Nation, State or Country?

I’d like to wish all visitors to this website a very happy Canada Day. Today marks the unofficial start of the BBQ season and a good time to share some cold beers with friends.

Today, I am pondering what people are celebrating this wonderful day.

Does Canada Day represent the celebration of a “nation” of people, a celebration similar to that held by Quebeckers to fete their own self-identified nation? Certainly many people of Quebec share a common heritage, yet Quebec contains others from a variety of backgrounds. Similarly, Canada cannot be labeled a “nation” of people for the same reason. From the very foundation of this country, this country has been constituents of peoples from a variety nations. Is Canada a nation of nations? Perhaps, but the idea of “nation” is not the appropriate term as Canada is not a “nation” in the conventional sense as known in old-world Europe, or Asia or nations in between.

So, on Canada Day should we be celebrating the state? Certainly, in past years much has been written about Canadian identity and how, for some, our identity is rooted in the state. But do national programs and institutions define Canadians and who we are? Are we citizens of New Brunswick, Canada and the National Heathcare system? Do Canadians swear loyalty to the national childcare allowance? Certainly, Canada should not be defined by national institutions. There must be something more appealing than the cold concept of the state that we celebrate. What is it that fires the spirit of Canadians to celebrate Canada?

I believe that as Canadians, we celebrate our ideals and our values. As Canadians, we should celebrate our beautiful geography that has given us so much, yet is deserving of our respect and proper management. We can celebrate a country that is formed by nation of peoples, yet one that seeks a common and prosperous future. We should celebrate our history which describes sacrifice of our Western settlers, historical figures that challenged a restrictive status quo to uncover liberty for others and we should celebrate those that found to defend Queen, country and freedom from tyranny in a variety of conflicts including two world wars, Korea, Bosnia, and Afghanistan.

On Canada Day we should celebrate our country. We should celebrate this country that seeks to protect, instead of limit, the liberties bestowed upon all people at birth.

To me, perhaps the most striking example of what deserves celebration is our freedom to debate the important questions. I enjoy every opportunity that I have to contribute to the discussion.

Happy Canada Day.