Multicultural Canada still rich in culture

How bona fide is Canadian pride?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

We’ve all heard the question: “What does being Canadian mean to you?”

Sure, it’s easy to shrug off such an inquiry, but I think it deserves some serious thought.

I like living in Canada and I like being Canadian. For fear of sounding too cheesy, I am enamoured with the culture, politics and geography that unite us.

Some people argue there is no specific “Canadian” culture to speak of " that we’re all just teeny tiny tiles in Canada’s multicultural mosaic. Diverse in ethnicity, but disconnected from one another.

I disagree.

Canada is a multicultural nation " there’s no doubt about that. From coast to coast, there is a multitude of Asian, African and European, not to mention Aboriginal communities, rich in culture and tradition.

Even third- and fourth-generation immigrants tend to uphold traditional customs, rather than adapting to mass culture. It seems we all identify with multiple nationalities: Irish-Canadian, Japanese-Canadian, French-Palestinian-Canadian, and so on.

But so what?

Just because we all look different, eat different foods or practise different religions doesn’t mean there are no commonalities between us. We share languages, music, television, cold winters and warm summers.

And it’s not just about hockey and Tim Hortons, either " Canada’s got so much to offer. Whether it’s your favourite band, author, film, sports team, camping grounds or coffee shop " chances are you have a Canadian preference or two.

Take me for example. I listen to Wintersleep and read Douglas Coupland novels. I vote in municipal, provincial and federal elections and drink Canadian beer almost exclusively. I even applied to Canadian grad schools because hey, this place is my home. I don’t think there’s any harm in showing Canadian pride.

With that said, I don’t think blind nationalism is ever a good idea " I reserve the right to criticize my government, and I hope to change it for the better.

Although I may not agree with our current prime minister on a number of political issues, I can at least sigh with relief because in Canada I can live my day-to-day life without fear of starvation or terrorist attack.

To me, being Canadian is about being cooler than everyone else. In the winter, anyway.

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