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One hundred and fifty years

The amazing thing about Canada is not how old we are, but rather how young we are.

Shawn Acheson/There’s More To It

What a great joy it was to celebrate Canada’s 150 years. When I say that number “150” it doesn’t really seem that big. I have family members who have lived to be over 100, so when they were kids, Canada was practically brand new.

In fact, Canada is the same age as the telephone, dynamite, antiseptic and the incandescent light bulb, all of which debuted in 1867.

As far as nations go, we are still a baby, countries like Greece have been around in one form or another for 5,000 or more years, China and Japan for 2,500 years, and there is a long list of countries with more than 1,000 years of history.

I think the amazing thing about Canada is not how old we are, but rather how young we are. In only 150 years, we are strides ahead of most nations in living standards, economic development, longevity, education, healthcare and most other markers that are commonly used to determine quality of life. Canada seems to consistently place in the top five best countries to live in lists.

With the indigenous exceptions, most of us in this country have our origins somewhere else. Some of our ancestors came a few generations ago, fearless and hopeful, leaving all they had ever known to find a new chance at life, with little, if any hope, to ever return home.

Since that beginning, millions of souls from every corner of the globe have made their way here, some seeking a new life, some fleeing from their old one.

For everyone, from the first to the present generations of new Canadians, there’s been a cost to it, a price to pay and a fight to fight. Don’t be fooled by popular rhetoric, it’s not easy to get into Canada!

My wife and I are multi-generational Canadians; two of our four children were adopted from other countries. We are intimately acquainted with Canadian immigration processes. I’m convinced that the only way to get into this country is via miracles.

These days many Canadians are concerned by what looks like a disturbance in our national identity. New immigration, special interests, cultural, religious and moral fractals, all seem to all divide us further & further from one another despite an overwhelming call for acceptance, tolerance and harmony.

Indeed, it is the right heart to accept, embrace and make room for everyone. It’s been the Canadian way from our inception. But I think we may have an incomplete or slightly skewed version of inclusion. Instead of embracing the scattering of our different selves outward from a common starting point of identity and inclusion, perhaps we should concentrate our efforts and beliefs on gathering everyone in from their multiple diverse starting points into a singular identity called Canada.

If we want to keep our momentum into the next 150 years and beyond, we’re going to need to a strong commitment with one another, not just a commitment to one another.

Interestingly, of the many 1,000-year and older man-made structures still in use today, most are churches and bridges, figuratively, community and relationships – food for thought.