Canada Day is an opportunity to appreciate a great country to live in….or is it?
It seems that most people look at the national holiday as a chance to work time and a half, and make a little extra cash on the holiday. But, where is the sentimentality for the great north? Does it exist or are Canadians feeling less celebratory than usual?
It has been an interesting year for Canada, full of good intentions and bad decisions. A new government was voted in, bringing the Liberals back into power after a disastrous end for the Conservative party. This was a shining moment for Canadians, as everyone young and old swept out a government that was actively pushing frightening bills such as Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act (which is currently still on the table). Canadians came together and decided that a country that didn’t support multiculturalism and democratic interests was not going to get another term. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau represents a new and fresh agenda for Canada and, whatever his flaws, he advocates on behalf of valuable issues such as equality and Aboriginal rights.
Canada also saw its first gender-balanced cabinet and female NDP leader in Alberta — Rachel Notley —which is unprecedented in the province. Canadians saw people rally when the Fort McMurray fires nearly wiped out an entire city, and proudly took in Syrians as the refugee crisis continued. Canada was a strong attendee at the first Paris Climate Change Conference and is making waves adopting new climate change legislation to try and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.
On the other hand, the Mike Duffy trial was a disappointment, and the new gender-balanced cabinet made an embarrassment of itself when Trudeau accidentally elbowed NDP member, Ruth Ellen Brosseau. Canada also granted a U.S. town permission to take 8.2 million gallons of water from Lake Michigan, which opens up our great lakes for the taking.
Overall, Canadians should be celebrating a country that makes mistakes, but actively tries to promote its founding principles of democracy, respect, and equality for all. Canada has its flaws, but even though it is often compared to our American big brother or our cranky British grandmother, it also has its own identity. It is a blessing to live in a country of great beauty that is not suffering from many of the world’s desperate problems such as water scarcity or a lack of essential social services.
Canada is young, but worthy of national pride. Even if you are working or otherwise engaged and cannot attend any Canada day events across the country, take a moment to celebrate being Canadian. I am definitely proud to don red and white, and pledge towards building a new and better future for this country. Will you do the same?