Wednesday, July 01, 2009
A Good Day to be Canadian
Every Canada Day, I realize how lucky I am to have been born Canadian. Canada is beautiful, wealthy, full of good people, free and at peace. Even though Canada isn't perfect, when you compare our quality of life to that of the vast majority of Earth's peoples, well, things look pretty good. But as Canadians, each of us has a responsibility to build a better nation and a better world.
Today I celebrated Canada Day by travelling to the Alberta Legislature. I enjoyed pancakes and watermelon courtesy of Edmonton's Ismaili community, then worked a little, taking photographs of Alberta Liberal Leader (and my boss) David Swann alongside Liberal Party of Canada Leader Michael Ignatieff. Canada Day, as you might expect, is a big day for politicians and other public servants, who spend the day meeting and greeting people and recognizing our common dreams - and our differences.
Mostly, though, I think Canada Day is about citizenship and celebration. It's a time to recognize how much we've achieved and to imagine how much more we could do, for each other and the world. It's a time to enjoy hot dogs and ice cream, to enjoy live musicians and artists, to gasp at the fireworks and splash around in the pool.
The whole reason I sought out a political job in 2006 is because I care about this country, and I think we can do better. I still feel a little self conscious about being so politically active, given how so many Canadians are distrustful of politicians in general, often with good reason. But my reasoning goes like this: if concerned citizens don't get involved, someone will step in to fill the void, and that someone might be less qualified, less compassionate, less caring than you. The whole point of democracy is that we share the responsibility of running our own nation. So if you can, join a political party, keep in contact with your elected representatives, keep track of the news, read, make a difference...because you really can.
For today, though, I hope you have the chance to spend some time with your friends and families, enjoy the sunshine, and celebrate Canada, our beautiful little corner of planet Earth.