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Is this a great country we live in, or what?

TUESDAY MORNING EDITORIALThe following comments were originally presented as a speech 10 years ago at the official opening ceremonies for Canada Day, July 1, 2004 by then-mayor Mel Rothenburger.

By MEL ROTHENBURGER

Good morning, and happy 137th Canada Day.

On behalf of our council, I would like to welcome everyone to this annual celebration, and I would like to extend a special welcome to Deputy Consul-General Yagi, our visitors from Uji, Japan, led by Mr. Taniguchi, Councillors Ide and Kawagoe, other city officials and citizens from our Sister City.

There'll be fireworks today  (Canada Day).

There’ll be fireworks today
(Canada Day).

Today is a day when we pause to count our blessings and calculate our good fortune as Canadians. It’s a day when we pause to think about what it means to be a Canadian.

There was a time when that was very difficult to answer. There was a time when it was uncommon for anyone to fly a Canadian flag, to speak proudly about our history, to brag about this country of ours.

That time has past. Our identity is clearly defined by those things that make us distinct, that collectively generate a national spirit among the 32 million people in this 10 million kilometres of scenic wonder as never before.

The time has come to be proud of all things Canadian, to smile as we see the reflection of ourselves in our unique Canadian symbols — the Maple Leaf, the Mounties, the Trans-Canada Highway, the Blue Nose, the beaver, Timbits, the Mackenzie Brothers, the GST, the Robertson-head screwdriver.

We celebrate Boxing Day, Remembrance Day, Victoria Day and Canada Day.

We have more donut shops per capita than any other nation in the world, and we eat more Kraft dinner than the citizens of any other single country.

People from other countries think we say “eh” after every sentence and that’s OK, eh?

We’re the only people in the world who eat Nanaimo Bars, back bacon, Glosettes, Shreddies. The only ones who drink “pop” and put “whitener” in our coffee, pick up a “twenty-sixer” on the way home. We wear runners instead of sneakers; we sit on a Chesterfield instead of a sofa.

We wear Stanfields, and something called a toque in winter, when we warm our cars with that great Canadian invention, the block heater.

We use serviettes at dinner. We have bald-headed television announcers, we eat with our fork in our left hand, we spend loonies and toonies and Canadian Tire money.

We define our commerce and even our lifestyles by Molsons and Labatts, Roots, Petrocan, Chapters, The Bay and The Keg.

We’re peace keepers, not war mongers, and we seek, as a nation, peace, order and good government.

We are a nation of communities. Communities with intriguing names like Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, Telegraph Creek, Swift Current, Corner Brook, Whitehorse, Red Deer.

Cities with nicknames like Lotusland, Hogtown, Cowtown, Steeltown, The Rock, and The Loops.

And in our own community we have our own symbols, Mounts Peter and Paul, the meeting of the waters, the marigold, the Cattle Drive, the Weyerhaeuser stack, stetson-wearing, gun-toting Kami the trout.

People like Robert Service, the Grey Fox, Flyin’ Phil Gaglardi and Jerome Iginla have called Kamloops home. And Boris Karloff, Bill Gates and Jennifer Lopez slept here.

We’re strong and proud in the Great White North and the Tournament Capital, and it’s time to brag about it.

It’s OK to fly the flag, and to dress in tacky T-shirts and goofy Maple-Leaf hats.

On this day, when we celebrate our diversity, and welcome all, let’s remember that we have a country worth boasting about.

Have a great Canada Day!

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About Mel Rothenburger (6872 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on Is this a great country we live in, or what?

  1. Sean McGuinness // July 1, 2014 at 8:55 AM // Reply

    I always struggled to understand what it is that defines and Canada and Canadians. However, one get’s a better feeling for this country after living outside its boundaries for an extended period of time. To relate a personal experience of mine, I had lived in various countries for 18 years. About seven years ago, I finally came back to live in Canada. The thing that I will never forget is driving across the the border from North Dakota into Saskatchewan at a little known border crossing near Estevan. On this sparsely traveled prairie highway, I was greeted by a great expanse of wheat fields. There was nothing else besides the wind and small birds swooping left and right across the road. In this silent homecoming, I felt a great sense of pride and satisfaction in being Canadian. A lot of who we are, our memories and sensations are intertwined with land itself.

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