Today is Canada Day. I’m going to celebrate by getting lost in the woods we’re so well known for. There is much to love about this country. But for whatever reason, I woke up today with a poll on my mind.
It’s this one here, conducted by Angus-Reid and published by Maclean’s. It’s called “Canadians feel like they’re on top of the world.” Published last December, it found that when compared to the United States and Britain, we Canucks are much more bullish about the future of our country. We’re more likely to think the country is moving in the right direction, more likely to agree that ours is the greatest country in the world, more likely to think it’s the best place to raise a family.
And why would you disagree? Turn on the world news and look at the ruptures happening in United States, the constant crises in Europe, the problems in Japan and China and India. Canada is great!
But exceptionalism is a dangerous game to play. It does us as a nation no good to look at the problems and failures of the rest of the world and take that as proof that we got it right and can sit back and celebrate. Even if we’re right and by some metric this is, factually, the greatest country in the world– that can change and (as the last decades have shown) change fast. Especially when you’re on top.
Every once in a while I’ll find myself thinking about how great this country is and then I’ll wonder what I have to do with it. It’s not like I’m managing the economy or making laws or anything like that. Being in a great country does not make you great by default. Great countries are made by ordinary people striving to do great things. It’s take an informed and active citizenry. It takes people from all walks of life being actively involved on some level of making the whole thing work. It looks like we’ve done a pretty good job so far. Let’s keep it up. Happy Canada Day.
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