What It Means to be Canadian
Like many other countries, Canadians spend lots of time complaining about their country. Taxes are too high, hospital wait times are too long, our politicians stink, our government officials are crooks…the list goes on ad nauseum.
I don’t spend a lot of time in that mode. In fact, one thing you’ll never hear me talk about on Facebook or Twitter is politics. I just don’t like to go there, because it usually ends up on some sort of negative bitch-fest about how awful we have it here in the Great White North.
I couldn’t disagree with that last statement more.
Sunday July 1st is Canada Day. It’s the celebration of our becoming a country, but we prefer to refer to it as “Canada’s Birthday”. This year, our country will be 145 years old.
How do we celebrate? Much the way you’d expect. Parties, barbeques, fireworks, music, dancing, and hanging out with friends and family. As you’d also expect, there’s generally a lot of beer.
Being Canadian to me is not about the competence level of our politicians. It’s not about how much I pay in taxes.
For me, being Canadian is to be fortunate to live in the greatest country on Earth. It’s to know that we DO live up to our reputation of being super friendly, exceedingly polite and plenty of fun. It’s the comfort of being safe in my own home and community. It’s the peace of mind that if I get sick, I will be taken care of.
It’s the sense of ownership I have of this great land – of our coast to coast to coast mentality. We are all so different in this country, but whether it’s the fishermen and women of Newfoundland, the businesspeople bustling on streets of Toronto or the amazing culture and tradition of our many Aboriginal Peoples – we are all united by this great land that we are part of.
In the past 6 years or so that I’ve been connecting with people from all over the world, I have learned even more about what it is to be Canadian. But while I do see the things that make us different, I also see the many things that make us the same. When I’m talking to people like Jon in Indiana, Stefan in Sweden, or Ali in Ireland, I feel such a strong sense of camaraderie and friendship. Culturally, we may have our differences. Politically, we have our own views. But humanly, we have each other. The world is a smaller place now.
I’m proud to be Canadian, perhaps more proud of that than any other thing. I live in the greatest country in the world and every day I’m thankful to have been born and raised here, and that I’ll live the rest of my days here.
Have a Happy Canada Day, eh.
Some years ago, I spent Canada Day in a locals pub in Halifax, NS. Peggy and I were the only Americans there. I was so impressed with the national pride of most that I talked to in addition to the knowledge and history of the area that was shared by fellow revelers. And, yes, some beer was involved. Happy Canada Day my friends.