Late last week, Bono and The Edge announced that they were going to pop into Ottawa on Saturday to play one song during the Canada 150 celebrations. Why? “Because we really, really like Canada,” said The Edge. “We’re going to drop in, play one song and then fly back to Cleveland for a show Saturday night.”
This isn’t sitting well with some people. “Canada Day should be about Canada!” they say. “There should be no one but Canadian artists performing.”
That’s also the view of CRUZ-FM, an Edmonton radio station. They’ve launched a petition demanding that U2 be replaced with Nickelback. Seriously. When I checked this morning, only 206 people had signed up.
I’m sorry, but all these people have got it very, very wrong. There are plenty of Canadian artists from all genres playing Canada 150 events across the country on Saturday and having a major international act playing is a great thing. It’s good press for the entire Canada 150 event. It offers a huge endorsement to the importance of Canada on the world stage. It will bring even more people to the party. Having just Canadian acts risks projecting an insular attitude.
And this is BONO, fer crissakes, an international ambassador not just for music but for a ton of other things, ranging from human rights to environmentalism to championing the needs of the poor. Isn’t he the guy who said “The world needs more Canada?” And you wanna see something go viral? Have Justin take a selfie with Bono. The whole world will pay attention to Canada and the fact that we’re now 150 years old.
After a century-and-a-half, we need to grow up a little and be more aggressive when it comes to telling the world who we are. Our music scenes are the envy of the world, so we should have no fear of being overshadowed by a foreign performer. Why be so parochial about things?
What better way of telling the world how good Canada is by having the world come to us and have them to the cheerleading?