6 Reasons I’m Proud to be Canadian

Being patriotic in Canada is sort of like knowing how to skate. Most Canadians do it, most people enjoy it, and most people don’t really know why or how. It’s just a good time, something we start at a young age and carry with us for the majority of our lives. Maybe it’s the competitive nature of Canadians, the fact that we feel like we need to boost ourselves up that much higher in order to stand out from elephant on the continent (Psst, that’s a reference to America). While I may be ashamed to be Canadian on occasion, it usually is for good reason; however, there’s countless reasons to be proud to be a Canadian. And no, it’s not just our beer.

canada-healthcare

Need your brain checked? That's free in Canada!

The Canadian Healthcare System

In 1984 a large piece of federal legislation was adopted by the true north strong & free. This legislation in short said “Hey insurance people, hospitals, doctors, it’s time to heal those that are sick, injured, or that require medical assistance. By the way they don’t have to pay you. If you don’t abide we’re coming for you. Boom!” While universal health care may not be perfect, it’s still a success story in most eyes. Canadians have access to free, high quality health care, it’s pretty tough to complain about the price. At the end of the day we’re strides ahead of other countries in terms of quality of life. I can’t imagine what life in Canada would be like without this perk. While Canadian health care is fantastic, we’re still encouraged to have travel insurance when leaving the country. C’est la vie!

Need some video explanation on the Canadian Healthcare System? Check out Real Canadians Talking Real Healthcare, or if your feeling like something a little more polished with a bit of humour check out Michael Moores Documentary Sicko. 

Canada-Gay-Friendly

Same-sex marriage

I like to think Canadians have a good grasp on human rights. While there’s clearly been some hiccups in the past, we’re a pretty progressive country that’s happy to face the ridiculous claims of “1 man + 1 women = true family” and drop the gloves all over that craziness. In July 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize the sanctity of marriage between same sex couples. LGBT rights in Canada are still the most advanced in the western hemisphere. So neighbouring countries and such, maybe come stop by the Village in Toronto, or Le Village in Montreal and see for yourself it’s all about love! It’s been almost seven years since the same-sex marriage legislation passed, and the world still spins.

Bilingualism

Throughout Canadian history, the French language has been there for nearly every step it. Over 22% of Canadians call french their mother tongue. While officially, Canadian language comprises itself of English and French there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to perfect the bilinguality of the citizens of Canada. I was fortunate enough to have parents who enrolled me in the French Immersion program, which means that from Kindergarten onwards, all subjects were taught in French. I have that program to thank for my french skills. While I clearly don’t use those acquired skills often enough, french immersion is the main reason I’m a huge supporter of the french language and culture in Canada. Being raised in that environment makes it easy to be proud of the bilingual aspect of Canada.

mosaic-cultures

Mosaic of cultures

I remember being taught by a teacher at a young age one of the key differences between Canada and America. She preached that America was a melting pot, where languages and cultures are encouraged to assimilate and become “Americans”. Canada, on the other hand, is a mosaic of cultures. While each person becomes a Canadian, they are still encouraged to maintain ties with their mother land. They’re encouraged to hang on to their familial ties, keep their traditions and culture, and ultimately enjoy the freedom in Canada. It’s sometimes hard to find this “mosaic” in smaller anglophone communities (but I assure you it’s there). If you want it to hit you in the face, a weekend in Toronto exploring the different neighbourhoods will prove that no matter what your background is, we can all get along.

ride-for-liberty

Underground Railroad

In the 19th century, Canadians from all walks of life helped enslaved african-americans escape to the northern parts of the United States as well as Canada. Estimates indicated that anywhere between 30,000 and 100,000 slaves successfully made it to Canada through the secret network of stations. Stations were said to have been as far west as British Columbia, and as far east as Nova Scotia. Survival on the railroad was hard, and on many occasions had it not been for the help of the Native Americans along the trail, many people wouldn’t have survived. While freed slaves found safety all over Canada, the majority settled in the Ontario area where they formed their own communities and pioneered their own farmland.

As it turned out many of the new arrivals to the “promise land” found the weather to be cold, the life to be hard, and when civil war erupted in the United States, some chose to fight with the Union and help rebuild the United States from the ground up. While many African-Americans headed home in search of family and friends, some stayed and formed communities. Men like Josiah Henson began to purchase land in Ontario and formed communities around what is now Dresdon Ontario, such as the famous Dawn Settlement. Josiah Henson is/was the inspiration behind the famous abolitionist tale, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Hariet Beecher Stowe. This book is said to have been one of the books Abraham Lincoln read which encouraged him to pass the Emancipation Proclamation.

