July 22nd, 2024

Canadians have many reasons to celebrate our country

By Lethbridge Herald on July 2, 2022.

Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald

Yesterday, Canada celebrated its national holiday for the second straight year without COVID-19 restrictions dampening the fun.

Finally, the crowds could return to public venues with organizations having plenty of time to plan special events for Canada Day.

Of course, not everyone was in the celebratory mood with many issues clouding our country including reconciliation. But there comes a day when we need to put our differences aside and reach out to each other and celebrate what we do have in common – such as life, liberty, freedom of expression, peace and so many other things that make Canada special. Our country, like many others throughout history, has struggled with equality, fairness and justice since its founding. Look at untold other countries and their brutal histories of colonization, exploitation and conquering. Humankind has been horrible to each other since people eons ago first started expanding their horizons. 

Canada unfortunately is no exception. Peoples of all races and religions on this planet have slaughtered, enslaved and humiliated others in the name of power, control and conquest. It’s an unfortunate reality of our  species – a species that is pathetically harmful to and inconsiderate of all life on earth, including our own kind.

And we see that by the destruction of our oceans and forests, the extinction of many species of life. Humans are a very self-centred, hurtful and destructive species. Yet we are blessed with the ability to think, analyze, plan and construct which should make us more intelligent. But the positives of humankind too often are overshadowed by the negatives which often inevitably are motivated by power and money, which can be the worst evils of this entire world when in the wrong hands.

Certainly many in Canada will feel shame about our country and will not see anything worth celebrating but we all can. For instance, consider insulin which was discovered by Canadians in Canada – a life-saver for untold people around the globe who would have died prematurely from diabetes if not for it.

Canadians have played key roles in medicine, science and so many other fields that have made life better for all mankind. While we often complain about our over-taxed health system, the fact is we have one, that despite its inefficiencies, does give all Canadians a chance at survival when illness or disease strikes.

We have a universal healthcare system that leaves no one wanting financially for the help they desperately need. We have outstanding colleges and universities where Canadians can get a quality education to help them achieve their life goals. We have much to celebrate in this country. 

Like many others around the world, we have much to be shameful about as we are reminded every single day. 

But at least Canadians are making the effort to address its past – we aren’t hiding it under a rug and pretending it doesn’t exist. Canadians of all walks of life, all religions and political beliefs are recognizing the harm done by the founders of this country.

How many other nations I wonder are making the same concerted efforts Canada is to address their pasts, efforts I know may never be enough for many.

But if we are going to survive as a species, Canadians of all races, all political beliefs and all religions need to work together to help ensure a better future for all of our descendants. The same goes for the residents of every other country on this planet.

We all need to work together and reconcile our collective differences to see that we don’t go the way of the dinosaurs.

Canada has its problems, no doubt, but we also have the ability and the people to overcome the issues that divide us. And that is going to take each and every one of us working together to accomplish.

Just like two-way traffic can’t flow down a one-way street, respect can’t exist if it’s only one-sided. We need more open lanes of dialogue to include all points of view in this country on many issues just as we need more than one lane going in one single direction on our streets and highways.

NOTE: Starting with this week’s column, I will be running – if this is on a colour page – one of the many photos I take in a course of a week. 

I truly appreciate the kind words about the nature images I shoot and to lighten things up a bit, I thought I would start sharing them.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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