Stop using Canada Day as an opportunity to criticize the country

Photo by Analyn Cuarto

Photo by Analyn Cuarto

This holiday is a time to appreciate the privileges of living here, don’t be so ungrateful

By Janis McMath, Contributor

Canada Day has passed this year and, as always, I enjoyed myself on the glorious day that it is. I value the holiday so much because I think it is a great opportunity for all of us very lucky Canadians to reflect on exactly how lucky we are to be here in a country that provides us with so many freedoms and privileges. I think having a devoted time to appreciate how good we have it here is essential because it is always important to be grateful. That is why I find it insulting that some people “refuse to celebrate Canada,” or think that there is “nothing to celebrate” on Canada Day.

Now this is not to say that I don’t think that Canada shouldn’t be criticized—there are many ways this country could stand to improve. Criticism is extremely important to the continuing improvement of anything. But being exclusively critical about Canada on the one single day that is devoted to taking some time to be thankful for it comes off as entirely unappreciative and spoiled.

It is insulting to immigrants that come to live in Canada. There are thousands of people who come to this country every year looking to settle for many different reasons, ranging from the opportunity for a high income, to a chance to seek refuge from dangerous situations. Canada offers a wealth of advantages that many other countries do not, so to say that there is nothing to celebrate in Canada is an embarrassingly privileged comment. All the immigrants that migrate to Canada have their own reasons to appreciate this country, and when people dismiss Canada Day they dismiss the value foreign-born Canadians have found in this country.

Additionally, as students, we understand that tuition is expensive. At Douglas College, the average cost per credit for a domestic student for just tuition fees is $100-120 depending on whether it is an upper or lower level course. The cost per credit for just tuition fees for an international student is $580—yet students are still constantly migrating to Canada for the quality of education, regardless of the much higher prices. It is very inconsiderate to not appreciate the education you have access to as a Canadian when people are travelling from all over and paying through the nose to access it.

It is essential to be critical, but it is counter-productive to be nothing but negative; we all need to appreciate the positives. As mentioned earlier, there are many immigrants seeking to come to this country—many for refuge—and if we believe that Canada is good enough for them, it should also be good for us. If we can acknowledge that there are reasons people would want to settle in Canada, then we should be celebrating those reasons on Canada Day. This country is our home and we should never take it for granted.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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