Oh Canada, you are here for us, but are we here for you, to defend you, protect you and make you greater than you already are?
We are more than canoes and toques, more than villages, more than a community of communities – we are more than hockey fans, more than the collective memories, wisdom and honour of those pioneers and soldiers, those innovators and scientists, writers and artists. We are more than beneficiaries of a piece of paper signed by a king or a queen, we are anyone who calls this place home.
This Canada Day, in celebration, Canadians pull down and dust off patriotism from that shelf where it has been sitting all year.
Only a few will raise or wave flags.
Most Canadians don’t wear patriotism that way.
We cheer Olympians, wear poppies in November, vote, argue, pay taxes, send kids to school. We drive around, sail shorelines or fly over this enormous land.
Fill our lungs with it, push out our chests with it, proudly reminding ourselves this land is our land.
This place is our home – true, north and free + GST.
Lakes and beaches fill with sights, sounds and aromas of BBQ, picnic and beer.
Bands blare and fireworks explodes to delight everyone who ever uttered an ooohh or ahhhh!
From coast to coast to coast there will be citizenship court proceedings, welcoming new Canadians to citizenship.
More complicated than it used to be, we still have welcoming arms to the world’s immigrants. Our government leaders are less hospitable than they used to be. That erosion troubles many. It troubles me.
This harsh land is a lush land – built by nature, with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of resources and riches, un-crowded landscape, so much space, so few people.
Sure, we have density in cities along our southern border where most people live, but there is so much of Canada so many of us have never seen, so enormous are our lands we could never travel it all. On a day like this when weather is fine and we take our national holiday seriously, we are reminded how easy it is to be Canadian.
We were either born here, or were welcomed in.
This country was built by people who came with little, or with nothing.
Being Canadian has always been of, for and about people who showed up.
Those who showed up long before white explorers and fur traders.
And everyone since.
Our shores have always been welcome mats, safe havens and refugee welcoming. I’d like us to be more like that than we’ve become.
We are good neighbours to each other, to our friends from the south and we’ve long ago forgotten the War of 1812 when they tried to overtake us, when we defeated them and burned their white house down … oooh, aahh, those were the days!
Seriously, Canadians have made the world better in so many ways. We’ve helped keep the planet safe, healthy and free. Not perfect, but we’ve shouldered our share of burden, shed ample blood and plenty of tears. We are unmistakable, predictable and we don’t brag much, eh!
Life could possibly be better, but where?
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: 10C / 50F, clear, steady north breeze, a hot day predicted – no insufferable but in keeping with the mood of this day, this Canada Day, where everyone should be true, north and free. Gusta strolled with my as cooperatively as any day I can remember, ever, and I have no idea why … but it was very nice.
We have not connected. I started reading your Marks Musing in the last few months and enjoy the moment. Your statements about grand children moved my heart and felt I needed to respond. I think children are amazing, people in general state children are so precious. When I watch people with their children I am not sure their actions support their statements. I would like to see more compassion for the little people in our lives, JS, Airdrie