Last year I went to a San Jose Sharks versus Montreal Canadiens hockey game. I wore a teal blue jacket and a baseball cap with “Canada” written on it. I joked about painting one side of my face red and white and the other side teal and black.
I have multiple loyalties. Because of that, I don’t really “get” patriotism. Oh, I understand defending oneself against enemies. That’s pretty straightforward. But national flag-waving as a general practice is a bit of a mystery to me.
Canada is thinking about enacting a law that any dual citizen who commits acts of terrorism abroad should lose their Canadian citizenship. The immigration minister has said, “Canadian citizenship is predicated on loyalty to this country and I cannot think of a more obvious act of renouncing one’s sense of loyalty than going and committing acts of terror.”
While I understand the intent, I think there’s a logical flaw in that statement. If the acts of terror are against Canada, then I would agree, but otherwise I don’t, unless simply being a terrorist is un-Canadian. That would make more sense.
The thing that struck me about this, though, aside from the logical problem, was the issue of loyalty. To which country am I loyal, and does my loyalty to my country supersede my loyalty to my family? I am a dual citizen of the UK and Canada, and I am currently applying for a “green card” visa to enable me to live in the US. So, to which country am expected to be loyal? The answer for me is either none of them or all of them.
I have family in all three countries and my loyalty is to them. If those countries were ever to go to war against one another, I could not possibly pick sides. I’d have to go and live in a cave somewhere until it was all over.
Several years ago, when my parents were visiting me in Calgary, my dad was taken aback by dozens of maple leaf flags that were outside a Petro-Canada gas station. He asked what they were there for. When I explained that they were simply decoration, he harrumphed and muttered “Flags cause wars.” I sometimes think he was right.