At this point, we’re just a matter of days away from Canada Day. One of the best days of the year, at least in my view.
This year, it’s extra special because our great country is marking a milestone of 150 years.
We’ve already seen what the community of Outlook is capable of in celebrating this monumental occasion; the human flag on June 15 was unique and one for the history books, while the Legion’s memorial ceremony for fallen veterans on June 24 was a respectful time of reflection.
Touching on that theme of reflection, I thought I’d just share a few thoughts on what being Canadian means to me, just a few days before our home and native land celebrates its once-in-a-lifetime birthday party.
Being Canadian to me means having the freedom to say what I want, so long as I don’t spread hate and can back up what I say with conviction. So many countries around the globe don’t enjoy freedom of speech, but luckily, Canada does. We can debate, dissect, and even argue our beliefs and opinions, but we should never forget that this is a basic human right that isn’t afforded in other parts of the world.
Being Canadian to me means living in a country where virtually any community, regardless of population and size, can be a diverse melting pot of humanity. No further evidence of this fact is needed besides a Christmas event I covered last December at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, in which cultures from at least a dozen other countries were celebrated by the people in this town who come from those backgrounds. It was a great example of diversity in one’s own community, and to see it represented so well out here on the prairies is fantastic.
Being Canadian to me means living in a country that affords some of the most picturesque landscapes at all times of the year. Whether it’s a view of the ocean from a dock in British Columbia, a view of the Northern Lights from Manitoba, or a fading rural sunset out here in rural Saskatchewan; our country is – in a word – beautiful.
Being Canadian to me means enjoying the amenities that come with being a walking, talking, maple syrup-sipping Canuck. Free health care; a long weekend in almost every month on the calendar; having Thanksgiving before our American neighbors; these are just some of those cool things that perhaps one doesn’t think about too often.
Being Canadian to me means coming from a large family who are spread out all over the country, but it’s not that difficult to get us all back together when it’s time to catch up.
Being Canadian to me means living in a vast, geographically-amazing landscape that, while huge in scope, only houses just over 30 million people, compared to our neighbors in the States, who sit at over 300 million.
Being Canadian to me means being able to go home at night to a roof over my head, money in the bank, and very few real problems, at least compared to the chaos that continues to happen in other parts of the world.
Being Canadian to me means living in a country that isn’t perfect, but we work towards finding solutions instead of airing our dirty laundry in the news and on social media. (Was that a Trump reference?)
Being Canadian to me means that I’m simply able to live my life the way I see fit without being robbed of my basic human rights. Back in April, I visited the school in Dinsmore to check out their programs on genocide awareness, and the experience was a jolt to the senses and reinforced the need for people to realize just how good we have it in 2017; how good we have it in Canada.
Being Canadian to me means being proud of where I come from. All of us are the collective melting pot of humanity from coast to coast, and whether your heritage background is comprised of Scottish and Irish roots (such as I), we’re all connected as Canadians, and we ALL bleed red…....and white, in this case.
This weekend, Outlook and communities across the country will hold landmark festivities that brings out the red-and-white spirit as only this incredible nation can, and as you enjoy the party and taking in what your community is doing to mark this occasion, perhaps many of you will also reflect on what being Canadian means to you.
A century and a half looks good on you, Canada. I swear, you don’t look a day over a century and a quarter!
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.