It’s Canada’s 150th birthday! It’s a HUGE deal. Everyone’s celebrating! From restaurants and retailers, to parks and museums. While we’re all proud to be sporting our red and white and singing the national anthem, it’s an especially momentous anniversary for so many of the new Canadians we’ve welcomed into our schools, neighbourhoods and lives.
It’s no secret that our Prime Minister stepped up on a grand scale by accepting over 25,000 Syrian refugees, but that’s only a fraction of the total refugees and immigrants our country has welcomed. This Canada Day, I couldn’t be prouder. Our country is as diverse as its landscape, and it’s that same diversity that helps us flourish on a global scale. We welcome each other’s differences, we’re polite, we’re great at hockey and, boy do we love our poutine here in my home province!
So while I’ll be celebrating our nation’s birthday at the end of this month, I’ll also be giving thanks for leadership that is inclusive of our diverse communities. When you’re a visible minority and you hear the Prime Minister THANK YOU for being here, whether you’re born here or not, but simply BEING here, it hits home. Hard.
When your Prime Minister says that our nation is strong not in spite of our differences but BECAUSE of them, it gives you all the right feels.
It’s hard enough moving homes and cities, I cannot fathom what it would be like to leave your country to settle in a foreign land, with a foreign language and different customs. Not to mention the social unrest, violence, certain death, war and other such atrocities that so many of these new Canadians are leaving behind. The road to a brighter future is steep and paved with hard work but, as Canadians, the open arms with which we’ve greeted them is a testament to the values that make us who we are… inherently Canadian values such as politeness, kindness, generosity of spirit and a celebration of our differences.
From coast to coast to coast, it is the richness of our spirit that makes us who we are. These values that paint a stark contrast to what we see happening elsewhere in the world. They give me goosebumps, make my heart swell with pride and restore my faith in humanity.
So whether I’m grilling tandoori chicken to throw on my pizza, loading up on sauerkraut and perogies, tossing a large Greek salad, munching on tacos and then washing it all down with tea and biscuits this Canada Day, I will remember the sacrifices made by those who came before us. I will be thankful for the plurality of cultures I get to learn about and interact with on a regular basis. When my Portuguese neighbours send over some pastilles de natas, I’m happy to reciprocate with a plate of pakoras (fried spicy dumplings) and biryani (a heavenly combination of meat, rice and spices).
After all, sharing richly diverse foods is only one of the perks of being Canadian, eh?