By Promod Puri
This Cherry never blossomed to the changing realities of diverse and culturally rich Canadian society.
Don Cherry’s colorful (in costume only) long career as hockey commentator ended abruptly with a blot on his iconic stature. At the fag end of his life, after more than three decades on the air, his stylish apparel also got stains of racist rants against Quebecers, indigenous and the rest “you people.”
From his little domain of “Coach’s Corner” on the Sportsnet, Mr. Cherry delivered his last diatribe November 9, zeroing in on immigrants, new and old, who don’t wear poppies to mark the Remembrance Day.
The controversial remarks on the sports network clipped his job. He said, “Now you go to the small cities, and you know, the rows and rows … you people love … they come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
The divisive wordings of “you” and “our” is a type of racist thinking prioritizing the superiority of one group of people as more Canadian than the rest. It endorses the stereotype that immigrants are apathetic to the significance of Remembrance Day.
Wearing a poppy is not a certification to Canadian patriotism. The solidarity to Canada is not a one-day visible affair on Remembrance Day, but an on-going contribution of all us born in Canada or anywhere else.
No matter how much iconic Don Cherry might be in the realm of hockey, but his remarks certainly show a lack of historical facts that there were thousands of troops from the entire British Empire who fought along with Canadian soldiers in both the First and Second World Wars.