In Grade 11, I had the chance to participate in the Forum for Young Canadians. It’s an annual event where youths from across the country come to Ottawa for a week to tour parliment, learn about government, our history and about each other. It was there that I learned to appreciate this country that I live in, learned that not all Senators and MPs are as cynical and corrupt as some may think (although these days, it’s hard to think otherwise) and that some of them truly love this country, that not all Quebecers hate this country (and that some of them think that the rest of the country hates them) and that we, as citizens of this country, have a lot to be proud of.
For example, did you know that the reason that the British forces didn’t fall in the beginning when they were basically fighting World War II by themselves was because of Canadian support? We gave them supplies and troops to hold the line for years, even though countries like the United States refused to help. On a similar note, did you know that even though many of the Allied countries never quite completed their mission objectives, it was the Canadian Forces that came the closest? As a part of that mission, we helped liberate The Netherlands.
Did you know that it was a Canadian (Lester B. Pearson, to be exact) that was responsible for the creation of the UN Peacekeeping forces? That our nation’s love for peace is why there has been Canadian involvement in every single UN Peacekeeping mission since its inception? That Canadian soldiers have faced bombardment and bloodshed for over 30 years, all in the name of peace?
There are many things that us as Canadians should be proud of but I honestly don’t think that we’re aware of either. As we struggle to find ways to escape the shadow of our neighbors to the south, it’d be nice if we could realize that we’ve done plenty in the past that we should recognize and be proud of and instead of trying to escape the shadow of the US, we should let our past deeds stand as testiment to the pride we have in our nation.
Happy Birthday, Canada!