I want to wave our flag today. I want to sing O Canada. I want to sit in a back yard BBQ and I want to see the flag fly over Parliament. I want to shake my head in disappointment and shout my frustration. I want to say thank you! and to urge us to do better. I want all of these things and more for such is the complicated country in which we live. Such is Canada.
In our country you don’t have to worry about going into debt to pay for a needed medical procedure and we try to help those who are most vulnerable. In our country you have the right to criticize without fear of reprisal and if you have a dream and work hard you have the potential of seeing it realized. In our country, our O Canada, we are blessed by abundance and possibility.
But in our country we have skeletons in the closet and have left many behind. In an online newspaper I see examples of this. The failure of the Senate to pass a bill protecting the rights of the Transgendered and another that tells the tale of how money was withheld from those with low incomes. We also have the failure of parliament to take the steps to investigate the missing aboriginal women who are as important to Canada as are the homeless and working poor and the mentally ill. And while all this is happening, the abundance of our land is under threat by our drive to compete in a furiously fast global economy.
Yet I can’t help it, I still love singing our national anthem. I see acts of kindness all year long and see good people building a better tomorrow for their children and neighbours. While I am celebrating today with my family there are those who are missing someone they lost. And while I am singing O Canada someone else is trying to find some place safe to lay their head for the night. And all of this happens in the space it takes us to reach the last words of I stand on guard for thee.
That’s the point though. Canada is a celebration of how great we are and can be, and at the same time shines light on the problems we haven’t come to grips with. So as you sing O Canada today or tonight, as you watch fireworks erupt and put your arms around your family and neighbours, take a second and see it all. See all of our true north strong and free and recommit yourself to the power of its ideals, the potential of its future, and the problems we still need to tackle.