From Brexit to Donald Trump, there are so many reasons to celebrate being in Canada. But let’s not congratulate ourselves merely for who we aren’t and what hasn’t happened to us.
Instead, on the 149th birthday of the dominion, let’s pause to think about what we are, what we have, and what we love about this country. With input from our Postmedia colleagues, here’s a short list of likes:
* That, in Canada, the only thing we have to regularly arm ourselves against is the weather. Our weapon of choice in this tolerant, middle-of-the-road nation: bug spray.
* That our idea of a nasty political campaign is one in which we attack people for having nice hair and fret about how many TV debates to have.
* Our national parks, including Banff National Park, which was Canada’s first. It was established in 1885.
* Iceberg Alley. The massive beauty of the ice giants that make their way down the Labrador and Newfoundland coasts each year is breathtaking. Few but Canadians get to witness them.
* That the biggest, baddest act by a politician this year was an accidental jab with an elbow (followed, in the Canadian way, by abject apologies).
* That we are hyped about getting a woman — aside from Her Majesty — on our currency.
* Whale watching. From coast to coast to coast, Canadians have some of the best sightings of the world’s most magnificent creatures: humpback and fin whales off Nova Scotia, for instance, orcas off British Columbia, belugas in the North.
* Open space. There aren’t very many places in Canada where wilderness is more than an hour away, where there are no city lights, no traffic noise, no emergency sirens.
* We love that, when a calamity like a wildfire wipes out thousands of homes in Fort McMurray, Canadians across the country band together to help their fellow citizens. We love that, challenged to bring in tens of thousands of refugees in a short period, Canadians roll up their sleeves and figure out how to do it without chaos.
* That there’s a contest for Canadians to select a national bird in time for our 150th birthday next year. “Canada has a national arboreal emblem, a national horse, two national sports and an animal that has come to be associated with the country,” the folks at Canadian Geographic helpfully point out. “Now is the time for the beaver to have an avian partner.”
* That we have the freedom to love whom we want; work at what we want; read, write and broadcast what we want.
Let’s not take any of this for granted.