As Canada marks its 144th birthday on Friday, it’s worth giving a little thought to this country of ours.
Canadians aren’t as unabashedly patriotic as some other nationalities. There are some good reasons. The country was founded by people of English, French, Scottish and Irish backgrounds, and many of those founders (and their descendants) were and are modest by nature.
They came to a wilderness that was the longtime home of a wide variety of aboriginal people, all of whom had unique and fascinating cultures. Early Canadians, native and non-native, often endured unbelievable hardship to keep their families alive in a land that could be brutally harsh.
Others, particularly those who lived in this part of Canada, enjoyed in a milder climate with abundant resources.
While some native people and early settlers clashed, many others lived in harmony. It remains one of Canada’s unresolved challenges to ensure that the descendants of those native people whose families have been here for thousands of years are treated as full and equal members of Canadian society. Some strides have been made — more are necessary.
Other than the native people, everyone who lives in Canada today is an immigrant or descendant of an immigrant. This is one of the great strengths of this country. Most of its citizens or their ancestors have come from elsewhere. They came here for opportunity. With hard work, they got chances that were often denied to them in their homelands.
Canada continues to be a nation of immigrants, and this is one of its greatest virtues. Immigrants are welcomed here, in a land where nationality and background are no longer barriers to opportunity.
It is instructive that so many immigrants have been very successful in Canada — starting new businesses, ensuring that their children have good educations, and giving back to the community and the country.
Canada Day, being celebrated at both Fort Langley and McLeod Park, is an opportunity to reflect on the rich heritage and bright future of Canada, which remains a great place to live.