Canada change and consistency


While it can be argued that much has changed about the nature of Canada and what it means to be Canadian, a case can also be made for how little Canada changes as well.  True, rose coloured glasses will always make things appear to have been better in the past, but there are many developments that have helped change Canada in a positive way as well.

Consider how much smaller the country seems when we are (more or less) all connected in ways people would never have dreamed of just a few generations back.  50 years ago people wrote letters and budgeted for long distance telephone calls.  Our ability to communicate almost instantly across the country has transformed those distant relationships with far less expensive options.

At the same time, the more connected we are through technology, the more distant we seem to have become in our own communities.  There is certainly less over-the-fence, informal communication than there was in days gone by.  Some of this may have to do with a fatigue that comes from constantly brushing back telemarketers and other sales pitches, while a part of the phenomenon may relate to our news cycles that ensure we hear the worst about our society and very little of the best.  Whatever the reason, the fact remains, people are more guarded and an offshoot of that are communities that seem less tight-knit than they had been.

This does not mean that neighbourly relations are dead, but is an indication of how guarded we have become.  If you want to witness how caring people still are, one only has to consider the way we band together instantly in the face of tragedy.  That, mercifully, has not changed and, if anything, our ability to communicate across distance with ease grows our communities far beyond their natural borders when tragedies do occur.

At the end of the day we do not face a real threat to our way of life or what it means to be Canadian.  People still go out to celebrate together and civic-minded volunteers still allow our groups and associations to operate.   We are always redefining our national identity, but it flows from who we are in our communities, on our streets, and in our houses. That will fluctuate and people will always pine for what may seem lost while undervaluing what has been gained.

We must remember that a lot of this is within our control.  Little things like greeting our neighbours can tear down barriers and replace them with bridges.  Every bridge we build makes us stronger and that in turn creates resiliency.  It doesn’t require a tragedy to prove that communities still have spirit and through small acts we can prove that again and again.  Through community-mindedness we build outward and in doing so we shape Canada in a positive way.

Happy Canada Day to everyone and, after such a long winter, I hope you have a fantastic summer!