Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's So Great About Canada?

So, it's Canada Day, eh? Time to pull out the flag, and reflect on some of the positives of the Great White North. The Dominion of Canada, as it was formerly called, stretches from sea to sea to sea. That's right, we're practically an island, except for that large unprotected border to our south. Although we may seem to be much like our neighbours to the south, a Canadian is more than just "not an American".

Here are some reasons to be thankful to God for our country:

1. We experience all four distinct seasons (although I personally could live without winter quite happily).
2. Non-violent elections and (usually) a smooth transition of power. The recent attempted coup by the Liberals/Socialists notwithstanding.
3. Affordable post-secondary education. Both my husband and I were able to attend college/university even though we were from single parent homes.
4. You can live anywhere you want. Our neighbourhoods aren't segregated by race or religion. Our one little street has Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Catholics, Protestants and atheists. Our neighbours are Lebanese, Pakistani, Indian, Saudi Arabian, Ethiopian, Irish, Italian, Greek, Jamaican, Finnish and plain old Canadian, too. We all co-exist quite well.
5. We open our borders to new immigrants. Both my husband's family (Jamaica) and my family (Finland) have made a new life in our adopted homeland.
6. Freedom of religion, (so far), and freedom of speech (so far). You don't realize what a freedom it is to be able to criticize your government or vote for who you want until you see how many don't have it (Iran).
7. Free healthcare. When my husband had cancer 11 years ago, we didn't have any financial concerns. No out of pocket expenses! All of the hospital costs; surgery, chemo, homecare nurses, $4,000 injections--all covered. He also had full pay while he was off work for a year. The one expense we thought we'd have to pay; parking at the hospital, was also graciously covered by my wonderful co-workers who took up a collection for us every three months (Aren't oncology nurses great?). I can't imagine having to worry about finances on top of all the other issues, but, I digress.
8. You think you need a break from your country, only to find that when you're on vacation, you're happy to tell people where you're from (because everyone loves Canadians, right? or should I say, eh?), and you're always glad to come home again.
9. You boast about the differences we have with Americans, all the while being thrilled when we're mentioned by them. It's the little brother syndrome.
10. Our country has beautiful mountains out west, unforgiving Arctic terrain in the territories, prairies in the middle of the country, lakes and forests in Ontario and Quebec, and ocean front in the Maritime provinces. Whatever suits you, we have it, even beautiful beaches.

There are also many things that aren't so great about Canada, but that's for another day. Today is Canada Day, so we'll wave our flag on this ONE day, and then go back to our complacency again, sadly.

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