While the most of the credit needs go to the brave souls of the african-americans who made that journey, I couldn’t be more proud that Canadians helped people find their own freedom.

peaceful-canada

Peaceful country

According to the 2011 Global Peace Index, Canada scores an in the Top 10, at the relatively charming number of 8, just behind Finland (7) and Austria (6). This index looks at up to 23 different measures, including military spending, percentage of violent crime, possibility of violent demonstrations, deaths from conflicts with neighbouring countries, along with the political terror scale, which apparently we didn’t score too high in due to the G20 Protests in Toronto. But to most Canadians, you don’t need a fancy number to know we’re a pretty peaceful bunch.

This is Canada, the land of everlasting sorry’s, a free country built on a strong foundation of coffee and donuts. The majority of our violence is kept on the ice, one of the few places the majority of Canadians can agree is a completely acceptable place to air your frustrations with another through the use of hard body-checks and taking a break in the game to drop the gloves and punch the crap out of another human being. We do not have a nuclear program, despite being one of the largest providers of uranium in the world. Gun crime is crazy low, so the chances of getting shot are pretty minimal unless you’re chasing illicit drugs. We’re raised in a country where health-care is free, where you accept your neighbour regardless of race, creed, or sexuality. We have flaws like any other country, but spending any amount of time in this country, it becomes easy to see that Canada is ultimately a peaceful country. One that I’m proud to live in.

The Canadian Pride

Canadians are a proud people, not the obnoxious type of proud but the “grateful for what we have” proud. This feeling has been building over the years, heck, even Molson Canadian tried monetizing it (see “My Name Is Joe“). What started off as a quiet type of pride evolved. The notion of “keep your love of Canada, inside Canada” was more or less obliterated after the recent Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. There was a call to arms to cheer loud, embrace our differences and show the world how proud we are to live in a country where you can be gay, straight, french, english, sick without worry, practice any religion you choose, and hail from any background and not have to worry about persecution. Canada’s not perfect, but it’s trying to get there.

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16 Responses to “6 Reasons I’m Proud to be Canadian”

  1. Gillian Duffy
    March 7, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Yay to proud Canadians!

    • Corbin Fraser
      March 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      haha woo! Maple syrup flavoured high 5’s comin’ atcha!

      • Mark
        April 24, 2012 at 1:00 am #

         Corbin, your maple syrup is second rate, to, guess who…..Western New York Maple Syrup, has not always been like that, sure is now though.  Do all of America a favor, stay at home.  Don’t shop, retire or visit – you’re just not worth the effort.

        • TFM2
          May 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

          Mark. As a Canadian on a short-term assignment in the US, I feel very welcome here, I think for myself as a person and for my spending dollars while here.  Also, while personal experience is merely anecdotal and not statistically sound, on the hundreds of trips I’ve had across borders by every means of transport,  Canadian customs agents have been universally more courteous than the US ones.  The latter seem to prefer to intimidate first and assume unwarranted guilty until proven innocent – of what I am not sure. 

           There are good days and bad days in the lives and experiences of people in every country.  Perhaps you have had more than your estimated fair share of bad days among Canadians.  Or perhaps you were looking for it, and having found 1-2 examples, generalized to the whole of the country.

          Perhaps you represent a minority of views of US citizens – the worst kind of narrow-minded, zenophobia, a la,  “my country right or wrong”, “you are either with us or against us”, “America is the greatest country in the world”,  “if you disagree with me, you are unpatriotic and not a true American”, “we ahave the best health care, the best education system, the best (insert baised choice here) in the world”, and so on and so on.  You will NOT hear such nonsense spoken in Canada or most other countries of the world because those statements are simply ridiculous. 

  2. Dana de Brito
    March 7, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Awesome Post! Also, we have the very patriotic ‘eh?’ that we can call our own.

  3. Our Oyster
    March 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Yay Canada! And we are obviously way more hardcore than Americans because we survive some really ridiculous winters! Or is that just me? (Im from Winnipeg)

    • Mark
      April 24, 2012 at 12:58 am #

       Sorry Clam for Brains, Canada is full of arrogant, clown like people that do not know what courtesy means.  From the Border folks to clerks in the stores –  as soon as you masters of the Dork start your ignorant ranting.  Stay there please! America does not want money that comes with the condescension and rudeness.

