TORONTO - More patriotic, less generous to those who take advantage and if you don’t want to be Canadian, leave.
Decked out in red and white and covered in Maple Leafs on the country’s 150th birthday Don Cherry was basking in Canada Day.
Or, should that be: Dominion Day?
“It was Dominion Day for a long time,” Cherry said with a laugh. “I don’t know who got a hold of it, but they changed it to Canada Day. It makes a lot of people happy. It’s in the middle, I guess.”
Cherry isn’t really a ‘middle’ kind of guy and instead, prefers unabashed love of his country, no matter what label they slap on the day.
And he’d like more from Canadians.
“Greatest country in the world,” he said. “I think we are the only ones on (our neighbourhood) street with our flag (displayed) and that kind of bothers me a little bit.”
It’s not like that in the United States.
“On July 4, everybody had a flag,” said Cherry. “I just wish we were more patriotic.”
And less politically correct. Grapes is refreshingly the opposite.
Unlike U2’s Bono who said to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Parliament Hill celebrations, “Thank you for the country you are continuing to build,” Cherry says ‘Thank you’ to those who built and defended it.
“I think of our troops from all wars, often,” he said.
The freedom they gave us, he said, should never be taken for granted.
“We are the humanitarian country of the world. I think we are sort of saps, a little bit, if you want the truth,” said Cherry. “I think people take advantage of Canadians and I think people coming in here take advantage of Canada. That’s the way I feel. That’s my personal opinion. Maybe that’s why I don’t get any awards or anything like that.”
Disappointing the sports broadcaster didn’t get included on the Order of Canada list for the 150th birthday – city builder Justin “Shaker” Van Dette’s 10th nomination failed.
But Cherry was not disappointed.
“I have to talk to Justin (Van Dette) about that,” said Cherry. “I wish people wouldn’t put (me) in for things like that because I think they get a big kick out of turning me down.”
His message to Van Dette and others want him nominated for the Order of Canada?
“I know it’s hard to believe, but I really, sincerely, don’t care,” said Cherry. “The soldiers, sailors, policemen and fireman think I am OK, and that’s good enough for me.”
They, he said, are what make him proud to be Canadian and there’s not a stauncher Canadian than Donald S. Cherry.
“Coaches Corner is the most-watched thing in Canada,” he said. “I think I represent the people who remember Dominion Day and if other people don’t like it, so what? I have been around a long time. If they don’t want me around, it’s been a good run.”