Without going into it a whole lot, I have been thinking about what being Canadian means to me. I am sure you know that I am up to my eyeballs watching what is going on in Bahrain. The world idly letting the flagrant human rights abuses happen upsets me to no end. While I watch these things happen, it strikes me over and over how the protesters and the pro-government camps both seem so patriotic. They love their country and while some want it to stay the way it is, others love it so much they want it to be better. (The outcome and what is best for Bahrain is not for me to decide, my issue is with how the people are being treated, the voices of dissent ignored and then stomped out etc, I just had to put that somewhere I will write a post on it eventually 🙂 )
Anyway, Canada has always seemed to have this quiet patriotism. We love our country, but we don’t seem to feel we have to wave flags all over and scream about it like, well, our neighbours down south. (Unless it happens to be Canada day, then we, uh, get drunk and flip cars and stuff).
With another freaking election coming up and the world changing, I am paying attention again. I was all into one of the elections a few years back because the FM was broken on my car radio and I had to listen to CBC through the whole thing.
This election, I am voting for Canada and what I want Canada to be. These are the things I feel Canada should stand for, what represents us to the world. That would make me proud of our country. Some of these we have, others we need to work on.
1. Human Rights. I believe Canada should be a leader, if not THE leader in Human Rights. We need to stand up for Human Rights for every person, every single time. Even when it is hard. It is when it is hard that it is the most important, and I don’t think we should forget that. Human rights should come before money, before politics, before anything else. Every single time. The world is made up of people, and no one should be left behind. Even a so called child soldier we let go to Guantanamo.
2. A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. Once someone has citizenship, they are ours. Like it or not. If you don’t want that person here, you should have thought of that before granting citizenship. Once someone gets it, they are one of us. Always.
3. Healthcare. I want excellent healthcare. I do not want American style healthcare. Our touch of socialism and looking out for our neighbours makes me proud. We are a huge community and as a part of that having access to excellent care that is included in the taxes we pay is absolutely important to me.
4. Multiculturalism. I feel that the best remedy for racism is accepting and exploring our differences. I do not believe in a melting pot country. I do not expect any culture to melt into mine (of which, I have none to really call my own, and that bothers me, honestly). It is the differences that allow us to see better ways of looking at things. It is the colours of the rainbow that sets it apart from the clouds. We should never forget that, and admire their beauty often.
5. Culture and Arts. I want my Canada to be rich in arts and culture. Let’s face it, we pretty much hibernate for 9 months of the year. If I have to go out, I want to go do something cool. We need to be funding and encouraging the arts.
6. Tech and Innovation. We have some of the brightest minds here and I think they should be encouraged. We should have funding for startups. We should be encouraging Canadian businesses to start and to thrive. I feel too much of our money gets funneled down to the states with so much businesses here being American.
7. Canada First for Business. This bugs me to no end. We have Canadian products, Canadian workers, etc, and yet when I go to the mall most stores are not really Canadian. I want the money I spend to stay here. I want the profits to go to Canadians. I want to encourage Canadian jobs. If I cannot find Canadian, to be honest, I would prefer to support countries that need the help. I would prefer to be supporting recovery for countries like Egypt and I want those workers to be getting paid a fair wage. I do have a penchant for $5 clothes, so this is something I struggle with all the time.
8. Funding for News Channels. I don’t know why I keep watching American news. It annoys me so much. The fear mongering and propaganda drives me up the wall. I am pretty much addicted to Al Jazeera now. They show what news should be, NEWS. When I get annoyed I flip back to the CBC, and every time I am struck by how good our news really is. The issue is that we don’t seem to have as many reporters in the places the rest do. I want Canadian news to be able to compete with Al Jazeera. We do news well, we just don’t seem to do enough of it. I also want to be able to find those reporters on Twitter, where the news really gets reported 🙂
9. Natural Beauty and Amazing Wildlife. I want our green spaces and our wildlife protected. We have a huge country full of diverse regions, and I want to be proud of our environmental protection of them!
10. Military. I do not believe we should be America’s lapdog. We have our own interests. We should be acting in our own interests and for what we believe is right. Our military should be more peacekeeping than anything else, and when we do deploy we should have proper equipment. Our military needs to be well trained and well paid.
11. Education. We should be at the top of the rating for education, and it needs to be affordable.
12. Marijuana. Let’s get real here. Pretty much everyone does it. It is a waste of time and money to enforce the laws. Put it in liquor stores and tax it already. No, I am not a pothead. I wouldn’t know where to buy it or what to do with it. It is not self-serving for me, it is logic. It is long overdue, and we need the tax money to pay for everything else I want 🙂 Let the happy people pay!
So there you go.. That is MY Canada. What’s yours? Or is it just about cutting GST to you or something about daycare, or how people should speak English when they get here? (Huge #facepalm on that BTW)
Oh, and if you could give me proportional representation as well, that would be, like, way awesome. I am really tired of not having a voice because I live in Alberta. Although I am holding to my belief that even if I didn’t vote for you, you still have to represent me and I am going to keep tweeting crap at you because you still have to hear me. (Have I mentioned how awesome it is to live in a country where I can give the Prime Minister crap on Twitter and no one is going to come to my house and 3 am in masks and beat the hell out me and arrest me? Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Some other countries should figure that out. Canada will not fall because I think they do stuff wrong. Mind boggling isn’t it?)