Around Canada Day — and especially this Canada Day, the 150th anniversary of Confederation — the glowing adjectives about our country come fast and furious: prosperous, free, compassionate, tolerant, open… feel free to come up with a few glowing adjectives of your own.
Canada is all those things, to be sure.
Over that century-and-a-half, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride, however. A few times, Confederation nearly lost one of its founding partners in Quebec. Nationalist sentiment in that province is undergoing a relatively quiet period lately, but as long as there’s a Parti Quebecois and Bloc Quebecois, we know separatism still has a voice, and a constituency.
Canada’s Indigenous people, meanwhile, continue to fight for their own voice within Confederation. It is this struggle that, in our view, is the single biggest obstacle to achieving true Canadian greatness. Until Indigenous communities begin to enjoy equally in Canadian prosperity, and become equal partners in the Canadian project, that project will remain incomplete and unfulfilled.
Clearly, Canada doesn’t have all the answers yet. There is still much work and much progress to achieve. But despite these challenges and many others, we do feel as though Canada is still moving the ball forward, as it has since 1867.
Canada achieved through peaceful means what others had to gain through war and conflict. Sure, it may make our history books a little dry, but we still serve as an example to the world what can be gained without having to pick up a weapon.
Not that we haven’t distinguished ourselves when the time has come to go to war. As soldiers, Canadians have always punched well above their weight. Indeed, many argue that it was during the First World War that Canada truly gained independence and a voice of its own on the world stage. This, too, is a legacy to be proud of.
Canada has been well served by its founding principles, that every Canadian has the right to peace, order and good government; and that every Canadian has the right to live their lives in their own way, within the bounds of democratic law. In sticking to those core values, we don’t think Canada can go wrong.
We also believe that it’s in our successes that we can find hope in addressing our shortcomings. As we hit this important milestone, we think it’s important that we reflect on what has made Canada great, and to resolve to make Canada better.