Friday, August 24, 2007

Highway Of Cheese

It's official:
The stretch of Highway 401 running from Trenton, Ont., to Toronto will be officially renamed the Highway of Heroes in remembrance of Canada's fallen soldiers.

Ontario's provincial government consulted the federal government, municipalities along the highway and the Royal Canadian Legion about the name change on Friday.

The highway will not lose its official designation at the MacDonald-Cartier Freeway, but signs will be erected designating the route as the Highway of Heroes.

The design of the signs has yet to be determined.

Expressions of support are breaking out everywhere, but pardon my cynicism, this idea reeks of cheesy nationalism and political opportunism. Just watch, as other jurisdictions try to out-patriot the lastest move, in a way that is frankly so American.

Everyone supports the troops, I haven't heard of any commentary that attacks or defames the military directly. If you want to express support, write a letter to the troops in Afghanistan, attend a rally, raise money for a memorial, put the flag at half mask, etc. How the renaming of a highway is relevant escapes me, as a matter of fact it seems hollow. What's next, everytime the terrible news comes home, we decide to shut the highway down for an hour, as a sign of respect? Will the uber-patriots litter the sides of the highways with ribbons and other expressions of support? It's a highway, it has no symbolism, other than the fact people have to drive it to get an autopsy. It's a highway, it's just a road. Sorry if I offend.


Ed said...

Wow. Heroes was a pretty good show, but naming a highway after it is a bit silly.

northwestern_lad said...

Steve... you're right to worry about the semblance of opportunism. I just wrote about that myself on my blog.

And the end of the day, no matter of who wins the next election, this idea would have been enacted. There is no reason to bring this out now, and bringing it out now only opens this good idea up to cynical comments that it never would have faced on its own. The most respectful thing to do would have been to wait until after the election to announce it.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's a highway about sandwiches. People get hungry when they drive that far in the middle of nowhere. But will they serve freedom fries with those heros?

Steve V said...


Opportunism, plus the lack of political will to refuse. It would be suicide for McGuinty to shun the petition, and I'm sure Tory would be eager to pounce. McGuinty is trying to score points, but he is almost cornered, given the potential bad press.

I'm waiting for someone to suggest plaques in honor of each hero, strewn along the highway. All these people signing petitions, where were they today in Toronto for the support the troops rally? Organizers hoped for 10000, barely a 1000 showed up, some of them in between rides at the Ex.

Louise M. said...

Are we creating different classes of heroes?

ALL Canadian troops that serve in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world are heroes in their own right. Some come back and are able to tell us of their experiences. IMO they too are heroes, even though they did not lose their life in serving our country.

If we have a highway for fallen soldiers, why not have a highway named for the troops that come home alive? That would be a major problem for all provinces because survivors come from all parts of Canada. Then what?

Yes, 20,000 names on a petition sounds impressive. But will McGuinty act on every petition with a required number of names? That's worse than governing by poll results.

Anonymous said...

Actually governments routinely ignore petitions with far more signatures than that on them.

Steve V said...

"Actually governments routinely ignore petitions with far more signatures than that on them."

Yes they do :)