Throughout 2017 all across Canada, communities large and small, rural, metropolitan and our most remote regions are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday. It’s a year-long celebration and everywhere local organizers try to include a Canada 150 component in local festivals, parades, picnics, charitable fundraisers, skating parties, and all of our events and social gatherings.
Commemorating our nation’s longevity is important. Most Canadians agree that our 150th anniversary is special. Some of us are old enough to remember 1967, our Centennial year and how it was also different from other years. We were still considered a young nation in our Centennial year and many nations continue to try to describe us as a newer country.
Yet Canada became a very strong nation – early in our history. On April 9th this year, we paid homage to the Canadians of our WW I generation and our success at Vimy Ridge in particular. From the time of Canada’s earliest years we have been known as rugged hard-workers. We had to build our nation from the ground up. The promise of prosperity for our children and grandchildren and those to follow was and continues to be, why we are willing to work hard. Many parts of the world marvel at our capabilities in our cold northern climate. They also remark on our friendliness, politeness, humble tone, and famous sense of humour.
As your Member of Parliament, I always enjoy being invited to what I call community-building events in our riding of Battle River-Crowfoot. In all corners of our large geographic riding I always find the same kind of people. They are local folks who care and are willing to give back to their community.
Mostly, they are hard-working and talented – some even have special skills and knowledge that they freely share with their colleagues in local non-government voluntary organizations. We have many local volunteer organizations including: Chambers of Commerce, Legion branches, Rotary, Kingsman, Elks, 4H, and many more that help and serve our local communities.
The membership of these groups is the citizens who help us build our communities. Many more citizens benefit from their work. The high standard of living we enjoy and the facilities we have – in good times and hard times – are the result of hard work and preparation to confront stormy weather in all its forms.
Our local service organizations help strengthen our neighbourhoods. Local organizations create friendships among people who might not otherwise meet each other. They bring us together in fellowship – working towards goals that sometimes we can only accomplish by working together. Another product of the comradery we share in our volunteer efforts is the ever-important networking aspect. Business connections are indeed developed and pursued by folks who met and talked at volunteer events about things that could be done – and then they did those things.
It is the same in many places in our province and our nation. That is how we built Canada, one of the strongest economies in the world. This is how we stay together, by working together on problems that typical Canadian communities confront. As well, we have communities with nation-building opportunities that local folks are responsible for achieving – from our fishing industry on both coasts; agriculture and forestry in our interior, our energy resources, to the technological industries in our population centres.
Yes, Canada has 150 years of hard work and accomplishments to celebrate in 2017. Some of these successes are achieved at high cost while many come from Canadians who dedicate their time and effort freely!
As your MP, I always thank our volunteers on behalf of all of the many folks who benefit from the work of our local volunteers.