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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Oh Canada!

It's a big birthday, for our big sized, little populated country. We've made it to 150 years of confederation. That's pretty young, as countries go and, while our history has terrible stains, as does any country with an empirical past, we've been trying to make amends, which, I feel, says a lot about us as a people.

I'm a proud Canadian, even knowing our history of subjugation of our aboriginal founders, the treatment of Chinese-Canadians who helped build the country, the rejection of immigrants off the west coast and internment of both Japanese-Canadians and aboriginal children. We have many kilometres to go to make our indigenous communities equal, we are still struggling to make peace and reconcile these groups, but, like I said, at least we're trying. We still have to address issues of racism, sexism and general prejudice.  but people who spew that, from my point of view, are in the minority and unlikely to fade completely, sadly. Human nature won't allow complete peace, I'm afraid, but we can try to get as close as possible.

I lift my head a little higher, as we have one of the best immigration programs in the world, that we were the final stop on the Underground Railway and that multiculturalism is the bedrock and defining character of how most Canadians see themselves - more so than even hockey! We invented zippers, basketball, peanut butter, Nanaimo bars and butter tarts. We're the home of poutine, the largest producer of maple syrup in the world, and some of the best wild salmon ever caught and produce an ice wine that would make angels weep with joy.  We're the birthplace of amazing comedians, actors and musicians, not to mention hockey players. There's a long list of things to be proud of, impressed by and jealous of, to be sure.

For me, this idea of being Canadian is not just about the maple leaf on my passport or it being home, it's about freedom from hate, intolerance and bigotry. It's about being welcomed warmly in almost every country I've entered that makes me feel so strongly about where I come from. It's about not being afraid to accept, help and give to others without fearing that we will lose something ourselves. Do we still have work to do? Yes, and the sooner the better, but that doesn't mean we haven't come a long way already.

Happy Canada Day!