Why I celebrate being Canadian
A year ago Maclean’s published an article entitled “99 reasons why it’s better to be Canadian.” They compiled an extensive list that covers all the major topic areas. I’ll expand on only a few.
Health care: Our proximity to a nation that so vigorously resists universal health care makes this one a popular “Why it is great to be Canadian” topic. Many countries in the world operate health care systems similar to, or better than, our Canadian one, so we cannot crow about our worldwide superiority here, but we can rightly claim our deeply rooted compassion. Our health care is not “free.” We pay for it through taxes, and we do so happily, because we do not accept that any human being should suffer just because the number of digits ahead of the decimal point in their net worth assessment is lower than that of another person. Income does not make a person worthy of health care; compassion does. That’s the great thing about our health care system.
Guns: We have scads and acres and swaths of wilderness in our county. Within that wilderness live moose, deer, pheasant, quail and other food sources. Canadians love to use guns to tap into those food sources to provide for their families. Much of the rest of our country is made up of farmland. Rodents and other small pests cause havoc in those areas, so farmers have guns on hand to keep the populations of some species under control. We Canadians see the value in guns in those scenarios. We also know that moose rarely wander into neighbourhood coffee shops, and groundhogs seldom burrow up into bedrooms, so we don’t see the need for an A-K 47 in Tim Horton’s or a handgun in every room. Our rational approach to gun control makes our country great.
Human rights: Women drive here. They go to school and study whatever they want. People who love each other marry here. Discussion about the sexual orientation of our politicians merits little more than a shrug, because we know it has no bearing on the ability to govern. Racism is much less prevalent, and our history shows that we try hard to change it when it rears its ugly head. We are a country that examines its actions and considers how those actions affect individuals of all kinds, and that makes Canada great.
Helpfulness: At the Olympics in Sochi, Canadian cross-country ski coach, Justin Wadsworth, rushed to the aid of a Russian skier in the semi-final of the men’s free sprint. When he gave him a Canadian ski to replace the broken one, he did it because what’s best for the sport is best for everyone. Isn’t that great?
Economy: Our economy withstood the most recent recession far better than other countries because of sound economic policies respected around the world. People like to make fun of our colourful money, but if that money rests on a solid financial foundation, what colour it is doesn’t matter, and that’s a great thing.
Swagger: Did you read that word and think, “What? Canadians don’t swagger.” We don’t, do we? Isn’t it great? We have plenty to crow about, but we do so quietly and respectfully. We have brag-worthy success in sporting events, scientific advancements and beer-making. We could swagger, but we don’t. We celebrate, we smile, we commend others for their efforts, and we move on. And that, undoubtedly, is great.
It’s Canada Day, so I will enjoy one of the world’s great beers (paid for with colourful money) with friends who chose their loving companions. I will do so without fear of gunfire and because what’s good for the country is good for everyone. I’ll celebrate, I’ll smile, and I’ll commend other countries for their efforts.
I’ll try not to swagger too much.
Posted on July 1, 2014, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, Gratitude, How do you define success?, Inspiration, Just for Fun, Living life to the fullest and tagged beer, Canada, Canada Day. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.