By Craig Funston
I cannot think of any other country that I would rather live in than Canada. And I can’t think of any other nationality I would rather be than Irish-Canadian. Okay, just Canadian. So on the eve of Canada Day, once known in my world as Dominion Day, I want to not only wish her (him? it?) a happy birthday, I want to list reasons why Canada is a great country.
There should be no illusions as to the future of our country. There is no wisdom in sticking our collective heads in the sand and thinking everything is okay; everything is not okay: Like every other nation in the developing world, we are facing challenges that many never saw, even a generation ago. Or, better stated, maybe they did see them, but no one listened. It would take a book, not a column, to lay out a reasonable blueprint for Canada’s future.
The nature of this column is more along the line of one-liners, not heavy tomes, so I will refrain from pontificating about some of the fears I have for the greatest country in the world. Today’s column is more of a look back, with the hope that past successes can be parlayed into future ones.
So the following are ten reasons why I love this country, with appropriate kudos and cautions. Take them in the spirit in which they’re given.
Its geographical diversity. I like mountains (like Switzerland), but I like more than just mountains. I like warm weather (like Hawaii), but a little snow and ice and rain brings on variety. Perhaps no province captures this more than British Columbia. A cursory trip across Canada shows its diversity
Among other things, I like all four seasons. Denmark would be okay for a brief holiday; Arizona would great for about a week or two; But too much of the same would simply be too much. From mountains to deserts, and everything in between, such diversity allows for a welcome change of seasons.
Its historical depth. Boring History? Are you kidding me? You’re reading the wrong books, watching the wrong channels, listening to the wrong teachers. Check your sources, please. Explorers, pioneers, immigrants, and entrepreneurs have all added colour to our past. Foreign workers, for that matter, have helped make this country what it is.
On the topic of explorers, as an example; you’d be thrilled with their exploits. Check out the foreign workers that populated the prairies 100 years ago—you know, the ones who settled down here, the ones you call grandpa and grandma. Try discovering all the past inventions that came from Canadian minds. We have a very rich history.
Its cultural scope. (See previous paragraph.) Pockets of different ethnic groups are scattered from St. John’s, NF, to Victoria, BC. This ethnicity should be celebrated, but within the grand scheme of things. We celebrate differences through religion, community festivals, ethnic neighbourhoods, but must still see the commonality of being Canadian —a term that is unfortunately being re-defined as we write.
This, of course, is not the same as multiculturalism, a ticking time bomb. Either we band together, despite our differences, or we isolate ourselves from each other, and increase our differences, at the expense of our commonality as Canadians. Language, culture, and religion all factor into making Canada—for better or worse.
Its spiritual freedom. At this point, we are still a nation for the right of all religions to practice their faith(s). I’m not Sikh, Mormon, New Ager, Evolutionist (just a smattering example of some religions), but I allow them the right to practice their faith. I certainly don’t embrace their perspective, but, hey, this is Canada, so we tolerate each other, don’t we?
We’re not Iraq…yet. Curtailing said freedom, especially in the area of lifestyle choices (my, was that put nicely or what?), is an evil that will be all religions’ downfall. From my perspective, the more we turn from the Judeo-Christian basis for law, justice, and freedom of speech, the worse off we’ll be.