Contrary to popular belief, Canada is not a country with “lumber jacks and curlers.” Nor does Canada equal hockey and beer. What Canada is though, is a multicultural haven, a country where freedom of speech is honoured, health care is not the HMO, and it is a place where the simplest pleasures can be found in our picturesque landscapes.
Canada embraces every race, colour, and religion. This acceptance is evident from British Columbia to Newfoundland. It is almost impossible to walk down any main street in Canada and pass a store or restaurant that is purely Canadian. (Technically, nothing is purely Canadian unless it is of native nature.) Turn on the radio and there are stations that cater to a variety of languages. The same holds true for television, where the station CFMT stands for “Canada’s First Multicultural Television” and its programs range from Italian soap operas to Chinese films. My own city of Hamilton is host to a number of multicultural festivals every year, such at the Festival of Friends and It’s Your Festival.
In 1982, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau gave Canadians the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It states that, “everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communications; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.” In many other countries, the word “freedom” is a foreign thought. Canadians are lucky to be able to voice their opinions on any subject, whereas in other countries such an act may result in imprisonment or even execution. It’s comforting to know that in essence the citizens of Canada are the ones who actually run the country.
It is also comforting to know that if I ever become sick, I won’t have to worry about paying for all the care that I may need. All governmental jobs and many other places of employment in Canada are provided with health care plans, which cover most medical costs. Surprisingly enough, Canada is pretty much the only country with this kind of health protection. Even our southern neighbours have to resort to private care and HMOs.
It is no secret that Canada is composed primarily of uninhabited land and that this land is undoubtedly scenic. For years Canadian artists have been capturing the beauty of our land in thousands of paintings: the snow capped Rocky Mountains; the wheat fields that stretch across the sprawling prairies of the mid-west; the Great Lakes of Ontario; and the maritime ports. Canada’s nature and people have also been discovered by a group of Canadian painters, internationally known as the Group of Seven. These seven men have managed to show the world Canada’s beauty and splendor.
I am proud to be a Canadian for more reasons than can be stated. Many people take for granted this great country that we live in as we slowly become Americanized. However, Canada’s independence will continue to shine no matter what happens. We define peace and tranquility. No one will ever “blame Canada.”