GEORGE BROWN/Off the Record
Is this a great country — or what?
If you ever wondered, or feared perhaps, what a majority Conservative government would do once it got its clutches on Canada, worry no more.
Just days after throwing his principles out the window and legislating an end to the postal dispute, Prime Minister Stephen Harper did what he was unable to do while leading a minority government — he moved Canada Day to a Friday, giving us a bona fide long weekend.
It’s not one of those made in Canada long weekends that sees marriages end in divorce because July 1 is a Thursday and only one parent has the Friday off, so dad has to try to set up the tent in the rain with three kids and a wet skunk to contend with, waiting for Mom to get off work and grab the gear and repellent that was left on the curb.
No, this one starts on a Friday. If you work for an American company, maybe you’re lucky enough to enjoy four days off with their Independence Day falling on Monday.
If you live in Ponoka, you’ve already had a taste of the holidays with the arrival of cowboys and fans in their opulent motorhomes. The Canada Day weekend lasts seven days in these parts; the 75th Ponoka Stampede wrapping around the national holiday. At the Stampede we’ll honour our troops with the Wrangler Patriot Day observance July 1 to open the rodeo at 1 p.m. Proceeds from the sale of red shirts and hats will support the Legion’s Veteran’s Comfort Fund. Enjoy the Mounties in red serge, a cold beer (insist on a Canadian beer), rodeo cowboys and Alberta beef; it doesn’t get any better, anywhere.
Downtown, the festivities at Hamilton’s IGA, which run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., include bouncy castles and slides, hot dogs and hamburgers, cake, ice cream and entertainment.
Ponoka town councillors will serve ice cream. I know there’s a joke in there somewhere…
Klaglahachie Square, at the United Church, will celebrate Canada Day with a bang.
Visitors can take part in a carnival, street dance, bouncy castles, family games and old-timey photos between 4 and 10 p.m.
Enjoy this extra-long weekend. Do whatever makes you feel Canadian.