I was talking to my Mom, Dad, and some other people about what I posted the other day relating to my feelings of nationalism. Through discussing the issue with them at length, I have come to a few realizations about what we are as a nation.
First of all, I think that Canada has a national identity, and a strong one at that, I just haven't found it yet. Secondly, it came up in our discussions that what I was demanding to know from the world were also things that I was demanding to know from myself. I have yet to forge myself in the fires that will make me who I am, and I'm itching to find out what I will become.
So, if Canada has a strong identity, what is it?
Well for one, we have an excellent reputation abroad as diplomats and peacekeepers, a legacy started and continued by Lester Pearson during the 1950's and 1960's that continues today. Secondly, we don't throw our weight around like our neighbours to the south. Granted, when they throw their weight in our direction we tend to comply more often than not. But when left to our own devices, we don't pursue any action without first considering it in depth.
Canada is a wide open expanse of land, full of green forests, rugged tundra, and golden plains. We are connected to three of the world's oceans and have the world's second largest landmass. If America is the land of the free, Canada is freedom itself.
This freedom is expressed in our laws as well. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is embedded in the Constitution, making it far more effective at protecting our democratic, legal, mobility, equality, economic, fundamental, bilingual, and many other rights. Freedom is something that Canada personifies and emulates.
Speaking of equality, as Canadians we value acceptance. As a multicultural nation, we accept people of every set of stripes and from all walks of life inside our borders. We take in refugees, we give the underprivledged homes, and we give the people of the world a chance for a brighter future. Instead of assimilating all of those inside our borders, we allow them to exist as mini-nations in their own right, adding to our own cultural richness. Our multiculturalism is like a buffet of beliefs, you can try a little bit of everything until you find the stuff you like, and then everyone's happy.
Of course, Canada is particularly famous for being bilingual. I'm not exactly sure, but I'll bet that we are the only developed country to have two official languages. Again, this symbolizes our cultural acceptance of others and our values of equality.
Canada is also reliable. If we committ to something, we follow through. In Afghanistan, we voted to go in and help rebuild their nation. We have not backed out, and we have maintained our committment to that country and also to our Allies. The world depended on us to take aciton, and we followed through. Now that we are nearing the end of the time that we said we would stay there until, we are having a fair, public debate on whether we want to stay longer or not. This excercise in democratic fair process is excellent and noteworthy, one that countries around the world can look at and follow.
One thing that my dad and I talked about in particular last night is the notion that you don't have to make a lot of noise to be a leader. Just because Canada doesn't make a lot of noise doesn't mean that we're not world leaders. We are. We just don't advertise it to the rest of the world like America does.
Now that I look at these things that I have said about Canada, I can identify these values and charcteristics within myself. And I can say that I am proud of them. These values are shared by the resrt of the country, and they make me who I am. They make me Canadian.
True North, Strong and Free.
P.S. I've decided to no longer call myself Duck. It was a weird sort of randomness that I took a shine to, and I no longer feel that way.