Not everyone agrees with Happy Louis Riel Day 2011 across Canada, but …

Feb 21st, 2011 | By | Category: Heritage Now

Today – the third Monday in February – is President’s Day (aka Washington’s Birthday) in the USA, Family Day in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, Islanders’ Day in Prince Edward Island, and Louis Riel Day in Manitoba. (And the BC Federation of Labour has recently renewed “its call to create a statutory holiday in February for the province, as many other Canadians are enjoying their own three-day weekends.”)

In the past counterweights has argued that the holiday “should be Louis Riel Day in Ontario too.” And last year the counterweights editors posted “Happy Louis Riel Day 2010 .. that’s what it should be called everywhere in Canada, coast to coast to coast.” This argued that “the third Monday in February should be a statutory holiday in all Canadian provinces and territories – known as Louis Riel Day everywhere, to honour the historic Métis leader who did so much to pioneer Canadian diversity today (and who suffered too much for his trouble in his own time).”

However … at a recent impromptu meeting held to confirm a 2011 reprise of last year’s call, it was suddenly discovered that not exactly all counterweights editors agree with the Canada-wide Louis Riel Day concept. (The dissenting voice, it turns out, missed the 2010 confirmation meeting as a result of a massage/hairdresser’s appointment – take your pick.) So I have been asked to jot down some hasty thoughts for this year, on behalf of those who continue to endorse the concept.

To be altogether fair and democratic, I should preface my remarks by noting as well  that the 2011 dissenting voice appears to have two main objections. The first is that Louis Riel is an essentially regional rather than a national historical figure. I.e., it’s okay to have Louis Riel Day in Manitoba (or Saskatchewan for that matter), but not Ontario, etc. The second urges that if you absolutely can’t stand Family Day, the way to go is to stress other regional characteristics, as in Islanders’ Day for PEI. But in fact The Family (however you may define it) is actually a good thing to celebrate in the middle of a Canadian winter (or so the argument goes).

My own hasty thoughts for this year, on behalf of those who continue to endorse the Louis Riel Day concept across our diverse nation (and especially including the Québécois who are a nation within a united Canada, etc) are very brief. First, Louis Riel is in fact very much a national rather than a regional figure in Canada today – on all conceivable meanings of “nation” or “peuple” or whatever; and the concept of naming a holiday after The Family (etc) is lame at best. Second, the two previous counterweights posts on this subject make the case for a Louis Riel national holiday across Canada brilliantly. (And in case you’ve forgotten HERE is the original “Louis Riel Day in Ontario too.” And HERE is “Happy Louis Riel Day 2010.”)

Oh … and I have also been asked to quickly note that the new links editor (or intern) has finally updated the Links section, accessed via the bar at the top of the page. (Or CLICK HERE if reaching up to the top of the page seems too much like work on a holiday, and you happen to live in any of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, or PEI – or the USA). The updated Links section now includes recommended sites on hip historians (who aptly argue that “Canadian history is best understood by placing globalization at the centre … Canada was born globalized. Early modern globalization is why it exists”), the Canadian republic of our dreams,  20-something blonde country girls in the big city, and the truth about the global financial panic of 2008 … and beyond.

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