During the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games slam poet Shane Koyczan, between all the pageantry and glitz, gave the world his take on what defines Canada.
His performance left much for the imagination when he passionately exclaimed we are more than just hockey and fishing lines.
We are an experiment going right for a change, punctuated the poet.
As Red Deerians prepare for Canada Day on Thursday citizens may want to pause and seize Koyczan’s challenge to explore what that “more” is, and wonder in their deepest of thoughts with the poet’s assertion that this land is a successful experiment seemingly moving forward almost invisibly to a promise that is the envy of the world.
Over the past year Canada has taken the global spotlight like it never has before. Canada has arguably been the best economically performing country to come out of the recession.
The Winter Olympics was a spectacular success, and we don’t need to be so traditionally polite by not cheering the fact Canada won a record number of gold medals for any nation in the history of the Winter Games. For once, we raised the flag high and proud, sang O Canada with gusto and stared down our great American friends with the question, ‘What do you think of that?” Yes, for those incredible two weeks in February we enthusiastically embraced the notion to be so untypically unCanadian.
Of course these are the easy things of today’s Canada to acknowledge.
Canada is also many things of the past – Sir John A. Macdonald, Vimy Ridge, Maurice ‘The Rocket’ Richard and so forth. Once again, this, along with Canada’s remarkable present, can be easily googled.
But what of the future? How great can Canada be?
“We are an idea in the process of being realized,” said Koyczan.
And the poet’s point being that the idea can never be stated with picture perfect clarity, or the idea fully realized because Canada is always changing into something new, something more incredible and awe inspiring than it was the day before.
Canada is a land always in motion, and the idea that defines the land will, thankfully, never remain even remotely clear or the same in all its evolving textures and tones.
It wasn’t long ago that citizens across the land, along with scores of deep-thinking philosophers and media types, struggled with the definition of what Canada and Canadians were, and what they should be.
Often the best thing proposed was a second best definition against the great neighbour south of the 49th.
There is no need for that today. Canadians accept no second best definitions for themselves.
Instead, Canadians are proudly the indefinable people of the Great White North, strong and free – evolving and changing – and who, in Koyczan’s words, “didn’t just say it, we made it be.”