By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on July 3, 2020.
We’re incredibly blessed to call Canada home.
A country where people from all kinds of backgrounds and traditions have come together in order to form a nation established on liberty, social responsibility, and respect – a nation whose strength is the freedom we enjoy each and every day.
Because of that freedom, we serve as a pillar of hope to many around the world.
Within this great country, it is my great honour to serve as the Member of Parliament for Lethbridge.
Have you ever travelled in a foreign country with a maple leaf on your luggage? The Red Maple Leaf is known around the world as a symbol of peace and freedom. By presenting it on our bags, we display pride in the country we call home and the powerful symbol often attracts favour from other tourists and those in the towns and cities we visit. During his Marathon of Hope, Terry Fox proudly displayed our flag on his T-shirts and the brave women and men who faithfully serve our country in the Canadian Armed Forces proudly display the Maple Leaf on their uniform. It’s a powerful symbol that stands for freedom, peace, and hope – it captivates the imaginations of newcomers and inspires those with a pioneering spirit. This vast land we call Canada is remarkable. Its breathtaking coastlines, towering Rockies, running rivers, freshwater lakes, frozen tundra, spectacular forests and incredible wildlife all create an attractive ideal. But this stunning landscape is not what makes Canada great. Our country is amazing because of the people within it.
Land is just land. What makes a nation worth celebrating is the people who inhabit that land, and what makes a nation great, is the values and principles those people choose to uphold. Canada is the envy of the world because we have chosen to stand on the principles of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. We value and care for people. Our ways have not been perfect, but we are maturing and growing as a country, looking for the best solutions and the most creative ways to make life better.
We have a rich history that informs our present. For thousands of years this land was inhabited by Indigenous peoples who thrived in nature and who continue to inspire us by sharing their culture, language, traditions and wealth of knowledge through art, storytelling and celebration.
Settlers later came from France and Britain and the Dominion of Canada was formed with just four provinces. As we became more autonomous from Britain, our own national identity was formed.
Today, our 10 provinces and three territories, filled with the most culturally and ethnically diverse people, create a stunning tapestry that is found almost nowhere else on Earth. We enjoy this beautiful diversity because we are a people that value freedom. We hold it in such high regard that we created the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and enshrined it into our Constitution.
Freedom is our strength. It is what sets us apart and it is what allows us to dream, innovate, challenge, debate, discover and create. Because we are not bound to the confines of our past, we have the ability to work harder at ensuring the best attributes of Canada become stronger for future generations.
So many have gone before us and invested their lives into building this country. Men and women have fought in wars and sacrificed much to defend freedom and defeat tyranny that would otherwise threaten our safety and security.
Having received this great inheritance, it is up to each of us to steward the gift we’ve been granted. The Red Maple Leaf stands as a symbol of peace, freedom and hope, only for as long as we are vigilant and take personal responsibility to stand on guard for the values we hold dear. This is a noble calling.
Canada truly is a land of opportunity. We believe in the individual’s potential, which is why we function best as a society with limited government. Government is not our enemy, it is necessary, but history has shown us that when government stays small and focuses on the essentials of looking after the safety and security of Canadians, while facilitating an environment of economic prosperity, people thrive. In a free society, where government exists to serve the people (not the other way around), individuals can dream, create, build and prosper.
We are a nation filled with potential. Together, we have an opportunity to learn from our past, steward our future, and build a vibrant tomorrow.