“A Mari usque ad Mare”
Though most of us don’t know Latin, most Canadians know our national motto “from sea to sea.” The motto that began its official use in 1921, when it became the motto for a new design of the Canadian coat of arms.
Well now, a short blurb in some of our national news media tells us one of the new kids on the parliamentary block, rookie MP Dennis Bevington, Western Arctic is introducing a private members bill to have it changed to: “from sea to sea to sea.”
The move requires Her Majesty’s approval.
Naturally the three northern premiers support the move, as does former Queen Adrienne, some prominent aboriginal leaders, Jack-Be-Nimble-Layton, and the Canadian Polar Commission, headquartered where else, but in Ottawa, whose executive director reminded people what we’ve been saying and speaking to other Canadians about for decades: “We are a polar nation,” he reminded them.
“We need to start believing and acting as the true northern nation we profess to be. There is no doubt in my mind that a good first step would be to make our unofficial motto, ‘from sea to sea to sea’ official.”
Our new PM is aware too… well his office is, because the press release told us: “A spokeswoman in the prime minister’s office said the governing Conservatives are still examining the proposal.”
If protocol and bureaucratic officials would let us cut to the chase with a flight of fancy, I could imagine our new straight talking PM penning a short personal note to Her Majesty:
“Dear Liz: We want to add five more letters — “to sea,”, to our national motto. What do you say? Sincerely, Steve.”
“PS 85 per cent of Canadians live in cities hugging the Canada US border, and they look south, not north, but those who live in the 40 per cent of our land mass above the 60th parallel need a pat on the head sometimes. This might do it.”
It’s a backburner issue, a way back, but 37 Canadians, one Japanese, and one American e-mailed the Globe and Mail with reactions to the article about Bevington’s two-little-word gambit
The Japanese fellow, Hyogo Kobeshi, wrote: “This is politics at its best. A lot of talk, nothing accomplished in the end. Good political move by rookie to get noticed, but changing the national motto isn’t going to ‘change’ a damn thing for people living in the Arctic.”
Shawn Bull, Canada: “How about, ‘Canada, the country that revolves around Toronto.’”
Mark Herter, an American: “How about ‘Canada, America’s Hat?’”
Mr. Fijne, Calgary: “Who said Canada is not culturally ahead of the Empire? We now have ‘to sea or not to sea, that is the question?’”
K. Anderson gets the red ribbon for the currency of her question: “Due to the fact that the Beaufort Sea has ice for a large part of the year do we need the blessing of Sir Paul and Heather?”
With all this national attention focusing on the North didn’t you, for a brief moment have a warm fuzzy feeling flow over you?
Have you noticed the national news media, have taken to capitalizing the word North?
Well, they did in this press release — in deference to us perhaps while they chatter on about what they deem vital matters.
Their recent concerns, for example, about Prime Minister Harper’s girth, the cut of his jacket, and them being kicked downstairs from their upstairs perch in the halls of power.
I’m four square for the “for” side; and I also have a two-year-old great granddaughter who’ll not likely see this motto emblazoned on anything official till she has grandchildren of her own because, if you think you’ve encountered slow and ponderous in your bureaucratic encounters, wait until you meet heraldic bureaucracy.
Nope, we’re destined to remain the Great White North where gold, diamonds, and other goodies the big boys want, are found from time to time, but live up there permanently, where brass monkeys are afraid to; lord t’underin’ man are you mad?
But, hey, that works for me. How about you?
A tip of the hat to celebrities who mind their own business.
To those who don’t, such as the current cadre of caustic criers: Bardot, Anderson, McCartney and his wife, may I recommend a visit to another fascinating part of Canada, the Thousand Islands. You could spend a year on each one. Oh, and take Bono along, he’d like it too I’ll bet.