Monday, July 02, 2007

Canada Day, Eh?

I. Am. Canadian.
St. Thomas, Ontario, June 2007
[Click to enlarge]


Call me a patriotic sap, but I love being Canadian.

Yes, I'll admit I whine about our relatively high taxes, our governments that seem to have raised corruption and nepotism to a high art, our lack of inexpensive data plans for BlackBerries (we invented the things, dammit!) and the ridiculously stereotypical winters.

Come to think of it, I whine quite a bit. But when I'm travelling in some far off place and I see my first sign of Canada on the way home, I can't help it if I feel just a little cozy inside. It's a great place to call home, and a welcome place to return to. There's a sense of empathy within this country that I just don't see elsewhere. For all its warts, this is a country that still hasn't forgotten how to look out for those in need.

Since I grew up with the concept of Tikkun Olam - repairing the world - as a regular touchstone, it's nice to know that my country sorta echoes my own personal sentiments.

Which is my way of saying that as I enjoy the Canada Day statutory holiday (thanks, government people, for giving us the day off!) with my brood, I think of the generations of folks - leaders, citizens, people from near and far - who have helped shape this place. It's far from perfect. But it's ours, and it feels like a pretty righteous place to lead a life.

Your turn: Are you a fan of your country? Why/why not?

About this image:
I shot it surreptitiously at an air show. This shoulder belongs to a member of the Snowbirds ground crew. He was walking the security ropes, ensuring no one got too close to the planes or the equipment. True to fashion, he spoke jovially with everyone he met and he handed out stickers to the kids. A real Canadian hero, in my book, especially considering how he and his entire team were still grieving the recent fatal crash of one of their pilots.

28 comments:

Stacy said...

There's a bit of a Canada/US rivalry here at our international school in Taiwan. We have a lot of fun with it, especially during talent shows and sporting events.

We like our northern neighbors. :)

raehan said...

Hi Carmi. I am a fan of my country, though not always it's political leaders. I love living here. I also am a fan of the Canadians I know.

Happy Canada Day!

Pearl said...

Tend to be pro-Canada, yep. I was surprised when the Canada Day publicity said the public could enter the air force cockpits, that there was only the fuselage, no wings or tail.

Pearl said...

and thanks for passing on the concept of tikkun olam

carli said...

I am a fan of my country, but not always its residents (including my leaders and myself).

I am also a fan of Canada. I celebrated yesterday by watching Degrassi: The Next Generation and. . . well, no, that's the only real Canadian thing I did yesterday.

Jadedprimadonna said...

Happy Canada Day, Carmi! I was talking on the phone with someone from Canada, and she was feeling just as patriotic as you! =o)

Elaine said...

Nothing wrong with loving your country! I am patriotic, but I disagree with a lot of what the US is doing globally. I guess I also disagree with a lot of our internal policies. Still, my life is good and I am free to express my opinions, and that means a lot to me.

Karmyn R said...

Came here via JoyT -

Happy Canada day - from your Southern neighbor. I think Canada is an absolutely beautiful country, but cold as HECK in the winter. (-40°F, no thank you)

kristin said...

Happy Canada Day to you (& all your fellow Canadians)! Many yrs ago, my family & I drove across Canada, from East to West Coast, and met so many wonderful, helpful, friendly people, from Quebec all the way up to the NW Territories. It's obvious that you have a deep & genuine affection for your country. I am convinced that, as one person, your allegience makes a genuine difference, in both small and large ways.

I am also a fan of my country, and am "pro-American"...tho, like you, I am aware of so many things that need improvement (that would be the human condition, all across the planet, wouldn't it?). Our contradiction, our media, our political leaders, our crime, and the mistakes we have made (& continue to make) on the global/world stage. We have done great good - and - great harm. But, we have the spirit of freedom, the spirit of democracy, the spirit of brotherhood, that is still very much alive & well...and along with all that is wrong, and negative, I still see so much that gives me HOPE for the future.

Thank you for sharing the info about the meaning of "tikkun olam". Powerful & meaningful stuff. And that you are teaching this, every day, to your own children - the next generation - makes it so much more profound. God bless you & your wife for fighting the good fight....for believing in the possibilities that are borne of love, kindness, compassion and gratitude.

Rainbow dreams said...

Hope you had a wonderful Canada day - the sense of belonging and of home is one that is precious and I'm not sure I always feel that in relation to my country... though there was a sense of it when my son represented his island in football earlier this year...
I agree it's always good to come home, Katie,x

Thumper said...

I am definitely a fan of my country. I think our current leaders are idiots, but I love the diversity here, and I love the ideas... I just love my country. I think Canada is pretty cool, too, and not just in winter. I regret that when we lived in Grand Forks, we didn't take the time to visit north.

craziequeen said...

Happy Day After Canada Day, Carmi!

I am proud of my country, I guess - but it is proving very hard to ever show it. We're not allowed to fly flags or be at all nationalistic here in the UK.

cq

kenju said...

I used to have a Canadian neighbor. She was convinced that Americans don't like Canadians, and she was not shy about saying so. I couldn't understand why she felt that way, because I had never met anyone who said anything bad about Canada or Canadians, plus I had visited the country and found it charming.

