The host, through a clever slight of hand, framed the question in a manner that pigeon holed the parameters of the discussion. The question, as formulated by the host, was actually whether or not the national anthem "inspired the players". Yet, no matter how slipperily the question was framed, the fact that the radio station was even having such a ridiculous discussion is symptomatic of a much larger problem: The lack of cultural identity.
Ask any bloke on the street what it means to him or her to be Canadian, and they will frequently spew forth a litany of ready-to-order items off a check list, most of them declarations about how they are not like Americans. The common version of our watered down notions of national pride boils down to silly tub thumping about how we don't let sick people die because they're poor, or how we don't all carry guns, and of course, the ever annoying lament about how we don't start "useless wars". You know you're in deep trouble when you define your national identity in the negative. Who you are should not be explained in terms of who you are not. If someone where to ask me, "Who are you, Joe, as a person?", and I were to respond, "Well, I'm not a pedophile, and I certainly don't torture animals", it may make you feel safe about Spud and little Johnny, but it speaks very little to what I'm all about. And therein lies in the rub.
In the 1960's we were beginning to engrain in the national psyche what it meant to be Canadian: Honour in combat, the railway that was the bridge that connected this country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, our natural resources, and our pioneering ancestors. But there was a counter movement eager to crush this burgeoning sense of national heritage. It was the progressives that held that patriotism was a dirty word, and insisted we were all hand-holding members of the kumbaya cult of pan-ethnicity. Their leader? The white-on-white wearing progressive hipster Pierre Elliot Trudeau. If America was the melting pot where people of diverse cultures and heritage stood proudly under the banner of a united culture that welcomed inclusion, Canada was to become a bizarre soup in an another type of pot, where the burner was never turned on and it's colourful ingredients were left to sit in stagnant cold water.
Multi-culteralism - the abra-cadabra all encompassing, non-threatening name that was to be the banner under which the most misguided experiments of social engineering was launched. Multi-culteralism frowned at any patriotism of the whole, and encouraged a strange ethnocentric loyality to your nation of origin. The result almost a quarter of a century later are ethnic ghettos where poverty runs rampant in large cities, and entire swaths of the population that do not posess adequate proficiency in english to compete in the job market.
The true Orwellian nightmare of multi-culturism in all its glory is a neferious little group of jackbooted bureaucrats called the Canadian Human Rights Commision. Anyone who doesn't like a magazine article, or feels excluded for whatever reason from some facet of society, can drag magazine editors, writers, artists, priests and even night club owners in front of the commision. Currently, Canadian writer Mark Steyn has been ordered to appear before the council after a complaint was launched by the Canadian Islamic Council over an article that he wrote in Mclean's magazine that warned of the growing threat of radical segments of Islam preaching hatred and intolerence from certain Mosques. They didn't like it. So in the spirit of free speech for all, they intend to haul Mr. Steyn before the tribunal, which may lead to his brilliant cautionary book "America Alone" being banned in Canada. The tribunal has never acquited someone brought before the commitee.
Woodrow Wilson, the first American President to try - but thankfully ultimately fail - to turn America into a Canadian-style welfare state, was a bit more heavy handed. He routinely shut down newspapers, and even had his own personal goon squad at his beck and call to intimidate those who spoke out against the government. Now Canadian citizens are being forced to endure the same type of bullying, albeit under the guise of a "Human Rights Commision".
It's all a bit disheartening that we've reached a point where we are actually debating whether or not we should still sing the national anthem at sporting events. Perhaps soon, such things will be but a memory if the jackbooted goons at the Canadian Rights Tribunal have their way.