Opinion Column by MLA Rick Strankman. FILE PHOTO

Strong and free for 150 years

From coast to coast, in hamlets, town and cities, we celebrated the 150th birthday of our nation.

From coast to coast, in hamlets, town and cities, Canadians celebrated the 150th birthday of our nation. Canada is considered a proud nation that has one of the highest qualities of life anywhere in the world by most accounts. That reputation has as much to do with the people that reside here as it does the opportunities and resources that enrich this country.

Canada Day 2017 in Alberta was highlighted by parades and festivals that included recognitions of our countries original inhabitants, the people of the first nations and our latest inhabitants, immigrants who have recently landed on this country’s shores. The cross section of Canadians came together on a day that we can show off to visitors and the rest of the world why Canada has one of the world’s highest qualities of life.

The Canadian quality of life is appropriately referred to in our countries national anthem “the true north strong and free.” Canada’s strength is in its people, people who came to this country with hopes and dreams of a better life. They come, they work hard and they contribute to the strength and freedom we all have the privilege of benefiting from.

Of all the people who came and sought their dreams, none are more deserving of our thanks than our Canadian Veterans who “stand on guard for thee!” The military in this country have played a large part in battles that shaped the world we live in today. The sacrifices and contributions made by those Canadians on foreign soil have allowed us to live with the freedom we benefit from and enjoy every day.

Canada’s 150th birthday celebration is special and something we should all be proud of as a nation, but it’s as important to remember our past as it is to look towards our future. Parade routes around Alberta were lined with people who served in defence of our country’s freedom that ask for nothing special in return.

Whether it’s Canada’s 150th or 151st anniversary as a free country, there’s a debt of gratitude that is owed to those who made it all possible, our veterans and service men and women. While we’re celebrating, while we’re going about our daily lives, while we’re safe in our homes, they’re standing on guard for that freedom we prosper under.

Canada Day is special for this country and it would serve us all well to remember that without our brave men and women that have served in our military there would be no true north strong and free.

Thank you to all of our veterans for keeping this country strong and free for 150 years and counting.