Canada stands out as a beacon of hope in the world we find ourselves in today. In the lead-up to the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, it is important to reflect on why that is the case.
For starters, the founders of our country recognized from a very early point in our history that the only way for us to survive as a nation would be to find common ground with one another. In a country where we have a vast physical terrain but few people to occupy it, working together is what has shaped our country’s history. This spirit of working together from coast to coast to coast continues to shape our future.
Millennia before Confederation and the settlement of New France, this has been the land of Indigenous peoples. But we are also a country of immigrants, which has opened its doors to people from all across the globe, no matter their ethnicity, religion or country of origin. My own father is an immigrant, who came from southern Italy and arrived in the middle of a northern Ontario winter before settling in Madoc. We have offered those seeking refuge a new home, and the opportunity to thrive. We have welcomed them as new Canadians, and perhaps most importantly, we have offered them hope for the future. That proud tradition continues to this day.
Our country is one of the most free and fair countries in the world. We are incredibly lucky to live in a place where we do not have to fear persecution, and where we are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Canada is also a place where someone like me — who comes from humble beginnings and lives in a small hamlet of 50 people — can become a Member of Parliament. As I always tell the young people I meet: you can be a Member of Parliament too!
These opportunities, values, and traditions, as well as our unassuming nature, make Canada an example to the world. Canada’s 150th birthday is a special time! It is a time for us to celebrate as a country, reflect on our past, and to look toward the future.
Mike Bossio, Member of Parliament for Hastings-Lennox and Addington