Counting our blessings as Canadian citizens

Canada Day is that rare opportunity to – for one day anyways – forget about our complaints about society in general and focus on the many blessings we enjoy simply by living in this amazing country.

No, life in Canada isn’t perfect. People face hardships of all kinds, and any amount of prosperity that comes our way from calling Canada home doesn’t extinguish the many harsh realities out there – especially this past year with the economic slowdown and as a result, massive job loss particularly here in Alberta, that thousands have faced.

But in the broader picture, we enjoy so many advantages and opportunities in this country that can only be dreamed about in other corners of the world.

Most of us have never known what it is to be truly hungry for any length of time. We turn on our taps and can drink the water without fear of being stricken by some deadly disease. We can worship how we choose without fear of significant oppression or governmental interference much less violence.

We have a government that, again certainly not perfect, provides many services that would be unimaginable in much of the developing world. Our health care system (yes there are flaws) is pretty much always there for us when we need it as well. Some diseases that still ravage communities in other parts of the world are pretty much memories in Canada.

Ultimately, anyone who has had the opportunity to spend time in a developing country knows full well how privileged we are to call Canada home. Just watching the news will give a quick education into the frightening instability so many face as they fight for even some semblance of democracy in their homelands.

Even looking south of the border the political chaos makes us grateful to be Canadians. Big news in Canadian politics runs along the lines of the prime minister’s wife floating the idea of hiring an assistant.

So the freedom and peaceful society that we so often take completely for granted is certainly something to be thankful for.

Canadians have much to be proud of. An example is an overall willingness to welcome thousands of Syrian refugees to our country who fled their homes with nothing. They arrived on Canadian soil earlier this year, and while there was much in the way of discussion upon their arrival and shortly following, we don’t really hear much about it these days. A testament that Canadians have embraced and accepted the idea.

Canadians are known for their generosity, politeness and acceptance and this particular instance speaks volumes to that.

Certainly, these are critical things to keep in mind on July 1st when we are (hopefully) soaking up the sun and counting our blessings.

Locally, we encourage Red Deerians to take part in the festivities that will take place at Bower Ponds virtually all day on Friday hosted by the Cultural Heritage Society. Officials expect there will be roughly 9,000-10,000 people in attendance throughout the celebrations.

There will be a constant stream of performers on the stage near the pond from 11:30 a.m. right down to when the fireworks start which is around 11 p.m.

Opening ceremonies of the celebration start at around 2 p.m. with speeches and introductions to the mayor, Members of Parliament, MLAs and the president of the Cultural Heritage Society which will then be followed up by cake cutting.

The Cultural Heritage Society plans on also having many family oriented activities such as face painting, a bouncy castle and the Red Deer Native Friendship Society will have a Tipi set up as well.

The Cultural Heritage Society has been host to Canada Day celebrations in Red Deer since 1969, and will host its 50th Canada Day celebration in 2019.

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