In a discussion with 2-3 other neighbors, I found out why she felt that way. She had a very caustic manner; she was blunt and not tactful at all. When people reacted badly to her, she blamed in on the fact that she was Canadian - not on her own personality.

I'd love to visit Canada again, Carmi, even though I enjoy living in the US. I love my country and I think it is among the best places on earth. However, I am not blind to our faults either. We have much that we ought not be proud of (politics is one).

Tabor said...

Thanks for reminding me why I love the United States...in spite of all our weaknesses and shortsightedeness, I still would rather live here than any other country. This is probably why we envy Canada just a little...we are more alike than we think.

Jamie Dawn said...

I have visited Toronto and Montreal, and I enjoyed it very much.
Montreal is wonderful!! There were gorgeous tulips everywhere.
My mom had a minor stroke there, and we experienced the medical system, which was not a pleasant thing. Had her stroke been worse, I fear she would have died waiting. Other than that, my Canadian experience was very good.
My mother does business in Canada all the time.
She has many friends there.

I love being an American!! I'm proud of my country and its heritage. I think it speaks highly of any nation whose citizens are happy to be just that.... citizens of their home country.

I hope your Canada Day holiday was terrific!!
I'm glad our countries are neighbors. :-)

Linda said...

Happy Canada Day!!!

I don't think I realized how I felt about my own country until I lived in another country. We lived in Belgium for one year and one year was long enough to realize how good we had it, even though there is always going to be some who ruin it for the rest. The bottom line is that I love our liberties and I'll fight to keep them now that I've seen what it's like not to have them.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm proud of being American, of course. I mean, we're loud and obnoxious, right? And we get to drive over the border next week (the 12th) to see the Hoser side of Niagara Falls, too.

I just wish that the US attempt at Tikkun Olam wasn't going so badly... Noble idea, horrid execution, ya know?

tommiea said...

Happy Canada day...

Am I a fan of our country.??..yes, I am...but I want my hubby home....alive and well....sooner than later.

Diane Mandy said...

I appreciate the freedoms I have here in the U.S. and certainly love to opportunities living here has afforded me, but I tend to shy away from being too nationalistic or thinking my country is better than another, I consider myself a citizen of this planet first, and a US citizen second. Make any sense?

Lori said...

I love living in America, and though I'd like to see more of the world, I'm happy at home in the USA.

I wrote about Canada today, also. Hope you had a special day!

P.S. Thanks for visiting..and for your kind words - so appreciated!

Awareness said...

Hi Carmi.

I wouldn't want to live anywhere else....for many quirky reasons. ;)

Joy T. said...

I LOVE being Canadian and everything about Canada. Well mostly anyway. Nothing's perfect right :o) We watched the fireworks last night and they were spectacular as usual.

leslie said...

Happy Canada day. I must say that I love Canada and wish I was Canadian. You put it very well; Canada is a nation that takes care of its own. The US, not so much...

moon said...

I love being Canadian, our country is so beautiful, vast and diverse. Each province is beautiful for different reasons and our peoples are mostly caring and open with the added bonus of sharing cultural differences through out our land. Nothing is perfect ofcourse but Canada is among one of the best places in the world to live. I feel very fortunate to have been born here. My husband is from France, he recently became an official citizen...and just recently voted for the first time in our last provincial election...I have been thrilled to show him part of our rockies out west, miles of the saskatchewan prairies that show as a beautiful patch work quilt if u see if from above...and recently we have been through some of ontario and enjoyed Niagara Falls ...We have ofcourse enjoyed lot's of here in Quebec but there is SO MUCH MORE to see...I have yet to see our beautiful merritimes...we hope to share that experience together some day.
So many canadians I have met tend to go off to other countries for vacation and know little of what our own country holds. I have been lucky to have lived in every province from BC to Quebec... I love to travel..and as much as I intend to see other worlds, I cherish Canada and it's landscape.
Sorry Carmi...I sure went on and on lol, but u asked...and once I start about Canada, it's hard to stop lol
Hope u and yours had a great CANADA DAY!

Beverly said...

I love my country and consider myself very blessed to have been born here with the freedoms that we have. Whenever I see our flag in a parade, or sing the national anthem at an activity, a lump rises in my throat.

God bless America.

CG said...

I am proud to be British, although that's a very un-British thing to say...we "don't do" patriotism and tend to go for the old irony/understatement instead. My best friend is Canadian and in the two weeks I spent visiting her, I fell in love with Canada and found every single Canadian I met to be friendly, polite and kind. I love the way Canadians laugh at themselves - that's the British sort of humour.

Terri said...

That "cozy feeling" about one's country that you describe. Ah yes....I vaguely recall somewhere in the deepest recesses of my mind, that I once had that feeling as well.
Unfortunately, the past almost 8 years in this country has slowly diminished that feeling for me. But always the optimist...perhaps soon I, too, may capture that feeling once again.
And a belated Happy Canada Day to you and yours.

Mike said...

I have been around a little bit in the world. If I had to choose another place to live than the US it would be Canada. I have never met so many nice people as I did on our trip over Lake Superior and on the Algoma Central Railroad to Hearst, Ontario. Everyone and I mean each and every one we met made a terrific impression on my family.

Great picture and a stirring commentary.