Saturday, July 01, 2017

Happy Canada Day, eh? The Top 5

 It's Canada's 150th birthday, and we are throwing a grand party from coast to coast to coast. I am glad my parents came here oh so long ago from the Middle East to pursue a better life for themselves and their kids, and I've always been really proud to be a Canadian. So from memory, here's some top moments of being a Canadian.

1. My West Coast trip.

If you wanted to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, it's right here at home in Canada.

2. The time when we won the Olympic hockey gold.

Well, there's several.




But the greatest of them HAS to be the 2002 victory. Everything was in place for a great story. The game was in United States, our biggest rival, AND they were playing the final against us. The return of the NHL stars. The lucky loonie. The late equalizer.


3. Justin Trudeau's Election Night Speech, 2015

It had been a bruising election. On one hand was an ego-driven Prime Minister campaigning on policies of hatred and bigotry targeted at Muslims, and against niqab wearing women in particular. It would be a precursor to the campaign of hate in the United States to follow in 2016. The election grew particularly ugly in Quebec, with incidents of attacks against Muslims and minorities reported. The Prime Minister then spoke of "old stock Canadians" and seems to have been hell bent on wining by dividing the country. We Canadians needed to repudiate that, and to reject that so thoroughly that the mere thoughts of such bigotry would be buried, at least for a little while.

Enter Justin Trudeau, the son of the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the man who built Canada as it is today. He won, and won a majority. And in his very first speech as Prime Minister-elect, on his election night victory, he gave speech for the ages. One particular section (19:30), about a hijab wearing Muslim woman, even caught the attention of Americans and one of my American friends mused that we would never hear an American politician say something like that.

4. The kindness of Canadians when I broke my foot

Toronto is a big city. It's a busy, bustling, and often chaotic city. Yet, in early 2016, when I had a broken foot and limped to work on crutches, I never had to stand on public transit. People would rush to offer me their seat. This was also the time when I saw a women being racist towards a minority woman, and the whole train basically turned on that lady and forced her to get out at that next station.

5. The day when I became a citizen

Canada is not a perfect country. It's a work in progress. Some injustices, especially towards the First Nations, are still quite recent. Yet, over all countries in the world, it has something that others don't.

You have to live here to get it.