Today — July 1 — is Canada’s birthday!
It’s the day we celebrate being Canadian.
I am passionate about being Canadian and I am an enthusiastic supporter of my country — although at times actions of our government and behaviour of my fellow Canadians can dampen my enthusiasm.
As a departure from my usual posts I decided to informally poll my neighbours and friends on our beach to determine what they valued about Canada.
Here are some of the responses I received over the past couple of days:
“I love the landscape of Canada — the Great Lakes are an example of the beauty that surrounds Canadians in every part of our country and this magnificent, clean beach is one of the best in the world” (from a photographer setting up his tripod)
“I can’t wait for the fireworks tonight” (from a youngster as she raced into the water)
“My family came as refugees from Hungary after the 1956 revolution there. We have established a life here that we could never dream of in Hungary. We have our own business, our children all received good educations, and we look forward to a peaceful retirement.” (from an older couple strolling barefoot on the beach and holding hands)
” I value my freedom of speech and my freedom to vote — but the taxes in our country are unbelievable. We are being robbed.” (from one of my neighbours who is a former politician)
“We like the hockey Canadians play — too bad that the big cup went to the Chicago Black Hawks” (from a group of young men enjoying lots of canned liquid refreshments stashed in their cooler)
“As Canadians we complain a lot — especially about the weather — it’s always too hot or too cold or too wet. But this is a country of four distinct seasons and we need to enjoy each of the seasons. I really worry about climate change and what it is doing in various places — floods in Alberta, the big ice storm a few years ago in Eastern Ontario, and the receding water level here in Lake Huron. We can’t take what we have for granted.” (from a young family with 3 toddlers.)
“I live in Montreal where there are always French – English tensions. But deep down, most francophones are proud Canadians though we want more autonomy in our provincial affairs.” (from a guest visiting a neighbours cottage)
The beach poll was random and not comprehensive. No scientific sampling method was used. With respect to each informant, many reasons for celebrating Canada Day were not mentioned.
Here are some reasons that I will celebrate today.
- I am proud that Canada is a peaceful country where people strive to help each other and to reach out internationally when disasters strike.
- Though strained, Canada’s universal health system provides excellent care for all Canadians.
- Canada’s constitution guarantees every Canadian civil rights and freedoms that are envied around the world.
- Canada is a country of diversity. Our immigration system welcomes people seeking a better life. Our multicultural society provides richness of culture, food, and tolerance for all.
On most days I take many of the benefits of Canada for granted.
I drive on safe roads where most obey traffic laws. I drink clean water from the tap. I count on a supply of electricity to heat/cool my home, to power my computer and to charge my cell phone. There is no cause to worry about my personal safety.
On Canada Day, I will celebrate my good fortune to be a Canadian. I will appreciate those things that are freely given to me as a citizen. Happy Canada Day!