In today’s Ottawa Citizen I read and article by Drew Gough titled A wanderer’s guide to patriotism. The author seems to be struggling with his Canadian identity and understanding what it is to be a Canadian. He mentions that in his travels he makes sure to sew a Canadian flag on his back pack because of his fear of being identified as an American . He states “Sure, I was proud to not be American, but I didn’t feel quite proud to be Canadian, if only because I didn’t know what it meant.”
He ends his article by stating “Though it may be healthy to be challenged in this way and to try to come to terms with oneself (as an individual or as a nation), most 20-something Canadians will stumble with the question of “What is being Canadian?”
So this blog is written to all of those Canadians who are struggling with their Canadian Identity.
A few years ago I had something cross my desk that just blew me away. There was a report in the world news that someone in Pakistan had placed an ad in a newspaper with an offer of a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian-any Canadian. Who in God’s name would want to kill a peace-loving people like us Canadians kind of boggles my mind but I guess there are a lot of unbalanced people out there.
Any way according to this item I read (which unfortunately does not have a source) an Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what a Canadian is, so that they would know one when they found one. Here is what he wrote.
“A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan.
A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux or one of the many tribes known as native Canadians. (Note he forgot our northern neighbours the Inuit). Canadian religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. In fact there are more Muslims in Canada than in Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada, they are free to worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God. A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which recognizes the right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.
A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds. But they also welcome the least,-the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected. These are the people who build Canada.
You can try to kill a Canadian if you must, as other blood- thirsty tyrants in the world have tried but, in doing so, you could just be killing a relative or a neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be Canadian. “
Now if you are a Canadian or a citizen of the world and after reading this you do not have a lump in your throat, than you are a lost cause. Isn’t odd that it took an Australian to describe a Canadian? Although frankly I am not surprised considering the wonderful treatment I received each time I have travelled to Australia.
So Drew I hope this will help you and your 20 something friends better understand what it means to be a Canadian.
Happy Canada Day.