Secularism is not the new religion.

An interesting opinion piece by a seasoned Toronto Star reporter the other day posited that Quebec views on diversity differ from the rest of Canada. Frankly I think that is B.S. That seems to be the story the rest of Canada uses to excuse the Catholic bigotry that is gradually fading in Quebec. And luckily, it is fading in the same way as the Loyal Orange Lodge has lost standing in Ontario and across Canada.

Yes, I am old enough to remember King Billy parading on Toronto streets in his finery on a sway-backed milk-wagon horse. The scattered onlookers in what used to be Orange Toronto never could match the Santa Claus parade for numbers.

But while the degree of influence the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society holds over Quebec’s Fête Nationale every June 24 might have waned in the major population centres, it still influences the small-town politicians.

It is similar to the influence of the Ontario Landowners Association that cuts a conservative swath through that province’s farm-dominated ridings from Ottawa to Windsor. They are a throwback to an era long gone where the person who hewed arable land out of the forest and scrub could hold domain over it.

But do not forget the Bible Hour of Bill Aberhart, the Baptist who founded Social Credit and brought Alberta through the Great Depression. And do not forget it was Earnest Manning who carried on for Aberhart and promoted the strict Calvanism that permeates Alberta rural politics to this day. It is also why it is hard to imagine a Judas schemer such as Jason Kenney causing a serious challenge to Alberta’s Rachel Notley for the job of premier.

When you look at Canada in its diversities, geographies, influences and beliefs, many throw up their hands and say this is an impossible country to govern. And yet it remains a country of many successes. It has shown itself strong in war and strong in peacekeeping. It exists between two more powerful nations to the north and south and works to maintain civility with both.

Canada is a beacon to the world. We should keep it shining bright and clear for all to see.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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