People often argue that Canada has become a post-Christian nation. They are correct! On October 27, 1982 the Parliament of Canada officially changed the name of the annual July 1st celebration of ‘Dominion Day’ to ‘Canada Day’. It was the end of an era.
In 1533, Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Montréal. To commemorate the founding of Montréal, Cartier wrote in his diary “…we all kneeled down in the company of the Indians and with our hands raised toward heaven yielded our thanks to God.” Montreal today is one of the most unchurched cities in the Western world. However, a drive through any part of town reveals that that was not always the case. There are church buildings on literally every street corner. Many of them are enormous with seating for over 1000 worshippers. Today these now almost empty churches are being sold to make way for condominiums or being converted into nightclubs. Clearly a sign of the times.
September 1, 1864 is one of the more important dates in Canada’s Christian history. For that was the day that the 33 fathers of confederation gathered in Charlottetown to discuss and draft the terms of the British North American Act. There were many suggestions on what to call this new “United Canada.”
That morning, Sir Leonard Tilley the premier of New Brunswick read from Psalm 72:8, “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” He became so convinced that Canada should be a nation under God, that when he came down to the Conference session, he presented the inspired “Dominion of Canada.” The other Fathers readily agreed and accepted. Canada’s official motto is a shortened version, “He shall have dominion from sea to sea.” Our coat of arms, adopted in 1921, stands upon the Latin phrase “A Mari Usque Ad Mare,” which when translated means “from sea to sea”.
Today Canada is a secular nation. Believers casually say in resignation, ‘well everybody knows you cannot legislate morality’. That is complete rubbish. Morality is legislated everyday. The bigger question is; whose morality? More cunning men than us have known this for ages and have intentionally led us astray from our Christian roots.
Pierre Trudeau was unquestionably one of Canada’s most memorable Prime Ministers. I myself have never been a fan of Trudeau but for different reasons than most. He brought to the political scene a whole new set of values that flew in the face of our Christian heritage. Trudeau studied at the London School of Economics under the famed socialist economist Harold Laski. Truudeau was profoundly influenced by his mentor who espoused the strategy of advancing socialism via the ballot box, which he argued was a much better road to power in established democracies than revolutionary Marxism.
The strategy is summed up by Laski as being “permeation [by socialists] of existing political parties rather than the creation of a separate political party.” The need to remove God and his Law from the political and judicial arena was paramount for the success of this strategy. Trudeau’s greatest political achievement was the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms adopted by Parliament in 1981. At first blush patriating the constitution seemed so noble. However, every single law on the books was now held up to a different standard. We literally started from scratch on a God-free, bible-free moral basis. Essentially the Charter threw out 400 years of Common Law rooted in an established Judeo-Christian tradition. Legalized abortion and same-sex marriage are just two examples of where the new road has led us.
In 1982, barely one year into our new reality, ‘Dominion Day’ was thrown on the trash heap in exchange for the unthreatening, if not innocuous ‘Canada day’. Canada had become a pluralist society where all religions (or none) have equal value. This is not to say God cannot work in the midst of this. If anything the days ahead will be our finest hour. On an equal (or unequal) playing field Christianity will always rise to the top. Either way my Canada is still the ‘Dominion’ of Canada, and He shall have dominion from sea to sea.
Happy Dominion Day everybody!