I think we have the right to be proud of our country. We’re strong economically, responsible socially and accepting of diversity. I’ve heard us described as an efficient society. Instead of making choices based on overarching moral ideals, we tend to decide on matters to allow the greatest number of people to have opportunities. We don’t tell people they’ll be happy if they do X,Y or Z. We trust them to figure out things for themselves if they get the chance.
I like that because I don’t believe in telling people what they should do with their lives. Advise, encourage and inspire, but don’t demand. No one has the right to run my life but me. And the same for everyone else. Aside from not liking it, trying to run people’s lives according to an imposed standard simply doesn’t work. (See, all about the efficiency, how very Canadian.) What works for one group at one point in history isn’t going to work for everyone, across different cultures. Flexibility is critical for survival.
To me, that’s the definition of the land of the free. Because with freedom comes responsibility. If you are truly free, then you can’t blame someone else for what happens in your life. You’ve made your own choices.
There is occasionally flak about Canadians not having a national identity but I think this flexibility is our identity. It fits with our reputation as polite and unassuming. Instead of having to shout and constantly be the center of attention, we’re satisfied with quiet excellence. We have the confidence to ignore the flying opinions around us, forging our own path.
Happy Birthday, Canada!