Wednesday, 1 July 2015

What Makes Canada Great?

Usually I use this blog to complain about something.  I don't call my blog a rant for nothing after all.  And oftentimes I complain about things that I think need to change in Canada.  But since today is Canada Day, I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about what makes Canada great.  So what is it about this country that makes people so proud and grateful to be Canadian?  Perhaps I should begin with the country itself.  Canada is the second biggest country in the world, and within this vast landmass that Canadians call home are many varied and majestic landscapes.  In fact, as I write this, I'm sitting right in front of one of Canada's many lakes in Ontario's cottage country.  And believe me, sometimes looking at the lake and surrounding landscape while listening to the sounds of wild animals makes me want to sing O Canada.  But of course, the land that we call Canada is more than just something to look at.  It's also teeming with natural resources.  Many if not most countries in the world would give almost anything to have the natural resources that Canada does.  This country has everything including oil, lumber, precious metals, fish and game, and lots of fresh water.  But of all the resources that Canada has, I think the most important resource is its people.

Canada has around 35 million people living within its borders; people of every race, culture and creed.  Indeed, Canada has always been a place of many cultures, even before the first Europeans set foot on this land.  As we all should know, the people we call Native Canadians or Aboriginals were the first human beings to settle in this land.  Their various cultures and civilizations have had an everlasting imprint on this country.  Even the name Canada, which literally means, "village", is derived from one of this country's many Aboriginal languages.

Today's Canada is a nation of immigrants that have come from every corner of the world.  One just has to walk a few blocks in the streets of downtown Toronto to hear countless languages and see restaurants offering a multitude of international cuisines.  In fact, I would say that one of the greatest things about this country is that anybody can become a Canadian regardless of where they come from, so long as they respect and uphold Canada's values.  But what are Canada's values?

When I think of the values that make us Canadian, I usually think of the ideals that are consistent with all mature democracies.  Things like freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the right to vote and equality before the law.  These are the kinds of ideals that drive many people to immigrate to this country.  I would also say, however, that Canada attracts newcomers because of its economic prosperity.  After all, it's not just the United States that has spawned rags to riches stories.  Many immigrants to Canada, including members of my own family, came to this country with almost nothing, yet they were able to prosper and become upstanding members of Canadian society.

We should also remember that many people have chosen to make Canada home in order to escape the troubles in their countries of origin.  Members of my family, for example, came here to get away from the war and persecution that they endured in Europe.  After all, Canada is a peaceful society and has been for quite a long time.  We've had our wars, of course, but since Confederation in 1867, the vast majority of our armed struggles have not been on Canadian soil.  Instead, Canada has been a significant contributor to the fight for freedom in the world, from the First World War up until today.  For although Canada is a peace-loving country, Canadians have always been willing to join in the fight for freedom against aggression and oppression wherever it may be taking place.

Canada does of course have problems, just like any other country; problems like crime, poverty, inequality and racism.  We are by no means a utopian society.  But I think it's fair to say that compared to many other nation-states around the world, Canada is a pretty good place to live, so despite its shortcomings, I am very grateful to call this country home.

No comments:

Post a Comment