I have mixed feelings about Canada’s big 150th. I’ve been struggling to put into words why I don’t feel as patriotic as I normally do around this time and I think I’ve read enough thoughts from people I respect and admire to feel confident to try to express my own opinions here.
The Canada I do not celebrate
I do not celebrate the Canada that is spending obscene amounts celebrating itself while many of its people are without basic human rights like clean drinking water.
I do not celebrate the reality that many Canadians are still unaware of the plight of our Indigenous community. I do not celebrate the fact that there is still a need to fight for reconciliation, awareness of the MMIW, and resources to combat the youth suicide crisis.
I DO celebrate the Canada that welcomed my parents
My father came to Canada in the 70s seeking more opportunities for himself and his future family. Over the course of a few decades, he moved from humble beginnings washing dishes, to owning multiple successful restaurants. He and my mom worked hard to create a more than comfortable life for their family and enabled us to have what they did not.
I DO celebrate the Canada that welcomes others
I’m proud of Canada doing its part to welcome Syrian refugees when others closed their borders. I celebrate the fact that two friends became permanent residents this year, and I most definitely celebrate the Canada that welcomed the most important man in my life and his wonderful family almost 20 years ago.
I DO celebrate Canada’s physical beauty
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel in a few provinces and have witnessed first-hand just how incredibly beautiful this country is. And although I do not celebrate the cost of flights within Canada, I celebrate the fact that I have seen so much, yet still have so much to see.
I DO celebrate the abundance of great Canadian music
Oh man…this could be a whole other blog post.
I DO celebrate the Canada that is inclusive
Although we have our issues (as mentioned above), I still do believe that as a whole, we are an inclusive nation. We celebrate diversity, are tolerant to different beliefs, and show it by standing up for those who are marginalized.
I realize after writing this that despite a number of things that make me feel angry, guilty, and less than willing to celebrate, I am still incredibly grateful to live in Canada. It is the place I am quite proud to call home. My only hope is that the good continues to outweigh the bad, and that we can look forward to more progress with each birthday to come.