Happy Canada Day everyone! it is Canada’s birthday, so I thought I’d celebrate a little bit by sharing what being Canadian means to me and why I love living here. I am a very proud Canadian. I love living here, and I love what my country represents. We Canadians are quiet about our pride, for the most part. We don’t wave our flags at every chance or toot our own horns all that much. But we have a lot to be proud of, and a lot that defines us as a unique country with a unique perspective.Canada celebrates diversity. We have a long history of welcoming immigrants to our country, and our multicultural communities have contributed much to the face of Canada. Rather than adopting a melting pot analogy by demanding that immigrants change to suit our way of life, we encourage diversity and support immigrants maintaining important cultural heritages. We also are home to diverse native peoples, and have two official national languages. Canada is a mosaic!
Canada is a peace-loving country. We contribute to peacekeeping worldwide in war-torn areas, and we have also participated heavily in major world wars to help secure peace for all citizens. I am most proud of the fact that Canada did not join the recent Iraq war. We have taken a stand against preventive military action, and I think that makes us excellent global neighbours and citizens. We have contributed importantly to the area of human rights, and of that I am also particularly proud.
Canada has a fabulous landscape! We have mountains, ocean, prairies, tundra, valleys, rivers, lakes and cities. We have a diverse economy derived from a wide array of natural resources. We have such natural beauty in our country, it makes me so proud! Where I live in Nova Scotia is one of the most beautiful places on earth, I think. We are so lucky.
Canada has a wonderful social net and a commitment to helping the less fortunate get on their feet. We provide free health care to all, year-long parental leave, opportunities for the unemployed, and disability care. In addition, Canadians are very generous in donating money to charitable causes; in fact, I read not long ago that Nova Scotia was among the most generous, despite our “have-not” status nationally. We may not be rich, but we give what we can to help those in need and take care of our fellows.
Canada has a lot of great sports. I don’t care for sport myself, but we invented hockey and basketball, which is pretty cool I think. Isn’t there also a rumour circulating about baseball having originated here? and there’s always lacrosse!
Canada has a great sense of humour! Canadian comics are very funny and have a sense of humour that is so sarcastic and dry. I love it! Canadian comics have been making the whole world laugh for decades: Mike Meyers, Jim Carrey, John Candy, Dan Akroyd, Eugene Levy, Phil Hartman, Martin Short, Rick Moranis, Eric McCormack, Colin Mochrie, Rick Mercer, Leslie Neilson, Michael J. Fox come to mind.
Canada is progressive. Our great prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau once said, “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation,” and as a result of this forward thinking, we have been among the first in the world to legalize same-sex marriage and benefits for same-sex partners. Quebec had the first Jewish politician in north America, and Canada is home to the famous Underground Railroad that helped free slaves from the US.
Canada is smart! We’ve contributed so much to science and technology, and to medicine and entertainment, too! Canada is home to the polio vaccine, penicillin, the telephone, peanut butter, pablum, the electric car, ginger ale, insulin, IMAX, the pacemaker and the heart valve operation, the snowblower, the snowplough, and the snowmobile (stop laughing!), Standard Time, Superman, Trivial Pursuit, Balderdash, Pictionary, 5 pin bowling, Yahtzee, table hockey, Velcro, the washing machine, the zipper, the anti-gravity suit, the telegraph, the electric light bulb (Henry Woodward sold the patent to Tom Jefferson), the Jolly Jumper (I loved mine when I was a baby!), Kerosene, the lawn sprinkler, newsprint, television, the walkie-talkie, and wireless radio – to name a few!
Canada has a vibrant music scene. We rock, we roll, we jazz, we dance, we jive, we pop, we warble (Celine!), and twang, and we love every minute of it! Some of my favourite Canadian artists are: Sarah McLachlan (from Halifax!), Feist, Sarah Harmer, Kathleen Edwards, The Who, Matt Mays (from Halifax!), Bryan Adams (what a legend), Neil Young (a REAL legend!), Joni Mitchell (ANOTHER legend!), Celine Dion (yeah, I still like her even with all the schmaltz), Shania Twain, the Barenaked Ladies, Diana Krall, Holly Cole, Colin James, Joel Plaskett (from Halifax!), Leonard Cohen, Avril Lavigne, and Nelly Furtado. Canada ROCKS!
Canada is pretty safe. We have gun control, and I think it makes a HUGE difference in the level of personal security the average person enjoys. Canada has a per capita gun-related crime rate almost 8 times lower than that of our neighbors to the south. Sure, guns are here just like everywhere, but they aren’t used as often. Also, I think in general our peace-loving nature contributes to the overall lower violent crime rate!
Canada tries to right its wrongs. we sadly do have a history peppered with injustice. We imprisoned our Japanese-Canadian citizens during WWII at the behest of the US, and treated them terribly in concentration camps, selling their personal belongings for profit. We imposed a very high tax on Chinese immigrants (the Chinese Head Tax), and it was very difficult for families to pay to bring their loved ones here. We kicked out the Acadians here in Nova Scotia and forced them down to the southern US – to our great detriment, as I hear Creole cooking is amazing. 🙂 We have treated our native populations shamefully. In fact I think it is the most serious blight on the face of Canada, and we owe our aboriginal people a huge debt than can never be repaid fully. We have run African-Nova Scotians out of their homes in Africville, another shameful part of our history. However, the government is trying to make restitutions, and is offering wonderful incentives for new immigrants, and programs for equal opportunity. We recognize we are not perfect, but I think we are trying our best to be fair and equitable to all.
Canadians are nice. We just are. We are nicety-nice-nice. Just ask anyone!
So, come visit Canada if you don’t live here. If you do, go visit another part of it, just for fun. it’s a big big country with lots to offer!