Yesterday was Canada Day, so I’m technically a day late to be singing the praises of the greatest country in the world. But then I realized that every day is Canada Day and worthy of celebration, so it really doesn’t matter that I’m writing a patriotic post on July 2.
We spent the long weekend at my parents’ place surrounded by friends and family. On the long four-hour drive home yesterday, we passed a couple of guys sitting in their driveway with a big hand-painted sign that read, “Honk for Canada!” We were just one car in a long line of traffic, and yet we were the only ones to honk loudly as the guys waved and cheered from the side of the road. I was surprised that no one else bothered to honk. The sign was clearly visible, but no one cared enough to do it, or else they considered noise pollution to be more offensive than their desire to show a bit of patriotism.
“Imagine if we were American,” I said to Jason. “Everyone would be honking.” He agreed with me. What is it about Canadians that makes us so reserved and uncomfortable with displays of patriotism? To heck with that, I say, because there’s plenty to be thankful for, and here’s why I’m so happy to be Canadian:
- Canada is safe. People don’t carry guns unless they’re going hunting. There is minimal violent crime. I can forget to lock my car or house overnight and nothing happens. Our houses do not have to be surrounded by high walls with glass shards embedded in the tops to prevent robbery.
- Canada is clean. I can take my children to the beach down at the lake and swim without worrying about parasites, algae, or other toxic sludge. The air we breathe is refreshing and unpolluted. My children don’t have to wear masks.
- As a woman, I have equal freedom to do whatever I please and go wherever I want as any man does. I can wear clothes of my choosing, vote and witness with as much authority as a man has, and have the ultimate say over how many children I want.
- Canada has high quality medical care that’s free. No matter what I need, whether it’s a basic immunization for my kids or a major surgery or a baby delivery, I never pay a cent.
- Canada’s grocery stores are well stocked to the point of gluttony. Admittedly, it’s a bit extreme, but we are so blessed never to experience food shortages. The selection is also incredibly wide. I can satisfy cravings for every kind of ethnic food, thanks to what’s available for me to buy.
- Canada gives us access to knowledge. There are libraries bursting with books, a wide-open Internet that’s not firewalled by an oppressive government, and safe spaces for dialogue with differing opinions.
- Canada is a nation unfettered by old traditions and outdated notions of how things should be. Creativity, entrepreneurialism, experimentation, and thinking outside the box are pathways that are given space to grow and are respected.
I could go on and on about why this country is such a wonderful place to live, but reality has set in. One kid is hanging off my arm, begging and pleading for me to read some Mercer Mayer book for the third time this morning and the other has begun wailing in his crib… which makes me think of yet another reason that Canada is great. I can be a stay-at-home mother and raise these two little hooligans while being a (mostly) single-income family. I never want a day to pass without reminding myself of how blessed I am to belong where I do, because Canada truly is a wonderful place.