It’s time we make Canada something to be proud about

I’d like to take a minute or two of your time to tell you, and me, to screw off.  We have no reason to be proud Canadians. I recently sat through a lecture that was basically a talk on why each person felt either proud or not proud to be Canadian. It turns out pretty much everyone is proud. I am too. But we have no reason to be.

Have we truly become so individualist, or to put it less kindly, self-absorbed, that the most common answer as to why someone is proud to be Canadian is “because it is a part of my identity”? Are we truly so great that every part of us is worth praise and pride? After reflecting on this question it becomes overwhelmingly obvious that we shouldn’t be proud at all.

But let’s just say for a moment that it is a good thing to have pride in Canada. Is pride something that we should feel no matter what group or country you belong to? And where do we draw the line for the behaviour of Canadians to feel proud of? Should we be proud to be part of a country whose leaders endorsed aboriginal residential schools? I personally am not.

There must be something that makes Canada worth being proud of though. Perhaps our health care? But in fact, most other democratic countries have similar or better levels of national health care. Despite our constant bragging, we’re thirtieth in the world for health care. Twenty-ninth is Morocco.

Our peacekeeping? In the last decade we’ve been involved with more invading than peacekeeping.

Our tolerance? Quebec has recently introduced laws that are intolerant of religious expression.

Our education? We’re good, but not the best. We are fifth in maths and sciences, third in reading, and sixth in overall education.

Our quality of life? Since the early 2000s, we’ve slipped from first in the world to fifth.

Our environmentally friendly programs? Name one. We’ve dropped out of or never adopted most. In fact, we’re thirty-seventh in the world on the Environmental Performance Index.

If we’re going to be proud Canadians, it’s time to make it something worth being proud of.