Saturday, February 6, 2010

For My Democracy Today I am Remembering Why This Country is so Great

"The greatness of Canada will be measured not by the level of the gross national product but rather by the way in which we use our resources to solve our human problems." Pierre Elliot Trudeau

For my democracy today I am taking immense pride in this beautiful country. I can say that without reservation. We forget that sometimes, I'm afraid. And even those in the neo-conservative movement, that promotes a survival of the fittest philosophy, forget that it was because of what this country had to offer that they were able to rise to the top.

Without things like public education and universal health care, many would not have had the success they now enjoy.

But everyone should share in that success, and in a country with such vast natural resources, no one should go hungry or be homeless.

With Harper now unfettered by our elected representatives, he is busy dismantling that social safety net that has helped define who we are as a nation. To him we're a European welfare state, a second class country.

He once bragged that he was often sought out to speak out against public money being spent in the name of child poverty. I can't tell you how un-Canadian I think a statement like that is.

My husband picked up a book for me "One Thousand and One Reasons for Being Proud to be a Canadian" It's filled with quotes from Canadian leaders in all fields, including the one above from Pierre Trudeau.

What quote of Harper's could possibly stand the test of time? What will his legacy be? What profound and patriotic pearls of wisdom will he leave us with?

I repeat this often on my blog, because it sticks me. It's a description of the Reform Party, that sums up the difference between us and them:

"Reform is somewhat un-Canadian. It's about tidy numbers, self-righteous sanctimoniousness and western grievances. It cannot talk about the sea or about our reluctant fondness for Quebec, about our sorrow at the way our aboriginal people live, about the geographically diverse, bilingual, multicultural mess of a great country we are." (Vancouver Sun, April 8, 1994)

I want a party and a leader who can talk about the sea.

The following comes from the book, I mentioned above, and is dated, so the references are to 'man', etc.; but it still has a wonderfully Canadian message.

I am Proud to be a Canadian

Because of the beauty of our land; the majesty of the
mountains: the far horizons of the prairies, the sweep of the
shorelines, the abundance of the farm lands, the sparkle of ten
thousand lakes and, rivers, even the forbidding barrens of the North.

Because of the rich diversity of our people. We are not a
melting pot, but a unique union of minorities: each of is proud of
his origins but prouder still to be a Canadian.

Because we are a multilingual country, two basic languages
and woven through the fabric; and enriching it, -the sound of other
tongues, all united in praise of 'the true North, strong and free.'

Because our country was not born in nor does it live in violence,
we harbour no hate, we covet no territory, we envy no other people.

Because our heritage confers such bounty. Our laws and our
traditions have been built on faith in God and man, on an unflagging
love of freedom, and respect for the rights of others. Our physical
resources have not yet been fully contemplated much less measured.

Because in Canada the operative word is Tomorrow, not yesterday
our greatness rests not in our history but in our future.
Our destiny has not yet been fashioned.

Because my pride in Canada does not cause me to respect
other nations or other people less. I am a Canadian, yes. I am also
a citizen of the planet earth and a brother of every other man.


  1. Moving & very timely, Emily. Thank you.

  2. Well said!

    I was reading about the Quebec motto Je Me Souveins and I cam across this description of a monument designed but not built for Quebec:

    The monument was to be a statue of a young and graceful adolescent girl, an allegoric figure of the Canadian nation, bearing the motto: "Née dans les lis, je grandis dans les roses / Born in the lilies, I grow in the roses"

    We seldom show nationalism, but when we do, it comes out in beauty.