To all my compatriots at home and abroad, a happy 150th birthday! At noon on this day in 1867, the British North America Act came into effect and the Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Canada - that's Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec) - were united into the new Dominion of Canada under a constitutional document that has since been applied, all but unaltered, to newborn nations in almost every corner of the globe.
Something to celebrate, you'd think. But, for any Canadians old enough to remember the glorious centennial year of 1967, this is a much more muted anniversary, for reasons Mindy Alter and Barbara Kay both touch on. In American terms, it's as if the government decided to take the Fourth of July and turn it into something as tortured and self-loathing as Columbus Day in a typical Democrat city. In the broader sense, the difference between Dominion Day 1967 and now reflects no more than the consequences of two generations of the west's contempt for its own inheritance. If the music at the Vimy centenary is anything to go by, I tremble to contemplate what today's official Parliament Hill observances mightl bring.
Nevertheless, we're still here, just about, and that is something to celebrate, as they did in 1867. On Canada's inaugural day a century and a half ago, Toronto children waved miniature Union Jacks as an ox was roasted outside St Lawrence Hall. Conversely, on the waterfront in Halifax an effigy of Premier Charles Tupper was burned with a live wharf rat as the Chronicle bemoaned the death of "the free and enlightened Province of Novia Scotia" and its submersion within a deranged Dominion.
Meanwhile, in the new capital of a new polity, the Civil Service Rifles fired off a "feu de joie", but neglected to remove their ramrods first. So a volley of ramrods took off from Parliament Hill, sailed across Wellington Street and came down among startled pedestrians in Sparks Street - which is the sort of loopy stunt that these days you'd need one of the more incompetent jihadists to pull off. Other than that, things mostly went smoothly: Viscount Monck was sworn in as Canada's first Governor General, and he in turn swore in John A Macdonald as Canada's first Prime Minister. Queen Victoria conferred a knighthood upon her inaugural Canadian head of government, and the Order of the Bath on much of his ministry.
One hundred and fifty Dominion Days on, Lord Monck's successor is abasing himself before Tweeting natives, Sir John A's successor is wearing Happy Eid socks in the LGBTQWERTY parade, Queen Victoria's heir is giving a speech on global warming to eskimos, and, instead of those rowdy Novia Scotians lighting up Charles Tupper's effigy on a rotting wharf, an Arabic-cursing body-bagged crone from Syria is taking the machete to suburban shoppers in a Canadian Tire store. Progress!
I'm not sure even the doughtiest Dominion could handle that much progress. Will my beloved country still be here in another 150 years? Or will we be merely a frosty vilayet in the new Caliphate? Oh, well. Must look on the bright side. In this run-up to the big day, we've been celebrating Canadian songs that might not strike the world as such, from English movies, American hit parades, New York drive-ins, Brazilian bossa novas, tales of 9/11 heroism, and Filipino karaoke favourites: Whether or not "the world needs more Canada", it's been blessed by a fair bit.
If you fancy a break from Their Royal Highnesses, Their Excellencies and the Rt Hon 12-year-old Prime Minister on Parliament Hill, I'll be here in a few hours with the final entry in our Maple Songbook. And, if you're in the mood for a Canada Day routine with a difference, here's yours truly doing my crackerjack Mackenzie Bowell shtick live in Ottawa earlier this year:
PS If you're a Mark Steyn Club member from anywhere across the deranged Dominion, on this happy and glorious day do feel free to put out the sesquicentennial bunting in our comments section below. (For more on The Mark Steyn Club, see here.)