“I’m not a lumberjack or a fur trader. I don’t live in an igloo or eat blubber or own a dog sled. And I don’t know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada, although I’m certain they’re really, really nice.” Many of you might remember these words from a beer commercial in 2000 where “Joe Canada” showed his patriotism and pride through his passionate discourse. One thing about Canadian citizens is that you’re unlikely to find very many that aren’t proud to say: “I am Canadian.” You are however, likely to find a million different reasons why they are proud to say it.
The reality is, just walking down the street can give us countless reasons to love our country. Canada is one of the most civilized and respected nations on the planet that generally shares a countrywide sense of community. Sure, they make fun of Canadians for being too nice, but that’s not really an insult. It means that when we travel we aren’t afraid to wear our Canadian flag or tell people where we’re from. It also means we’re among some of the most accepted travellers no matter where we go.
One out of five people in Canada is foreign-born, which helps explain why Canadians celebrate and cherish cultures from around the world. This has allowed us to be one of the most welcoming nations.
After sunset on July 1st the skies will be alight as fireworks ignite all across the country. However, it’s the outstanding Canadian people that light up our country everyday and it’s definitely not hard to make a list of the greatest, most inspirational and influential Canadians. Surveys of this always seem to include people like: Nobel Prize winner and author, Alice Munroe; athlete, activist, and humanitarian, Terry Fox; hockey hero, Wayne Gretzky; astronaut and neurologist, Roberta Bondar; Prime Minister and diplomat, Lester B. Pearson; Premier and father of medicare, Tommy Douglas; and the late inspirational NDP leader, Jack Layton. These are just a few. Your list could differ and be much longer or shorter and the debate about it could last for days.
That’s another great thing about Canada. It’s our unity and ability to have discussions from all sides that we can be proud of. We are more than one political party and more than one ideology. People who think Stephen Harper diminished Canada underestimate how strong Canada is. Just as those who think that Justin Trudeau has brought “Canada back” overvalue the contribution of any one politician or party to our country. In fact, we have to remember that what works is when we are most equitable and careful not to let intolerance rule when times get tough.
This Canada Day don’t forget the many values that unite us. Like Joe said: “Canada is the second largest land mass, the first nation of hockey, and the best part of North America!” But we are so much more than that, too. HAPPY CANADA DAY!
So keep saying hello to your neighbours on the street, don’t be sorry for saying ‘sorry’ and have a happy Canada Day!