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Dana Asher stands with the Canadian flag
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A chorus of Canadians

By Karin Mark

When Dana Asher sings O Canada at noon on July 1, she hopes 31 million other Canadians will join her.

For the second year, the Maple Ridge woman is promoting a country-wide sing-a-long of the national anthem on Canada Day at noon Pacific Standard Time.

“I totally love this country. I appreciate it,” said Asher, a 24-year-old university student. “By singing O Canada, I want everyone to take a couple minutes and appreciate what we have.”

Asher started her campaign last year and received some media attention. She herself sang the anthem with about 30 others on a beach in Tofino.

This year, she has contacted more than 200 media outlets across Canada, launched a website and approached “people with clout”, such as Dewdney-Alouette MP Grant McNally, federal heritage minister Sheila Copps and Canucks general manager Brian Burke.

For those who prefer to sing in a group setting, Asher is organizing a brief gathering at Maple Ridge Park (at 232 Street and Fern Crescent) at noon on July 1. She will also be handing out 400 stickers and 200 tattoos donated by Jo’ Canada, owner of O Canada Gear in Edmonton, who read about Asher’s efforts in the newspaper.

“I’ll be there with a big Canadian flag,” she said. “I’m either going to be pleasantly surprised or totally humiliated.”

After the anthem is sung, she said people can head to their local Canada Day event, such as Maple Ridge’s festival in the town centre.

Asher’s long-term goal is that singing O Canada at a specific time on July 1 will become a national tradition, much like the moment of silence on Remembrance Day.

“I want it to be an automatic thing. Whole companies will stop and sing at noon. Everyone in the grocery store will stop and sing. It will be on the radio,” Asher said.

Compared to Americans, Canadians are more laid back about being patriotic, she said. “I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be in your face on our country’s birthday.”

Asher has become more patriotic over the years, as she has learned more about other countries and compared them to her own. It bugs her to hear Canadians constantly bashing their country – although she says her national pride doesn’t blind her to its faults.

“Ultimately, the good outweighs the bad,” said Asher, who is studying to become a teacher.

Anyone interested in helping Asher can contact her through her website at:

© 2002 Maple Ridge News

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