National mission statement

Everyone should read Andrew Coyne’s column today, it’s probably his best one in a while. In it, Coyne uncovers an important thread in the Prime Minister’s speech this past weekend to our troops in Afghanistan.

Implicit in Mr. Harper’s address is a very different sort of nationalism: a nationalism of moral purpose. Canada exists to do good, for its own people and for the world. It is defined by its beliefs and measured by its acts, not by the virtues of its people, real or imagined.

Coyne describes the fallacies of the Canadian bed-time story that our leaders (mostly Liberal “nationalist mythmakers”) have told us over the years:

A new world nation such as ours, a nation of immigrants, settled in the recent past, is never going to be defined by ties of blood or culture. That is, it cannot define itself in terms of its identity: the features common to all of its people and unique to them, that mark them apart from other peoples. And yet that is what our nationalists attempted. Stepping into the post-imperial void, they created us in their own self-image, as inveterate statists, diffident, polite, and above all not-American.

Will we see some new Historica minutes?

UPDATE: Comparing Coyne’s column to this bitter diatribe only reinforces my confidence that Harper represents the position of sanity in this debate (upon which the media has insisted in the absense of a retrospective Parliamentary debate on deployment).