Happy Canada Day to all, to the lucky 30 million, and unlucky dreamers.
We celebrate Canada Day! But why is Canada worth celebrating?
Relax, I’ll tell you.
It’s not a nice world out there, to be honest. Much of the world suffers poverty, violence, dictatorships, or all three. There are, however, plenty of great places, and I won’t say that Canada stands alone in wealth, peace or freedom. We are, however, a good example of them, and maybe the greatest example of the ideals that protect them.
The “New World”, the Western colonial child-states of the Americas, means a lot of things to different people, and in terms of history, includes totally divergent courses. But to my mind there is an idea behind the New World as an opportunity for Enlightenment ideas to take hold, free of the class and race and religious based divisions of Old Europe. These days, there are many challenges to the ideals of Liberal Democracy, but for better or worse, our lot in Canada is with those New World values: democracy, freedom, tolerance, equality of rights, support for the poor and vulnerable, and protection from government abuse.
Many countries espouse those ideas, but few display them as well as Canada. There are certainly failures and shames in our country, foremost being the historic treatment and current conditions for Native Canadians. But I can’t name another country which aspires and succeeds on such a large scale as ours: we do not suffer from the blight of killing poverty, we feel safe in our homes and in our streets, and our neighbours by and large have opportunity to climb to a better life.
Nationalism is a frightening thing, we’ve seen so much evil perpetrated through it. But it’s not wrong to celebrate if you celebrate the right things. We are the waving flag of the New World. When we celebrate Canada, we are telling the world that our way works. For the most part, it does.
Let’s drink to that!
And oh yeah, beer, Rockies, winter, Gretzky, Stompin’ Tom, etc, etc.