Top News

Editorial: Nation building

Canadian flag
Stock Photo

This Canada Day, special citizenship programs are planned in five cities across the country to offer an insight into how this nation was forged and the sacrifices to make it great.

Two of them are scheduled for Atlantic Canada.

People leading these events aren’t veterans of war or historians of note. Instead, they are teenagers. Six of them will lead roundtable discussions on what it means to be a Canadian and an active citizen.

The events are meant to offer hope and inspiration for our newest citizens. In St. John’s, Haleh Zabihi and Owen Martin will chair discussions at the Railway Coastal Museum. In Charlottetown, Charlotte Armstrong will be at Ardgowan National Historic Site.

The teens are Vimy Foundation alumni who, in 2016 and 2017, visited sites of the First and Second World Wars in France and Belgium, exploring the wars’ legacy on our young country.

The Battle of Beaumont Hamel 102 years ago lives on as a critical moment for Newfoundland and Labrador, as hundreds lost their lives or hundreds more were wounded. The bloody Battle of Vimy Ridge saw Canada become a true nation on the world scene, but it was also an event which forged a belief that diplomacy, respect and compassion must always be our goals in nation-building.

We should take time this weekend to consider how fortunate we are to live in Canada and the many reasons we have to celebrate our nation — the True North strong and free. We have to appreciate what we have to help preserve Canada and make it better for future generations.

Countless Canadians will gather on Parliament Hill and in city parks and village squares across the land on Sunday for speeches and inspiring words. But it’s also a time to celebrate with barbecues, ice cream, hot dogs, flags, party hats and fireworks.

In Atlantic Canada, it’s the long-awaited start of summer with warm, humid weather finally settling in. It’s the end to the spring season for many fishermen. Schools closed this week and the summer break is upon us. Our thoughts are directed towards holidays, travel or a cottage getaway.

There is a bursting feeling of pride and optimism across Atlantic Canada where more than 70 per cent of citizens believe the overall quality of life in their city, town, village, or community is excellent, and has improved since 2015, based on recent polls.

RELATED: U.S. boycott gains strength as Canada readies tariffs on $16.6 billion in imports

Yes, there are troubling issues looming. We have watched the U.S. proclaim an “America First’ policy, that is spilling over towards a trade war that poses serious implications for Atlantic Canada. Ottawa is putting retaliatory tariffs in place this weekend. We are urged to buy, build and sell Canadian. It will be a test of national character. Canada needs your support.

The U.S. is also preparing to celebrate its national holiday — the July 4 Independence Day. As we celebrate national holidays, our two countries should focus on the many issues which bind us closely together, instead of the current disagreements that are pushing us apart.

There was a special emphasis on Canada Day last year as we marked our 150th birthday. We should continue those celebrations and good feelings for number 151.

Read more editorials here.

Recent Stories