The world needs more Canada. It’s a mantra often repeated in recent years by Irish rock star Bono, a major supporter of Canada’s foreign aid record. U.S. President Barack Obama said it last week during his visit to Ottawa.
The president’s praise during his warmly received address to Parliament had a double meaning. Yes, President Obama was effusively supportive of Canada and the welcoming spirit and generosity of Canadians.
But when he said the world needs more Canada, it was also a reminder that Canada needs to step up with its NATO commitments, purchase its fighter jets and speed up its naval replacement program. We do have global commitments.
By any measure, last week was a triumphant one for Canada.
The state visit by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto saw several thorns removed to smooth relations between the two countries. The North American summit displayed to the world the three trading partners are getting closer – in sharp contrast to the Brexit crisis engulfing Europe.
During his final visit to Canada, President Obama urged the two countries to never waver in embracing our values, our best selves and our histories as nations of immigrants. Thank you, Mr. President.
The Canada Day celebration provided a chance for the country to throw a well-deserved party. Our national holiday fell on a Friday, which offered the bonus of a long weekend. Huge crowds crammed Parliament Hill for speeches and entertainment. The weather was warm and clear across most of the country. It was a good time to be a Canadian.
And on Sunday, to wrap up our holiday weekend, there was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marching in Toronto’s gay pride parade. It was the first time a sitting PM took part in the country’s biggest pride event and Mr. Trudeau reveled in the opportunity.
A casually dressed PM leading the Toronto parade while waving a Canadian flag was a powerful message on the inclusiveness of our country. Potential leadership candidates for the federal Conservative party were there as well. That in itself sent a message. It seems the progressives in the Conservative party are re-asserting themselves with the departure of former prime minister Stephen Harper, the emergence of Rona Ambrose as interim leader and the retreat of Jason Kenney to Alberta.
There is the likelihood of Peter MacKay winning the job many felt he deserved 13 years ago. The party is anxious to be more welcoming, open and inclusive.
An international report this week ranked Canada as No. 2 on a list of best countries in which to live. Is there is a danger of Canadians getting too smug and self-important, or our egos getting too big? Maybe.
Canada is not back yet. We’re trying hard. It’s not all sunny ways yet. We have lots of problems.
But we are helping to make the world a better place and our greatest potential is still ahead.
Yes, the world needs more Canada.
An editorial from the Charlottetown Guardian (distributed by The Canadian Press)