On Canada Day, why I love Canada

July 1 is Canada Day – every year.  It’s the birthday of Confederation, the date in 1867 on which Canada ceased to be a British colony and become a country in its own right.  On July 1, 1867 this new country consisted only of its four initial provinces: Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.  How we’ve grown since then!  From 4 provinces in the east to 10 provinces and 3 territories in the east, west, and north (and center, of course).

CanadaDay-Map

Canada Day is a very special day to me, maybe because I became Canadian by choice, not by birth.  And being Canadian is something of which I am extraordinarily proud and for which I feel enormous gratitude.

I arrived in Canada in 1963 to attend university and, except for a few years of living in the UK, I’ve lived here ever since.  These are some of the many things about Canada that make it so very special for me:

Canada is not a world power; it understands that it can best make a difference in the world by cooperating and collaborating with others, working together to address human rights issues and humanitarian crises around the world.  And that’s what it tries to do.

Canada is what’s often called a social democracy, like many European countries (and New Zealand and Australia).  It believes in its responsibility to the greater common good.  Like in other countries called social democracies, its citizens enjoy public services such as universal health care, parental leave, equal-access public education, and early childhood programs.  Yes, our healthcare system showed its vulnerabilities during COVID, as was the case in so many countries, but the policy of publicly-funded access to healthcare for all remains strongly supported as we work to ensure it has the resources it needs.

Canadians strongly supports our 50-year old official policy of multiculturalism, which embraces diversity, inclusion, and respect for all cultures.  It’s in our blood, even when we fight it.

CanadaDay-Multicuturalism Canada is a country of 3 founding peoples – Indigenous, French and British.  Although the Indigenous peoples and the egregious treatment they faced for so long is a terrible stain on our past – and continuing challenge in our present, the fact that the British colony of Canada was “allowed” to remain French as well as English is a rarity among British conquests, to say the least.  Remarkably, in 1774 the British Parliament, whose armies had forced a surrender of the French settlements in Québec, passed the Québec Act.  This gave Québec the “right” to have French acknowledged as their language and (perhaps even more strangely in those days) Catholicism as their religion.  Presumably, this was done as a matter of practicality, to keep the French inhabitants on side when they themselves didn’t have enough new settlers to change the balance.  Remember, those Brits had those feisty colonists south of the border to worry about at that time! And … despite the many frictions between French speakers and English speakers from time to time ever since, including now, the two languages have held.  French and English are both official languages of Canada.  Ici nous parlons français.

I absolutely love that Canada is at minimum a bilingual country.  And the reality is that, being a country of immigrants, we are really a multilingual country (including 70 Indigenous languages).  And a multicultural country.  And becoming more so all the time.  Many of you may not know, for example, that Canada has the world’s largest diaspora of Ukrainians after Russia, with 4% of our population (1.4M) identifying as ethnic Ukrainians.

Canada has an extraordinary variety of geography, with much beauty and grandeur.  OK, I’ll give you that warm sand beaches in the middle of winter are not part of the mix, but as long as you love winter – which I do – the scope is endless.  From mountains to lakes to vast prairie skies.  From coast (Atlantic) to coast (Pacific) to coast (Arctic).

CanadaDay-Banff

CanadaDay-Prairies

CanadaDay-CampobelloNB

CanadaDay-WestCoastTrail

CanadaDay-Arctic

Canada has elections that seem to make more sense than some other places.  And trusting in your election process is important for maintaining a healthy democracy.  No system is perfect, but our elections are usually held about 6 weeks after the election is called, which can be any time up to and including a 4-year term limit.  Six weeks is it, and most of us think that’s more than enough.  As you can imagine, far less money is involved when there is a 6-week election campaign compared to a multi-year campaign.  Once our candidates are chosen, we all go to our polling stations and put an X on the paper ballots we’re given, which are then counted by a group of volunteer scrutineers from each party.  The counting process is usually done in a few hours.  Recounts, sometimes, but for the most part, it’s remarkably straightforward.  Democracy in action.

Canadians, by and large, continue to have shared values.  We believe in peace, order, and good government (even if we like to complain about what our various levels of government are doing wrong).  We believe in gun control, although some may believe in even more control than others.  The vast majority believe in enshrining rights for our friends, family members, and strangers who are LGBTQ+, because … why wouldn’t we?!  The vast majority support a woman’s right to choose, because we have compassion for the pain a woman (and most often her partner) has to go through to arrive at such a difficult decision in the first place … and, besides, it’s not our business.  These values that I think of as Canadian can perhaps be summed up as egalitarianism (equal opportunity), politeness, and harmony. 🙂

CanadaDay-Flag

Here’s to my home and native land, my Canada.  Happy Canada Day, everyone!

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43 Responses to On Canada Day, why I love Canada

  1. Reblogged this on Musings and Wonderings and commented:
    Canada Day thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Canada Day, Jane!

