Home Is Where the Toque Is

It has been far too long since I’ve written anything, as we know, life can get in the way, and it sure doesn’t give a damn about your plans. Nonetheless, I’ve finally returned to good ol’ Canadian soil, and (gladly) left the suffocating smog of Beijing.

Travel has been a huge part of my identity for the last five years, and I have had the opportunity to explore and immerse myself in several Asian countries and even a couple of European ones. I’ve met some amazing people and developed some lasting friendships along the way, but there is really no place like home.

Canada is my homeland, and I wouldn’t go insofar as to say I’m proud to be Canadian – after all what does that really mean? Still, I am delighted my passport carries that reassuring coat of arms, as we canucks really do receive a certain hospitality abroad. Nevertheless, like with any home, it requires maintenance and even some upgrading now and then.

Now, don’t get your under things in a bunch, I know it is a privilege to live here, to be a national. Canada has one of the strongest banking systems in the world; we have public healthcare, and an abundance of natural resources. We are welcomed warmly the world over, and pollution masks, are not an accessory we require. Canada is a great country, but I’ve never been satisfied with ‘great’, especially when I know ‘better’ is within reach.

My comparisons of Canada to places like Norway, Denmark, Sweden and even the Netherlands – countries who have truly embraced a socially responsible ideal – have been a common utterance of mine. But each time the suggestion arises that we have the potential to be as socially liberal, and environmentally conscious, I’m countered with, “(blank) is a small country, and establishing (blank) would not be possible here, Canada is too big”. Well that is some defeatism if I’ve ever heard it. If you can’t find the solution, you haven’t looked hard enough.

There is no reason Canada cannot establish an affordable and fuel efficient rail system, establish limits on urban sprawl, offer affordable post secondary education, build vertical farms, or even implement bicycle friendly cities. The solution for being better than great lies in the cure for the apathy that hinders it. We are the Great White North, but its damn time we find a new adjective, eh?