Happy Canada day, everyone!
Opinion by Dave Glover
As we gather this weekend with friends and family to celebrate Canada and all the things that make this country great, I ask you to consider the many wonderful things that bring us together.
Of late there’s been a narrative of division bubbling on social media and in our news.
I would like you to consider some of the many things about Canada, your home and mine, that unites us.
Our sense of humour is often the first thing I think of. From Wayne & Shuster to Rick Mercer, Kids in the Hall, to 22 Minutes, Mary Walsh, Ryan Reynolds, Jim Carrey, Samantha Bee, and hundreds more. Like Bob and Doug McKenzie, eh.
Canadians from coast to coast to coast have a sense of humour that has kept the world laughing for generations. Our comedy and sense of timing has been keeping us in stitches and stitched together since the days of Mack Sennet another great progenitor of timeless comedy.
Our ability to laugh at ourselves and our world has helped us weather countless national storms. It has helped us to see ourselves in a different light and helped the world to understand us better while sharing a laugh.
And yet, it is no laughing matter, that Canada is a nation that cares, a land in which caring is a huge part of our national identity as we continue to welcome more refugees than ever before.
On the world stage Canadians are seen as, strong negotiators, empathetic and able to see multiple viewpoints at the same time.
It is this humanity and empathy that has made our roll as peacekeepers so successful.
Canadians are also loyal.
When Heinz ketchup decided to abandon the Tomato farmers of Aylmer Ontario after nearly 100 years, Canadian switched brands. We decided to abandon Heinz in favor of French’s ketchup because we believed in our farmers and knew they’d been treated poorly by this global giant. Heinz quickly discovered just how loyal Canadian consumers can be, and they came back to the farmers of Aylmer. A little bit wiser and a little bit humbled.
Canadians also understand the importance of our collective history and getting the story right.
We’ve engaged in owning our Colonial past warts and all.
Calling out our national shame during the Truth and Reconciliation commission, we acknowledged the genocide and treaty betrayals that have done so much damage to our First Nations people. We acknowledged then and continue to do so that we still have much to own up to and make amends for.
We have also apologized to Japanese Canadians who were interred in concentration camps during WW2 and formally addressed the head tax imposed upon Chinese Canadians for purely racist reasons.
As a nation, we take our past misdeeds very seriously and understand moving forward means acknowledging past errors.
Canadians can be proud of our ability to come together in times of crisis.
The wildfires burning across our nation are example. These emergencies have brought Canadians together as we work to get these blazes under control.
From Lac Megantic to tornadoes in Edmonton and the bus crash in Humboldt, Canadians rally together to bring aid and comfort to the families and survivors. Coming together in the wake of tragedy, time and again, showing that we care.
The pandemic is another example of Canadians coming together for the betterment of all.
Yes, we had protests about mandates and the use of the vaccine, but the vast majority of us came together to help and support each other during that long trial with most of us resisting the tide of rhetoric that tried to divide us.
So-called divisions that were stoked then, and continue to be stoked today for partisan purposes.
Maybe, that’s why so few Canadians actually bother to join political parties.
Yes, I know there is much to complain about, but as we gather for friendship and fellowship to celebrate this long weekend, I urge folks to be grateful for the luck of having been born here or the great fortune to have arrived here.
That great statesman, Winston Churchill, once called the linchpin of the English-speaking world.
There are many facts about our great country to be proud of:
Canada has the strongest economy in the developed world.
Canada has 3 of the top 10 cities globally.
Canada always ranks in the top 5 countries for standards of living and democracy.
Canada is truly the only multicultural country on the planet.
It is our ability to see the world through various lenses and viewpoints that make us so unique.
We are Indigenous, French, English and over 440 other cultural identities.
We are men, women, two spirited and more.
We are free to be you and me.
We are warriors and healers and helpers and… have a great sense of humour.
We are Canadian.
This weekend revel in Canada’s unique contribution to the world, and in the knowledge that 156 years on, Canada is the best place in the world to call home.
Dave Glover is a well known cultural and political commentator in Northumberland. Thousands of listeners, both locally and worldwide, know Dave because of his “Drive Time” radio broadcast that ran for more than 8 years and his 15 years hosting political programs on a local cable channel.
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