Canada is a pretty good place to live, any way we measure it. We have rights, freedoms, safety and equality that allow each of us to determine how we live and what we live for.
We can choose to define Canadian identity any way we like. TV commercials seem to want to pitch us their vision of Canadian identity, and they show us beer fridges and hockey rinks and campgrounds and wheat and glaciers and sometimes those ads get it kind of right. And then there are those who imagine us as igloo-dwelling polar bear hunters, eh, and they’re not 100 per cent wrong, either.
It’s OK if Canadian identity matters to us and it’s OK if it doesn’t. What matters is making sure that Canada is what it needs to be, to us, to those we care about most, and to everyone else, too.
We’ve been a nation for 147 years and this year is the most important year of any of them because it’s happening right now. We can’t change the last 147 years but we can change this one, and the next 147.
If we think Canada is just fine the way it is, that’s wonderful, but that’s probably not the case. There’s always room for improvement. This Canada Day, we can seize the day. We can speak our mind. We can advocate for ourselves and others. We can hold our elected officials, at every level, to account, and their priorities won’t always align with our own, but we can at least make our priorities known. We can make our country better, starting with our province, our Island, our city, our neighbourhood and ourselves.
We can build a better Canada, and that doesn’t just mean the place we live. Because Canada is comprised of all of us, too, and our ethos and ethics, our strength and smarts, our vision and our voices, our hopes, our dreams and the contents of our hearts.
Our maple leaf symbolizes a lot of things. Let it stand not only for the Canada we are now, but also the Canada we wish to become.