    We are soon
    off, dressed proudly in red and white, to play in a golf tournament, on the tough but lovely course at CFB Greenwood. I am more conscious and proud of our military this year. Golfers will stand together on the steps of the clubhouse and sing “O Canada” before we tee off.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dr. John Persico Jr. says:

    Happy Canada Day Jane. Sounds like you made the right decision on a place to live. I might add one thing. I worked up in Canada for 10 years or so. I worked in every Canadian province and some of your largest cities with INCO, GoldCorp, Dominion Bridge, British Columbia Paper Products, WestCan Bulk, Gardewine, Paul’s Hauling and a few other companies I have forgotten. The people I worked with were always friendly and open minded. Oh, and I love putting gravy on french fries instead of catsup or vinegar. So happy holiday. John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks so much, John. You have really been around! Small world, Dominion Bridge is the first place I worked after graduating from McGill a mere 55 years ago. But I yet to embrace anything but lots of salt on my fries! 😏

      Like

  4. Rose says:

    Happy Canada Day! Your description of Canada is inspiring! As an American, here are some values I believe in and work towards: Freedom, Independence, Equality, Bravery, Hard-work, Diversity, Heroism, Happiness, Team-Work. But in recent years some very old white men, have tried to turn our country backwards into a divided nation of extreme rage and fear, filled with ancient racist, sexist, bigoted laws, led by loud lying cowards. I’m not giving up hope that we can reach the values I believe we are capable of. I love my neighbors in Canada! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks very much, Rose. To the collection of old white men trying to hold on to their (warped) privilege of yesteryear, we have to add an old non-white man who sits on the Supreme Court. So sad. I love your list of values. Make sure to celebrate them with heart and vigor on July 4! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Brigitte Maicher says:

    Very well said Jane. I came to Canada in 1968 from Germany for just one year. But for the numerous reason you mentioned, I am still here.
    Whatever we may object to, Canada is a free country were we can freely express our thoughts.
    We are very lucky indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Diane says:

    I agree with everything that you said. Thanks for a great Canada Day post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy Canada Day. Excellent analysis and post. I think the strengths you mentioned are commendable and should be valued. A lesson for us all! Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, Canada. Great post, Jane. I’m jealous of the integrity of your elections (so glad you brought that up). I grew up outside of Detroit, and my parents taking the bridge or tunnel to Windsor for dinner or lunch was always a treat. Here’s to our wonderful neighbor! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Aha, so there’s a little bit of the northerner in you, Marty, I should have guessed! 😏 Thanks so much for your good wishes for your neighbor (even when the Blue Jays creamed the TB Rays today!). I’ll be wishing for new beginnings and a renewed sense of well-bring for everyone south of the border on Monday, July 4. The world needs that, too!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Bernie says:

    This is such a celebratory post. Thanks for nailing all the things I think about as Canadian. Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Cheers to Canada! 🍷 So much to love!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy Canada Day! For everything you listed and more, if my husband and I could immigrate to Canada, we would.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Janis. Such a sad way to have to feel about the current state of affairs south of the border, and I know you’re far from alone at this moment in history. The whole world will be better off when the U.S. is back to aspiring to be that shining city on the hill.

      Like

  12. So wonderfully said, Jane. Happy Canada Day!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. heimdalco says:

    HAPPY, HAPPY Canada Day, Jane. What a lovely post. I closed my eyes & could almost BE there after reading this. From my vantage point in Virginia USA, in a country where turmoil is the accepted norm of the day, where democracy seems to be vanishing & there is monumental division in every direction we choose to look, your description of Canada warms my heart & makes me fearfully sad all at once. America has a huge struggle ahead if we wish to get back to even a small percentage of what we had. In my mind, Canada & New Zealand are just this side of heaven.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Linda. There’s no doubt that given what’s happening in the States it does give one pause to count our blessings, BUT also to realize how fragile all our govts are and how important it is to take extremist elements seriously. We had that terrible 3-week takeover of downtown Ottawa in Feb by a mix of anti-vaxxers and anti-govt protesters, complete with Trump and QAnon flags. The word “freedom” gets used/abused in very dangerous ways entirely too often. The world will be a better place when (not if) America gets back on track. I will send vibes of hope on July 4!

      Like

  14. germac4 says:

    Happy Canada Day! I would love to visit your beautiful country one day…you never know!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Iman Lily says:

    Happy Canada Day! I got the chance to visit Canada for a month in 2018 and I loved every moment of my stay.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Roy McCarthy says:

    Yay, happy Canada Day Jane. You are a great spokesperson for your country. I was interested to see Newfoundland only became Canadian in 1949, perhaps rather reluctantly. You have such a varied and diverse country, yet British schoolchildren thought all the men were Mounties in red uniform on horses 🙂 I’m sure I’d like Canada though not in the winter 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Roy. Yes, you would like many parts of Canada, and undoubtedly not in the winter (which is 5 months long even where I live). Good for you for having picked up on Newfoundland’s history. They voted to remain an independent British colony, and did so until they became so debt-ridden that wasn’t working out so well. I think they were placed in what we might think of as receivership by Britain in the 30s. Eventually all 3 parties (UK, Newfoundland, Canada) agreed that joining Canada’s Confederation was in their best interest! It’s a unique place with its own culture and an accent that sounds like it’s part of Ireland.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Well said, Jane. Happy Canada Day weekend 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Yes to all you’ve said. I miss my home country and all we stand for. Great piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wynne Leon says:

    A lot of great reasons to love Canada. Multi-culturism, shared values, social democracy – they sound like balm for my aching American heart. I can see why you proudly became a Canadian!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: On Canada Day, why I love Canada — Robby Robin’s Journey – Kobcountrymusic

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