It’s Canada Day, and it might just be a day a lot of people forget is going on.
COVID-19 has put the kibosh on most local area events tied to the day, so there will be no heading to the Western Development Museum in the city for the regular festivities hosted there.
There will be no gathering for fireworks to mark our countries birthday.
Yet, this is a year we should be celebrating our country, perhaps with greater exuberance than usual.
Why you ask?
Well as a country Canada, simply put, remains a fantastic place to live.
Yes folks we as a country have our warts, flaws and shortcomings, but any country with as diverse a population, as varied in its regions, as open to public debate, will manifest tensions.
But, sitting here just north of the United States gives us a bird’s eye view of things when they really begin to trundle off the rails.
As COVID-19 has spread around the world, some countries have rallied to the defence of its people’s health, others have largely shirked that responsibility.
In Canada, how we addressed the threat might not be seen as perfect, but the numbers of infected and dead indicate we have done a pretty good job of facing the threat.
The thanks in that effort goes to government, to frontline health workers, and to the general public, most of whom have listened to the advice of best science and did the social distancing and hand sanitizing and staying at home necessary to slow the spread.
Peek over the 49th parallel and the effort of government leadership on COVID-19 is questionable at best, and the buy-in of the populace to protect one another is lacking.
Then in the midst of a health crisis the ugliness of racism came to a boil in the US, with protestors taking to the street, many of them sadly there to stir up trouble rather than to bring attention to the issue. A rally in protest of something needing changed is a good thing in a democracy. Devolving that protest into a riot is not.
Here in Canada people took to the streets too in support of what has been labelled ‘Black Lives Matter’. Thankfully, in Canada the protests remained largely peaceful, which frankly is our way as a nation. That people felt the need to protest in a time of COVID-19 shows the seriousness of the issue, and yes racism most certainly exists on our country. We need to do better, but we start that process ahead of the curve a step or two on what we see elsewhere in the world.
Then as Canada marks its birthday think of our country’s response to fire in Fort McMurray, the outpouring of emotion and support at the tragic Humboldt Bronco bus crash, at how we rally to support those in need, and again we have reason to feel proud as a nation.
We are not perfect, but as we stand Canada is still a country with more to be proud of than most.