Thursday 1 July 2021

15 Reasons Why I am Proud to Be a Canadian

Written by Robyn T. Braley

I can't believe another Canada Day is here. For many, July 1st is also the official launch of summer. They book off several days and celebrate with friends and family in the mountains, at the lake, in local parks, or in their backyards.

July 1st, 2021 takes on special significance as most provinces have targeted this day to seriously lift COVID restrictions. It's a great Canada Day, eh?

Some reading this are Canadians living in other parts of the world. Wherever you are, Happy Canada Day!

Others reading this are not Canadians, although you live here. Many of you are reading this as citizens of other countries. 

You may have observed that Canadian's aren't usually pushy or loud about being Canadian. However, we feel our patriotism deeply. We just don't always talk about it.

We love our nation and are proud to be Canadians. What moves me the most is listening to the stories of new Canadians – either recent or from decades ago - explaining what it means to be a citizen. It is easy to take for granted the many benefits and blessings offered by our country.   

Covid Response

I am proud of the COVID-19 response in Canada. For the most part, governments at every level did their best to control the virus spread. The threat of COVID was a vast unknown. 

Many policies and actions had to be developed on the fly without the luxury of years of research and thought. Partisan politics were set aside during the early months of the pandemic as politicians came together in a solid front. 

As time passed, however, political parties returned to partisan observations and comments. Many points raised were valid and caused the governments to alter their course. Canadian leadership was much more exact and consistent than in other parts of the world.  

Health care was given top priority. Frontline workers and first responders freely gave of themselves to care for an influx of COVID patients as they willingly faced unknown danger

Citizens - and noncitizens - were taken care of through financial subsidies. Businesses were given grants and low-interest loans to keep them afloat and providing jobs during a time of crisis.   

Our vaccination rate has been stunning. On Canada Day, 2021, my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine took full effect giving me relief and assurance as I return to normal living. 

This is another reason why I am proud to be Canadian.   

Residential Schools

 While we have so much to Celebrate, this is also a time for sombre reflection. On this Canada Day, Canadians are dealing with the national shame of finding mass graves of indigenous children who died at church residential schools.

We must hold those responsible accountable. Words and empty platitudes are not enough! 

The tragedy spans 100 years. Somebody knew. Church officials, police, government, citizens of neighbouring towns and villages. 

It is now revealed there were indigenous voices that spoke up through the decades. Most were ignored or deemed exaggerations. Officials who took them seriously and started asking questions faced roadblocks and were discouraged from finding answers. 

There are many tragedies in this story, but I will highlight two. First, children died of disease, possibly neglect, and some from the result of physical or sexual abuse. 

I'm sure some died of a broken heart. Most families were not informed of the death of their children. Any time a child dies, for whatever reason, it is a tragedy. 

The second tragedy is perhaps more sinister. The children were buried in mass, unmarked graves. Unmarked means there were no gravestones or markers. That means that in the view of those who buried them, they were nameless, faceless bodies. They were less than human. 

Now, as we begin to ask hard questions, there are those who say records of those buried - if they can be found - should not be released for privacy reasons! 

Are you kidding? Do you think parents now in their 90's or their descendants care about privacy? 

The families want the WORLD to KNOW what happened to their children! Our children. Canada's children. 

Celebrate and Reflect

I believe Canadians should still celebrate but include time for reflection. Most of all, let's not forget the ideal of what being Canadian means. 

Here are 15 things I love about being Canadian. See what you think! 
  1. People died so I can speak freely, vote as I wish and write this
  2. I am free to love and be loved
  3. Canada is a land of opportunity that rewards entrepreneurs
  4. I can dream great dreams and make them real
  5. Our national anthem is singable and emotionally charged
  6. A rodent is our national symbol
  7. Education resources, mentors, and teaching allow me to learn and grow
  8. I can choose how I worship
  9. Canada is diverse in culture, people, language, geography, food
  10. We celebrate foods like poutine, Canadian bacon, and butter chicken
  11. Canadians created Hawaiian Pizza and Ginger Beef
  12. Wearing Maple Leaf pins bring better service when travelling abroad
  13. People freely give of their time and resources to better their communities
  14. We have a passion for hockey, our own brand of football and basketball. A Canadian invented basketball.
  15. We have a cool flag that is immediately recognized around the world.  
Finally, we’re just nice people, eh? Happy Canada Day!

What do you think? Do you have other reasons? I want to hear from you. Please comment below.  

Robyn T. Braley is a brand specialist, writer, and speaker. He is also a media commentator and Rotarian. Robyn is the President of UniMark Creative which does website design, video production, media services (editorial and advertising), and graphic design. He speaks at business conferences and also blogs about branding. 

Contact Robyn

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