Happy (belated) birthday, Canada

Canada turned 152 on Monday.

Amid the fireworks, flag waving and parades, July 1 is also a perfect time to reflect on how fortunate it is to live within the boundaries of the Great White North.

Aesthetically, this land has plenty to offer from rocky mountains, beautiful lakes and picturesque sunsets. There’s no shortage of waterfront views as 60 per cent of the world’s lakes can be found in Canada.

But the things that make Canada great go beyond skin deep. The right to vote, get married and worship any religion is enjoyed by all Canadian residents. Basic as they may sound, these would be considered privileges in many nations around the world, not birthrights. Though often taken for granted, it’s nice to live in a land where one doesn’t have to give much thought to these rights.

It’s not just Canadians who talk up this nation either. A 2019 poll conducted by U.S. News and World Report listed Canada as the third best country in the world, checking in behind Japan and Switzerland. Canada’s placing was powered by its business environment and citizenship. Among millennials, Canada was the top-rated country. Our neighbours to the south, who celebrate their Independence Day today, placed eighth.

Immigration will no doubt be a hot topic issue in October’s election. While each party will have their different take on the matter, the fact that so many people are hopeful of coming here is at the very least an indication Canada is highly revered around the globe.
That’s not to say everything is perfect. Canada has its dark moments in history, which include inhumane treatment of its own people. Moments that shouldn’t be swept under the rug, rather ones that can serve as a lesson for future generations. A recent willingness to admit these wrongdoings doesn’t forgive them, but is at least a step in the right direction.

Though there’s been missteps over the years, there’s plenty examples of Canada being on the right side of history as well. Be it the Underground Railroad which helped slaves escape the oppression of the southern U.S., Canada’s willingness to stand up to Adolph Hitler’s Nazi regime to more recent examples such as passing a law to make all marriages legal in Canada to accepting Syrian families fleeing their war torn homeland.
Despite some flaws, Canadians have many reasons to haughtily display the Maple Leaf.

So here’s to a happy (belated) birthday to Canada. May it continue to give us reasons to be proud.

-Adam Prudhomme

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