Melinda R Perkins
Professor Sharren Patterson
July 14, 2010
What it Means to Be Canadian in the 21st Century
Canada is a country occupying most of North America, extending from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward to the Arctic Ocean. It is the world’s second largest country by total area (Wikipedia.org, 2010). To be Canadian means more that simply living in Canada. In Canada we stand up for what we believe in and respect others opinion. Our life style reflects the need we have to be a part of a group. Canada consists of ten provinces and three territories, five great lakes and 27 million neighbours. The extreme weather conditions, our diverse ethnic cultures, and our democratic government are what it means to be Canadian. Our ever-changing climate unifies the populations of Canada. Being Canadian is not to be taken lightly. It includes so many amazing qualities, one of them happens to be its diverse ethnicity. As anthropologist Fredrik Barth has argued, “a marker of the boundaries between groups; or as a fluctuating combination of all of these, “ethnic” – or “ethnicity” – has been a key shaper of Canadian culture.” Ethnic backgrounds are mixed which makes Canada hard to define. Every culture has their own unique qualities and strengths; in Canada their qualities have merged to become one. This new nationality created from blended backgrounds is Canadian. In other countries a lot of people don’t accept ethnic minorities. In Canada, we treasure the various cultures that reside here. The more ethnic background we incorporate into our society the richer we will be. To learn the various traditions of surrounding cultures educates humanity. The term Canadian means you have the capacity to help others when they are in need. This giving personality that Canadians take on creates a neighbourly atmosphere. In some other countries people don’t even feel safe enough to leave their own home, or to leave their door unlocked when they are home. The next time you are home leave your door unlocked and feel comforted that you are a Canadian and live in a country where you can feel safe. Also, as Canadian’s if we know someone needs assistance and support we will be there. There are many Canadian based programs for people in need like Raising the Roof, a program that assists people when homeless. We are always willing to give that extra helping hand. How many times have you gotten home after an immense snow storm to find that your neighbour has already shovelled your driveway?
Being the second largest country in the world, Canadians have ample space to grow. For its size Canada has a very small population of an estimated 31,281,092 people in 2000. Despite the vastness of the nation, 90 percent of the Canadian population is located within 160 kilometres of the United States boarder with the exception of some notable groups; most of the nation’s people live in urban areas (Encyclopaedia of the Nations, 2010). With the large distances that are created between relatives a lot of people who live in Canada consider our friends to be a part of our family. Canada also has a very liberal immigration policy that accepts refugees and asylum seekers from around the world. In 2000 there was an estimated 41,800 asylum seekers to settle here in Canada. As a Canadian we can trust our government and even the water that we drink. We live in a democratic society where we can make our own decisions and have the freedom to vote. Compared to some other countries we have a prosperous economy. We are lucky to live in a country that is full of new growth and opportunities for the future.
Wikipedia, Retrieved July 10, 2010, from http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada Kilgour,D. 1996. Canada in the 21st Century-Triumph or Tragedy. Retrieved July 10, 2010, From http://www.david-kitgour.com/mp/canada21.htm
Barth, F. (1969). Ethnic Groups and Boundaries