, the best.

(Interesting that it is more acceptable to refer to the Cobourg Council being run by “old white men”, than to refer to the Cobourg Daily Star being run by “old white women”. Hmmm.)

The dictate has been done. The frink prevails. Far better to have this largesse available for the best proposal of imagination. Why weren’t the cultural illuminati, individual by individual, sending a 5-10 page brief of a proposal to council; especially a proposal which would utilize the author’s own talents? Talent needs a good ego to push it out there -- modesty is antithetical to imagination. An ad hoc committee could have selected 3, 4 or 5 ideas and float them to the general public for a referendum. This is called community involvement of a positive nature.

It would appear that Cobourg suffers from a massive emigration of the imagination; the flight of fancy down the 401. Now I know why I'm here.

-- Wally Keeler

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