Oshawa, you big, adorable, patriotic lug, your heart really is in the right place. But seriously, calm down or you’re going to pull something.
You’d think that complaining shoppers at the Five Points Mall—all one of them, or possibly two, as the Star reported this morning—had walked in on a ritual flag burning, or some Halloween-themed act of brazen, dastardly sedition. The thing is, they didn’t. What shoppers saw over the customer service counter at the Five Points Zellers was the Canadian flag, reportedly a year-long fixture in that part of the store, festooned with seasonally appropriate cobwebs and cackling animatronic witches. As shopper Sharon Helferty told the Star, “I just think the Canadian flag should be flown proudly and it doesn’t need to have all that garbage thrown on top of it.”
Sure, maybe it’s the paragon of holiday commercialism at its tackiest, but what are you trying to say, Oshawa? That zombies and mummies don’t have the same right to celebrate this grand old confederation as the living? Or is it that our national symbol’s positioning as a gimmick violates some deeply held Canadian standard of class? While Canadian Heritage recommends that it “should be displayed only in a manner befitting this important national symbol,” you don’t typically hear about people being ostracized at Canada Day parties for wearing the flag like a sarong, or for having the ungrateful, no-sir-I-prefer-to-completely-forget-Dieppe gall to plant their asses smack in the middle of the beloved Maple Leaf.
But to be fair, Oshawa is a sane town, and those who would come at a department store display with a baseball bat and a holier-than-thou incantation of O Canada—if left to their own devices—represent the minority. And to those few, those jingoistic few, we suggest a deep breath, a little perspective, and maybe a long, refreshing pull from a bottle of something splashed with the national symbol itself.