Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands with the crowd, celebrating Canada Day on Parliament Hill Sunday July 1, 2012 in Ottawa. Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press
Heads up, Prime Minister Stephen Harper: While Canadians — or, at least, respondents to a CBC.ca survey — seem keen to climb aboard the 150th anniversary bandwagon heading to 2017, they want the festivities to include more than just long-dead politicians and key dates in Canada's military history.
According to to our online survey (which, please note, is not scientific poll), a quarter of respondents chose "Confederation and the events of 1967" as the theme they most wanted to see as part of 2017 celebrations, while more than one-fifth or respondents cast their vote for the 1982 repatriation of the constitution and the Charter of Rights.
Those two leading choices were followed closely by First Nations history (17 per cent) and immigration and multiculturalism (15 per cent).
Rounding out the top 5, ahead of "Canada's wartime contributions" (8 per cent), was "Other," at 12 per cent.
Under that category, we received more than 900 specific ideas. Among the most popular submissions:
- Canada's future.
- Medicare or universal health care.
- And, on a decidedly political note, variations on "a new government."
Perhaps predictably, however, the most popular independent response was the classically Canadian "all of the above," followed by "nothing."
Meanwhile, it would seem the country's collective lack of enthusiasm for politicians extends even to those long since passed on to that great House of Commons in the sky.
Sorry, Sir John A, Sir Wilfrid L. et al: just 1.16 per cent of participants chose "past political leaders" as the element they would most like to see celebrated in Canada 150 festivities.
Pride and 'failings'
Some respondents chose to expand on their thoughts in the comments.
Philip Lucas:A celebration should include the things Canadians are proud of, our diversity, tolerance and liberty, acknowledge our contributions to the world in science, peace keeping, human rights, and step through a collage of milestones in the life of Canada.
We also need to stand up and show we have failings and are are sorry for other historical actions like internment, treatment of aboriginals, immigrant workers, and highlight things we want to do better at and accomplish in the next 50 years.
Most of all it should be about acceptance by all Canadians for our progress through the last 150 years, our security, education and health and our knowledge that the needs of the many out way the needs of the one.
Hanne Gidora:Canada has produced some great artists and scientists. The discovery of insulin alone has saved millions of lives.
In my opinion, saving lives is a much greater achievement than killing people in wars. I would like to see our peacetime achievements celebrated at least as much as our war efforts.
BC:Expo 67 in the context of our first centenary was so stunning and visionary that I would hope for something similar- i.e. celebratory of our achievements but very forward looking too with an international audience. I was just 18 then; would love to have something equally inspiring for 18 year olds today.
And history is one dimension but a more inclusive history perhaps highlighting old things with our new eyes.
Many of us do family history- what did our pioneer forebears hope for?
What did we do in relation to that dream?
Are there any sesquicentennial houses? I remember my grandmother s house was out from a 100 plaque by 2 years.
Where has Habitat for Humanity come in 50 years? Follow up and Forward would be my theme
Albert: I feel we should start at the beginning with the explorers, the aboriginals and then cover confederation, move through both world wars, our constitutional debates, Quebec threats of separation, then get into our immigration from places other than Europe and our diversity.
There were many important things that happened in the first 100 years that should not be forgotten or overshadowed by recent events.
Dan D: What about the founding of Medicare? We voted Tommy Douglas the greatest Canadian, I think the starting of our cherished universal health care system is a part of our history worth celebrating...and exactly the kind of thing Harper's lot want to skip.
Not everyone, it seems, is sold on the notion that Canada's sesquicentennial should be celebrated at all.
"This government is constantly calling for austerity and financial restraint," Roddie MacKinnon noted.
"I think that this should be where the government shows restraint by not having any extravagant celebrations pertaining to this anniversary."
Another respondent was more succinct.
"Nothing that costs money."