happy canada day!

Today is the day we celebrate our beautiful country Canada! I feel lucky to live in a land where I have access to affordable health care, people have the right to love and marry whomever they choose, and we cannot be placed in jail for voicing our opinion about any political or ethical topic. Sadly, I am conflicted about my Canadian pride because of the negative impact our current government has had on the Canada I love. In recent years, we have seen the loss of protection of our multitude of lakes and rivers, the push for a pipeline, despite much protest, that has the potential to destroy our natural west coast, and the unfair division of citizens into "first class" and "second class" (whose Canadian citizenship may be stripped from them under the new Bill C-24). In the last nine years, we have fallen a long way from the values I hold dear as a Canadian - the values and priorities that I felt were instrinsic to our Canadianness.

However, I am very proud of Nanaimo, my new city, where we recently changed our "Empire Days (Victoria Day)" celebration to "Heritage Days" to be more inclusive of all the cultures that live in Nanaimo, and where we recently raised the Snuneymuxw First Nation's flag permanently over our City Hall, alongside the British Columbia and Canadian flags, to recognize the people who have lived here since before the land became "Canada". I am proud of our Truth and Reconciliation Committee for bringing to light the truths about Canada's settlement and its effect on the Native people who lived here before, and of all those who call for a national inquiry into Canada's plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women. I am proud of the natural beauty that surrounds us on Vancouver Island, and I stand in awe every day of the mountains and ocean that tightly hug this city I now call home, and of those who continue to fight, day in and day out, to protect this beauty.

We are so fortunate to live in a country where we are free, and for that I celebrate. But this also means that we have a responsibility to fight the injustices that we do see here in our own cities, in our own country. Whether you're able to write letters, write or share articles, stand in solidarity with those fighting for reconciliation, join a protest against the loss of protection of our land, or even just vote in the upcoming election (a simple act that may hopefully have great repercussions), do what you can, and make sure you're actively involved in creating the Canada that we all want to celebrate today: a Canada that treats all its citizens fairly, that respects the land upon which we live, and that is a leader and an inspiration to the rest of the world. 

Happy Canada Day to all.

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