O Canada! Our home! What does it mean to be Canadian? What does it mean to be not Canadian? Any grumblers out there who, without looking, can find all sorts of reasons to complain about tax rates, government excesses, intrusions into private business, constraining bylaws? Of course you’re out there. I’ve met a few of you, and you’ve left me with some thoughtful insights.
It costs to be Canadian even if we have “free” education to the secondary level and “free” health-care services to the grave. In the end we all share the costs and that makes the individual burden easier to bear. Many of us know the relief that comes from receiving first-rate health care for conditions that would have left us bankrupt had we lived in another jurisdiction that we could name. And there are scores of jurisdictions where that level of care is not available at any price.
It costs to be Canadian. Those who have traveled the back roads of almost any third-world country will appreciate our efficient garbage collection system for which we pay only a modest and affordable fee. I was gratified as I scanned the grounds of Spirit Park on Canada Day at the close of the festivities. I was looking for litter. Yes, I gleaned a few pieces of styrofoam cup and other assorted detritus – but what a responsible crowd of Canadians! You are to be congratulated! On my walk back to District Office, I picked up a few more pieces of out-of-place discards.
Perhaps we need to place a few more strategically located receptacles in our business areas. There will be a cost but, as responsible Canadians, we are up to the cost of keeping our living areas litter free.
It costs to be Canadian. We are welcoming two new young physicians to town this month. Be good to them and maybe they will stay a while. Recruiting doesn’t come cheap. But you are still the primary caregiver for your own body and soul. Treat them well, drive defensively, watch out for kids on the streets this summer, and make a small difference on the total cost of being Canadian.
It costs to be Canadian and one of those costs is in helping new Canadians adapt to a strange culture. On Canada Day I met folks from Egypt and the Philippines. It is when you blend Egypt with Indonesia with Finland with Togo with Mexico with France that you get Canada. You enrich our lives. Welcome!
It’s July 2 as I write and that must be the reason for the steady stream of people walking past my office door with cheque book in hand to pay their share of the cost of being Canadian in Chetwynd. Thank you Chetwynd for being so cheerful as you pay, for making the lives of our District Staff so pleasant as they take your taxes, your small, personal contribution to the collective wellbeing of your small part of Canada.