A copy of this 2002 article from the Sunday Telegraph written by Kevin Myers popped up in my inbox this morning thanks to Beth. It turned up under the heading of ‘Proud to be Canadian’, and ‘Salute to a Brave and Modest Nation’, with a comment about it being ironic that a Brit wrote the article.
Typically, it isn’t actually a Brit who wrote the article, so it can’t be used as evidence that the British are improving in that respect. Kevin Myers, a regular columnist for The Sunday Telegraph until 2005, although English born was the son of an Irish GP who had emigrated to the UK to work. He now lives back across the Irish sea and works over there. One of the things he is known for is promoting awareness of is the role of the Irish within the British Armed Forces, particularly in World War I. Interestingly, this article does much the same for Canada, another country whose contribution often gets forgotten.
The article was written back in 2002, at a time of growing anger in Canada after four Canadian soldiers had been killed in a ‘friendly fire’ incident when a US F-16 dropped a 227kg bomb on the men. Almost two years later the pilot involved was eventually punished, but only after the initial charges were lessened to dereliction of duty. It has echoes of the ongoing controversy over the death of Lance Corporal Matty Hull, a killing eventually ruled unlawful by a British coroner, after an inquest marked by a lack of co-operation by the US and British authorities in providing evidence and witnesses. The US rejected the ruling.
The article highlights the contribution made by Canada to both World War’s, including the 15,000 who went ashore at D-Day, and whose contribution the BBC commentators during the recent anniversary commemoration totally ignored. It also highlights that the same is true in the entertainment world, where many well known ‘American’s’ are in fact Canadian:
So it is a general rule that actors and film-makers arriving in Hollywood keep their nationality – unless, that is, they are Canadian. Thus Mary Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J Fox, William Shatner, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg and Dan Aykroyd have in the popular perception become American, and Christopher Plummer British. It is as if in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakeably Canadian as a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find any takers.
The original article, The Country the World Forgot – Again, can be found on the Telegraph web site, well worth a look to understand the largely forgotten contribution that Canada makes to the world. (Oh and whilst on the subject of contributions, check out which other national broadcaster is credited as co-producer on the new Doctor Who…)