June 24, 2011

Being Canadian - Karen Toews

My daughter, her husband, and three children recently moved back to Canada after living in the U.S. for 11 years. Work and adventure took them there, and in part, those same reasons have brought them home. They're living with us for the summer so I have a day-by-day view of their initial transition back to our land of "the strong and free". Observing their adjustments, revisiting my history of over 50 years in Alberta and four in Nova Scotia, considering present day world events, and looking ahead to Canada Day are all timely prompts for me to ponder some points on Being Canadian.

- traveling through the U.S. – Canada border, stopping at the Canadian immigration. With their documents in hand, my daughter and son-in-law answer questions regarding citizenship and the value of their household and other worldly goods. No vehicle search, no stress, no “fight or flight” stomach flutters. Pixel the cat sleeps through the whole procedure.

- driving from Alberta to Nova Scotia - we made this trek two times in one year. Provincial boundaries are marked by welcoming information centres, not security checkpoints.

- disputing labour struggles are managed by discussions, strikes and maybe government intervention – citizens don’t (usually) act out their frustration by drawing a gun.

- finding a new church family – our choice and privilege. No government dictation or registration required.

- researching online Canadian shopping - time consuming but cheaper than U.S. shipping costs.

- declaring Canadian residency and citizenship entitles you to health care.

- shopping in superstores, independent shops, outdoor markets. Abundance abounds.

- hiking, cycling, running, kayaking, boating, back-pack camping – all of these family activities can be enjoyed without fear of buried landmines and guerilla terrorists.

- having the wherewithal and desire to do so is all that’s required to live most anywhere in Canada. Deportation is not an issue. We are citizens, we belong.

- writing personal stories, or kudos and criticisms, expressing controversy, opinions about religion, politics, current affairs – we have freedom to speak without fear of late night footsteps and a knock on the door.

- working, learning, progressing, or "chilling" - we have choices, we have opportunities.

- enjoying favor from other nations is what we reap from our forefathers, our war veterans, and our "conservative" nature.

- being thankful and living responsibly - that's how I want to Be Canadian.


  1. I heartily checked off each and every reason stated! I think we Canadians have as much pride in our citizenship as any country (maybe more ...?) but we don't tend to flaunt it. We just smile and know within ourselves that no matter what anyone else says, we live in the best country on earth.

  2. Having lived in a couple of foreign countries I can add my hearty "amen." We are indeed a privileged people.

  3. Canadian reserve has its benefits!


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