Canada turns 153-years-old on Wednesday.
Traditionally this time of the year is when this space would be reserved to humbly brag about the Great White North-and this year will be no different but like everything in 2020 there’s going to be a COVID-19 twist.
Fear not, this is not going to be another downer-despite what some may say about us media types; most of us really don’t enjoy spreading a message of doom and gloom.
Instead let’s focus on the fact Canadians have come together to face this challenge.
Canada was about four months removed from a rather nasty and ugly election when the first confirmed case of the virus was reported within our borders. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals hold a minority government, meaning more Canadians actually voted for another party than they did the one currently in power. Needless to say, the conditions were ripe for division within this great land.
Instead our government’s major parties showed a rather refreshing ability to work together and encourage Canadians of all voting backgrounds to take the virus seriously and follow the recommendations of our top doctors. Granted there were some exceptions, but generally speaking politicians agreed the threat associated with the pandemic was very real. Compared to the U.S., where president Donald Trump himself held a campaign rally on Saturday against the advice of health officials, it’s not that surprising the two neighbouring countries have seen two very different results in terms of containing the virus.
According to Worldmeters.info, the Untied States accounts for 25.99 per cent (2,364,718 total) of all cases outside of China, Canada 1.2 per cent (101,498 total). In terms of deaths, the U.S. reports 119,453, Canada 8,410.
Several other factors undoubtedly play a huge role in those numbers-population density and age among them-but it’s still a rather noticeable difference.
That’s not to say Canada’s response has been flawless, much of it was done on the fly and with the benefit of hindsight there’s always going to be things that could have been done better. That’s also not to make light of those who lost their lives nor is it to imply the pandemic is over. Looking around the world however, it’s easy to see things could have been a lot worse if we Canadians didn’t follow the advice of our experts.
Fortunately we live in a country where some people will point to those numbers and scoff, saying Canada over reacted and was too cautious and needlessly shutdown the economy. It certainly beats the alternative, where those same people might take the government to task for not shutting things down if our numbers were anything close to that of the U.S.
For what it’s worth, we’re not the only ones who think we’re great-U.S. News has ranked Canada the best country in terms of quality of life for a second straight year, ahead of Denmark and Sweden. The U.S. checked in at no. 15.
As we toast Canada on its birthday, it’s another reminder that we’re far from perfect but still pretty close to it at the same time.