Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone. Or, as Americans call it, Canadian Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a day Canadians set aside to be thankful, as opposed to the just completed Truth and Reconciliation Day, which is set aside to be shameful. I prefer Thanksgiving, because it comes with food.
(By the way, couldn’t Justin Trudeau have waited until Thanksgiving to take his vacation in Tofino, rather than on the day of commemoration HE created? Just saying is all …)
Thanksgiving seems like it has been going on forever. No doubt there are Canadians who confuse our history with those of our neighbours to the south, and who think it has something to do with pilgrims landing in Newfoundland. In fact, according to Canada’s History magazine website, Parliament didn’t officially make the second Monday in October an official holiday until 1957, although the first Canadian ‘Thanksgiving’ dinner occurred in 1578, when English explorer Martin Frobisher gave thanks for landing safely in Frobisher Bay. Apparently it took various Canadian governments more than 400 years to decide that this Thanksgiving thing was a pretty good idea.
I’ve been feeling pretty down about Canada of late, so Thanksgiving couldn’t come at a better time. So this week, let’s look at some reasons to be thankful … at least a little.
Let us be thankful that we live in Canada.
Every year, the World Population Review issues a Happiest Countries in the World report. This year, where very few COVID-racked nations felt particularly happy, Canada came in 11th, behind the usual cast of smug Northern European countries that dominate the top spaces (Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Austria, and Luxembourg – which hardly qualifies as a country – with New Zealand nudging into the top 10.) We are just a hair happier than Australia (apparently Aussies don’t know how good they have it, weather-wise), and most importantly way ahead of 18th place United States.
Wouldn’t it be great if we made the top five, or even the top 10? But no, 11th is just fine to Canadians, because we’re wa-a-ay ahead of the Americans, and that’s all that matters. Canada’s acceptance of being just good enough is ingrained in our national DNA. If we ever come up with a slogan, it should be: “Canada: Good enough, eh?”
Let us be thankful that we live in Alberta.
OK, this one is tougher. COVID-19 is shattering our healthcare system. Our economy is dependent upon a product that is getting harder and harder to get to the people who want it. And we have a premier whose catering to the most extreme elements of his party (and the province) at the expense of the sensible majority has put us in dire straits. So, for Thanksgiving 2021, Alberta is not exactly at its peak. But for the most part, we’re still quite comfortably rich here. And hey, it could be worse … you could be living in Saskatchewan! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I have nothing against Saskatchewan, except for the Riders.)
Let us be thankful we have freedom of speech.
Yes, you can say whatever you like in Canada – unless, of course, you express an opinion that is at odds with the current zeitgeist, then it’s best to keep your mouth shut.
Let us be thankful we have freedom of choice.
Even when that freedom results in needless deaths and illness and a healthcare system pushed past the breaking point. At least nobody forced you to do the intelligent thing.
Let us be thankful for our abundance of food.
We’re lucky to live in a country where you’re not going to die from malnutrition. But look out for that morbid obesity.
Let us be thankful that we live in a democracy.
Heck, we love democracy so much, we have elections just for the fun of it! And at a cost of only $600 million, too! A small price to pay for so much fun. We’ll probably have another one in a couple of years, just for kicks.
And now, enjoy your turkey. If you can afford one …