Unfortunately, I feel I must begin this with a disclaimer that I realize that this 150th celebration is controversial, and that our governments and citizens have not always made the best choices. This post has nothing to do with that, but is simply about Canada, our home and native land, and what it’s role and our role is in the bigger picture.
Two summers ago we went on a road trip to the Sault Ste. Marie area, and throughout the whole time my eyes took in the landscape of the beautiful rock that is known as The Canadian Shield. Maybe it was the fresh air, or the frigid swimming in Lake Superior (it was July, but the water was so cold I honestly thought a chunk of ice was going to float by me at any moment) but I started to ponder “Canadian Shield” and it began to take on a whole new meaning for me. And while I realize it is a geographical and geological term, I couldn’t help but see the correlation between the rock formation and who we are and why this land is so special?
Politically, we are a peacekeeping nation, and that somehow translates to how we behave as citizens. We are extremely considerate (“I’m sorry”), and let’s face it, “we the north” are fairly hardy and strong. We’re very considerate having such “glowing hearts” and, gosh darnit, we’ll even “stand on guard for thee”. We are the strong, but quiet, humble nation that the rest of the world looks at as a coveted place to live or emulate.
While there are many stereotypes about Canada and Canadians, as a multicultural nation of people, frankly we embody “Canadian Shield”. Somewhere along the line we got something right, and whether we are the indigenous people of the land or are immigrants, the qualities of the ancient Precambrian rock have a huge influence on our identity as Canadians.
When seeing Canada from a global perspective, Canada may not be the top nation in the world, but we definitely hold our own. We can do this because our Canadian Shield protects us, and when we are called to help, we take action in a grounded, stable, and secure way. We’re not wishy-washy, dramatic, emotional, and we don’t flare-up and create enemies. I like participating as this role in our global society.
On this auspicious day, my hope is that you can now celebrate our current Canadian identity with a slightly new perspective.
O Canada, Happy Birthday, may you always hold your shield, and never have to draw your sword!