“Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world.”
-Jack Layton, NDP
Given all that’s going on with our apparent new frenemies down south (by their leaders choice, might I add) I figured I’ll touch on something I’ve wanted to write about, as a Canadian. Personally speaking I can’t get into the incidents involving children that have recently transpired the U.S., as I’ll either explode into a series of vile, uncivilized words or cry like a baby, as I did when I saw the images and heard those innocent children’s cries. However, as Canada Day draws near I’d like to take this opportunity not to rip into politicians and their longstanding historical lack of morals, values and ethics (oops) but instead focus on something positive, in the present day, and where most of my readers (as site statistics tell me) reside – in this glorious, welcoming, tolerant, polite-as-hell country that we call Canada.
I don’t know any other way to put it but this – we truly won the lottery in life. The problems we face on a daily basis are things that others dream of. While almost a billion people around the world are suffering from chronic starvation, our biggest issue is the hair found in our $50 meal ordered from The Keg. Clean water is scarce for so many people in 3rd world countries, but our problem in this heat is that the damn pump is broken, and our pool is too cold. I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty; you are allowed to be annoyed and complain about these things of course, I know do. I’m simply pointing out that sometimes we get caught up in our big problems and forget to see how minuscule they truly are, in the grand scheme of things. If everyone around the world had to throw their problems into a pile and we saw other peoples, most Canadians would snatch theirs back up in a hurry.
Another thing we must acknowledge and be grateful for is the acceptance and tolerance we exemplify in our country. Yes, of course there are a few bad apples here and there. And yes, there are always going to be racist, homophobic, xenophobic a**holes who will be hanging around to ruin the fun. However, the majority of those I know here are genuine, honest, and good people. Our Prime Minister, regardless of whether you like his policies or not, publicly wishes each religion a happy holiday as they are celebrated. He takes part in gay pride celebrations, even marching in the parade. And as over the top as people say he looks sports traditional clothing to celebrate other cultures when he goes to a country, tries their food, and just genuinely acts like a decent, nice person. Do I always agree with his politics? No. Do I think he’s a lovely example and ambassador to the world of what we Canadians are and should be? Absolutely. Also, despite whatever you think of him as a politician – at least as a man he doesn’t refer to his interactions with women by saying he “grabbed her by the pu$$y” like some other class acts we’ve seen out there. Not to name names.
Gay marriage? No sweat. Canada was the first country outside of Europe to legalize same-sex marriage, and the 4th worldwide. Like I mentioned, we actually have huge parades of people who celebrate the pride they have for their sexuality on the streets. Did you know that gay relationships are still criminalized in 72 countries around the world, and even punishable by death in some? There are also still countries with theocratic governments, which basically means they are ruled by a religion and have extreme restrictions on religious freedoms. It is a gift and a blessing that we have been born into a country where you can love you you want, worship who you want, and do so publicly without being punished by the law. Sadly, this is a human right that is precious and that we cannot take for granted.
And let’s talk about immigration. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (whoops – that’s from the Statue of Liberty, if you can believe it! They’ll just have to scratch that one off). Canada is well known to be a country welcoming of immigrants and refugees from other countries, especially ones that are war torn and in desperate need of help. We set them up with homes, healthcare, and even education if they need it. Most of us are kind and fair about this and understand why this is the right thing to do, but others have issues with it. Did you know that as a Canadian, if you lost your job or even home like they did, we have social services that would help you out too? Thankfully most of us don’t need it as our jobs are plenty, minimum wage is high enough to allow people to survive, and we don’t live in a state of war and genocide. Also, as a Canadian you have been given every opportunity of freedom, education, health care and basic human rights since the day you were born in this amazing country, where those people have not. There is funding for school, universal health care, and in Ontario free dental coverage for children up to age 18, free medication for the first 25 years of your lives – yet some people who were born and raised here will still complain that others who have been through hell and back get to enjoy these luxuries as well. So tell me this – what makes us any better than them? The fact that we won the lottery by being born here? I don’t think so. There’s plenty for everyone kids… we learned that in kindergarten. In the amazing, safe schools we were blessed to attend that don’t have weekly shootings in them, because we have strict gun laws and much better mental health programs than most of the world. Just some food for thought.
In no way do I mean to insult or hurt the residents of other countries; obviously there are so many good, kind, amazing people in every country of the world despite their countries transgressions. And Canada isn’t perfect of course; no country is, until I create the Republic of J.P. Khalil (accepting select applications soon). This is just a proud reminder to my fellow Canadians of how thankful we should be, as the day to celebrate our great nation comes closer. Given what else is going on in the world we need to count our lucky stars that we were fortunate enough to be born here, welcome others who need to come, and share the wealth. Yes, our winters are crappy sometimes, we say ‘eh’ a lot and apologize way too much. But honestly, to me – Canada is the most amazing country in the world, and we have the best people living here – glorious and free.
Always and forever Canada, I stand on guard for thee!