      I hope the eskimos take over and send all of Quebec to France.  In short you smell, bad.  Too bad you have people like Rick Hillier, a true professional, and a very nice person.  So far aside from relatives, the rest of you can go to, well you know where!

      • Josh
        April 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

        Jealous much?

  4. Terra D'Agua
    March 9, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    yay to Canada! even though I left my beautiful country and live on a sailboat through the seas, there is nothing like home, canada!

  5. Kevin Post
    March 10, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    I’m happy you wrote this Corbin. After reading the reasons you were ashamed of being Canadian I wanted to comment, “I’m from the U.S., you have no idea what ashamed means!” Could you imagine the list I’d have to make for a blog post regarding my own country? 

    Just letting you guys know that this Floridian thinks you guys rock and you should be proud because your country represents many ideals that the world looks to and finds inspiration in. 

    • Corbin Fraser
      March 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

      Thanks Kevin! Appreciate you saying that about Canada. The States might have a few bruises in its history too, but the optimist in me has to encourage you to think of the good that you guys have done to the world. Science, technology, civil rights, the blues!!! I’m sure there’s more, but I’ll leave you to write that :P.

      When I wrote that “Ashamed to be Canadian” post I felt like such a negative nancy. But I think people need to know that every country has it’s ugly side. I’m just happy to see most of those scars are trying to be healed as best as possible!

      Thanks again for commenting!

  6. Mackays1387
    April 3, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    Canada is consistently ranked in 5th position in the HDI ranking as one of the healthiest countries in the world. Canada’s Health care system is one of the main things behind its quality of life.  

  7. Mark
    April 24, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    Corbin, Sorry, but I do not share the so called “Canadian Spirit”.  More like it does not exist unless and until you prove you are a Canadian.  Horse Hockey!

    Half of my family is Canadian, the other half American –  I have never had to watch what I say and do until I started to represent a Canadian Software Company in the US.  In the US I am embraced as a visionary, an innovator.  In your so called Paradise, getting civil treatment is getting farther and farther away.  I travel Canada on business, I also visit the Mid-east (where I expect to be despised) and Quebec.

    The frenchies need to be taught another lesson, which is, the bad reputation the French (from France)  endure,is really caused by your citizens from Montreal.  I have never been so rudely treated as I was during a visit to a Timmy’s there.  Disdain, sarcasm and overt rude behavior because I tendered an American Bank Credit Card.  The reaction was visceral, real and very ugly.

    In fact I have started to avoid Timmy’s altogether,  even the one 3 blocks from my house, after all “a fish stinks from the head down”.  I knew Tim Horton through the Sabres, he must be spinning in his grave at the attitude you refer to as “Canadian Pride” is thinly disguised racism.

    SO I am proud to tell you you stink, your attitude when shopping in the US only confirms my comments (My daughter works in a Niagara Falls Outlet mall) she explains how dirty and inconsiderate the Canadian Shoppers are, so I’ll stay with the elephant, keep my money here and start to refer to you all as ” the frozen brained clowns from the ice covered north”.

    Shallow and mercenary, does not even come close, so take your “Pride” and put in a place the sun will never shine!

    • Corbin Fraser
      April 24, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      Hi Mark,

      Normally I would moderate comments such as yours. However, you’re entitled to your opinion, even if it is flawed.

      The Canadian thing to do would be “apologize” for the way you’ve been treated in our beautiful country; however, I don’t feel you deserve one. It’s clear that you’ve painted an entire population of 30 million + with the same brush.

      Perhaps your next visit to Quebec should be spent outside of your hotel and nearest Tim Hortons, and experience the culture, history, and unique lifestyle of French Canadians. Once you understand the trials and tribulations of being a french speaker in a primarily english speaking country it’s easy to see why some may sigh when an ignorant elitist american comes into a fast-food style coffee joint and demands 5 star service. It’s a 2 dollar coffee, the trick is to grab it and be on your way.

      A wise man once said “The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”. So while I respect your right to your own opinion, please voice it outside of the confines of my travel blog. I do however, encourage you to continue reading my travel blog, as I’m sure by educating yourself about Canada you’ll be able to break down some of these preconceived notions you have about it’s people and culture.

      Oh and lastly, you’ve got a Maple Syrup High Five coming your way too, just because I’m nice! :)

    • Josh
      April 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      You.. are calling Canadians… dirty and inconsiderate? Lol, that’s like the pot calling the kettle black. 

      All I read was jealousy with a hint of self loathing. 

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