Canada Day, on Saturday, July 1, will have plenty of festivities, special events and fireworks displays to mark the country’s 156th birthday.
While this is a day of celebration, it is also a time to appreciate and reflect on this country’s values and the life we can enjoy here.
Canada is home to more than 40 million people. Some can trace their connections to this country thousands of years, while others are newly arrived from many parts of the world. Canada has worked to create a reputation as a country where all can feel welcomed and included, regardless of background or ethnicity.
This is also a country with freedoms which allow all people to hold to their own beliefs and opinions and to live according to their convictions. There is plenty of room for a diversity of opinions and thoughts.
The freedoms we enjoy in Canada – freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and of other media of communication, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association – do not exist in all parts of the world.
There is an emphasis on accepting differences and respecting these freedoms.
“A society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance and hate,” former prime minister Pierre Trudeau said in 1971.
Earlier, in 1960, former prime minister John Diefenbaker expressed a similar view. “I am a Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship God in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”
Canada strives to reach some noble ideals and values. It is up to each Canadian to live out these values and to show the level of acceptance and tolerance to which this country aspires.
— Black Press