Vlad Putin is a big stinking meany head. He’s a big bully and we don’t want to hang out with him.
Such is the rhetoric coming out of Ottawa these days. If you weren’t yet convinced of just how crass our politicians can be, the National Post now believes that Russian officials won’t be invited to Canada’s 147th birthday party tomorrow.
Every year on July 1st, Canadian embassies across the globe host festive gatherings to celebrate the day that Canada officially moved from Colony to kind-of Vassal. These are apparently pretty good parties (just imagine the shenanigans you would get up to if you had diplomatic immunity!), but not everyone is invited.
Certain people are barred from Canada’s embassies, missions, and consulates. For example, members of the governments of North Korea, Fiji, Belarus, Iran, Syria, Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau and other unelected dictatorships are not welcome. Taiwan is just banned so that we can still trade with China (likely at China’s request), and anyone in Sudan with outstanding warrants from the International Criminal Court aren’t invited earlier (which we think should be a general requirement, but whatever).
What’s truly ridiculous is that we for some reason believe that this will have some impact. Just picture Kim Jong-Un crying late into the night after being informed he hasn’t been invited to Canada Day celebrations. It’s a little bit hard to imagine, because no authoritarian dictator is going to upend their own country’s political system so that they can get into Canada’s birthday party. Note that this has nothing to do with Canada’s status in the world; one wouldn’t do it to get into America’s birthday either.
It’s because birthday parties are fundamentally unimportant in the grand scheme of international relations, and matter only for the person whose birthday it is. When Timmy turns 6, it doesn’t really matter what his friends thought of the clown, what’s important is whether his family became closer as a result. Now it might matter who DOES show up to the birthday, because that can tell you a little about who their allies are. It certainly doesn’t matter too much who never gets an invite.
We celebrated Expo 67 not to impress the world, but to celebrate what it means to be Canadian. Our storied history, our diversity, and our institutions. There are plenty of organizations looking forward to Canada’s 150th in 2017 (like one of our partners, ImagiNation150), who want a Canadian celebration for Canadians. This year, our 147th shouldn’t be any different.
If you know a member of the Russian government, give them a call and invite them over to your backyard for a barbecue tomorrow. And show them what it means to be Canadian (Molson, probably).