So, what does it mean to you to be a proud Canadian?
The answer to that question can take many forms. For some, being proud to be Canadian means not being forced to think about the topic until Canada Day rolls around. The fact we’re not flag wavers to the degree of our neighbours to the south is important to some as a way of maintaining the quietly patriotic, understated way of being that has earned us respect around the world.
During the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Whistler and the Lower Mainland, however, we found out just how enthusiastically patriotic we could be, seeing Canadian athletes compete wearing the red and white and proudly holding high the medals they won for their country.
We get another chance to cheer our athletes this year in Rio de Janeiro during the Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
A different answer about pride for being Canadian comes from immigrants who have received their citizenship, especially those who escaped violence and/or oppression in their native countries. They often list such reasons as feeling safe on the streets, that their families are not in danger and being able to live where bombs are not exploding regularly nearby.
It’s unfortunate that for some people, their level of pride in being Canadian relates to political actions on the world stage. Our lack of commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, for example, left some feeling ashamed of our country. On the other hand, moves to right such wrongs as the wartime internment of Japanese Canadians, and the treatment of our young aboriginal people has left many more uplifted about being Canadian.
And of course the word itself, pride, has taken on a whole new connotation in relation to Canadians who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning. We hope there comes a day when one’s sexual preference or gender identification has no bearing upon their acceptance in Canada.
We have many reasons to be proud today and all year. Regardless of our differences, we’re all in this country together.