Charlotte Gray, author of several acclaimed historical biographies and probably one of Canada's best magazine writers, will be receiving the Order of Canada today at Rideau Hall.
This morning, on Ottawa's local CBC morning radio show, Gray made a thought-provoking observation - Canada tends to see its history in terms of groups or collectives: the two solitudes, the Famous Five, the Group of Seven, the fathers of Confederation, the Rat Pack (okay, I threw that last one in there to be funny.)
The observation stretches to matters of historical redress too - groups getting retrospective compensation or apologies for Canada's past: residential-school victims; interned Canadians during the Second World War; the Chinese head tax.
Brampton-Springdale MP Ruby Dhalla is currently campaigning to get an official apology to Indo-Canadians for the 1914 incident of the Komagata Maru, a ship carrying nearly 400 Indian emigres who were blocked from entry to Canada.
Dhalla has introduced this bid in the form of a motion to the House of Commons.
If there are Canadians out there trying to figure out an updated version of national purpose or identity, there's probably something significant in this idea of our historical attachment to groups instead of individuals.
Meanwhile, have a look at this story by David Akin of CanWest today, which should also have folks talking about the collective and groups and the minister responsible for them.