It’s Great To Be Alive – Great to be Canadian

There is More Good News in the World than Bad

Alfredo loved Canada! However, all of the recent criticism, derogatory and negative comments, and misinformation about Canada upset him.

These came mainly from opposition politicians, but also from the media and other critics. The leader of the opposition was the worst. He made innuendos and false statements about terrorists and the government not providing security to its citizens when a car blew up on the U.S. border, and there was no evidence of terrorism.

The statement that a recent treaty with the Ukrainians forced carbon taxes on Ukrainians when it did not, was a lie.

These were just two examples, to say nothing of his negative views towards working together to battle climate change.

Danielle Smith

It seemed to Alfredo that Alberta Premier Danielle Smith was looking for every opportunity to fight the federal government in order to put her own stamp of Alberta first on everything and challenging the Fed’s right to have any say in Alberta. This included things like threatening to pull out of the Canada Pension Plan and taking 60% of the assets, invoking the Sovereignty Act to assert Alberta’s power over energy regulations, and almost exclusively supporting fossil fuel when the whole world is focusing on alternative energy.

Premier Scott Moe of Saskatchewan defying the rule of law, refusing to pay approved carbon taxes to Ottawa.

The media continually puts a negative slant on events. Examples include:

• Continue harping on worsening climate change,
• Reporting unemployment is up to 5.8% from 5.7 %, when the actual number of people employed has actually increased. Many believe 5.8% is full employment.

David Johnston

• The terrible treatment of former Governor General David Johnston and his alleged partisanship in his role in determining if there was possible foreign interference in Canadian political affairs.

Why can’t the media report more on positive happenings, such as the tremendous breakthroughs with alternative energy, and the great work of our not-for-profit sector in making the world a better place? Why do they continue to be negative and avoid reporting all the positive things being done by people for others every day?

These negative stories, he believed, give many the impression Canada is going “off the rails.”

While far from perfect, Alfredo believes Canada is a great country and a great place to live.

He is a 3rd generation Canadian, his grandparents having come here in 1951 from Central America. They had ensured his parents had gone to university, something that would not have been possible for them had they not come to Canada.

Alfredo and his siblings all had gone to university, as had his children.

They lived in a lovely home, had a second property, and had many friends. He was a Vice-President of a major corporation. His spouse, too, had a great job as a senior executive at a healthcare company.

The children, as part of their education, had all gone to great summer camps and had all had an opportunity to have international educational exchanges.

He believed, on margin, and by comparison with other countries, Canada has a good safety social net.

While the healthcare system is hard to access at times due to staffing shortages, however, once in it, it delivers.

His cousin had recently been hospitalized because of a heart ailment and she could not say enough about the amazing care she had received.

They did not pay much attention to the Canada Pension Plan. However, they were told it was financially very solid. In fact, the investment performance surpassed most pension plans.

While moving slowly as a result of opposition largely from fossil fuel supporters, Canada had a strong environmental movement.

While other social programmes, complemented by NGOs, always seemed to need more money, they provided wonderful help to those in need. A number of years ago, there were no such services.

There are currently plenty of jobs and the inflation rate, in spite of what critics say, is below most countries.

Mortgage rates are now around 7.5%, about the same as in 2000, but up from 1-2% for most of the years in between. In 1990 they were 13%.

The housing shortage, while severe, is also a problem in most counties. Programmes and fixes are starting to appear.

“If Canada was such a bad country, why do so many people want to come here?,” he mused.

Canada has a broad ethnic mix, and in spite of a few nasty exceptions, people generally get along well. Our crime rate is low and because of our prosperity and social programmes, including food banks, no one needs to go without food. We also have a great volunteer mentality of helping where and when needed.

This was beautifully illustrated in a recent article he had read in a special edition of “Up Here,” a publication about the North West Territories. The article was about the many people in Yellowknife and Hay River who stayed behind to help the fire fighters from Canada, New Zealand and South Africa fight the terrible forest fires.

These people cut trees, cleared firebreaks, cooked for the firefighters, kept stores open to supply food, rebuilt infrastructure, and helped people evacuate.

The volunteers were young and old, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. They worked together and even danced and sang together, lead by the Indigenous elders.

“What a wonderful portrayal of togetherness,” he thought!!!

Canada provides opportunities to most newcomers.

The mayors of Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton all came to Canada with their families when they were young. Olivia Chow (Toronto), from Hong Kong, Jyoti Gondek (Calgary), India via England and Amarjeet Sohi (Edmonton), from India. Two women and one man.

Wab Kinew

Jyoti’s predecessor, Naheed Nenshi, was the first Muslim mayor of a major Canadian city and was considered to be the best mayor in the country. Wab Kinew is Canada’s first Indigenous Premier. These people obtained the support to lead from people of diverse backgrounds.

Other immigrants have opportunities here too. Alfredo’s cleaning lady had arrived from the Philippines 20 years ago. She worked as a nanny and cleaning lady, to make enough money to bring more family members here.

Eventually they bought a small townhouse in which 7 of them now live. Both her daughter and granddaughter are now Registered Nurses. Is she a proud mother, grandmother and Canadian!!!

Canada graduates the highest percentage of people per capita from post-secondary schools in the G7.

Nothing is perfect. We have many differences, including regional ones, fueled by our geography, our constitutional structures and our human nature, but we work them out.

Alfredo’s view of Canada was confirmed by a recent News and World Report ranking Canada as the World’s Second-Best Country* behind Switzerland, but ahead of Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, the U.S.A, Japan and Germany. Canada was first in racial equity. This is exciting news!! https://www.timeout.com/montreal/news/canada-ranked-2nd-best-country-in-the-world-for-2023-092623

IN FACT, if we use these negative comments and criticisms as motivation, we can build an even better CANADA.


Till next time,

Chris Snyder                                                                                                       Climate Optimist

* The analysis was based on a number of criteria including quality of life, economic stability, education, healthcare and well-being, cultural richness and diversity, political stability, governance, and environmental stability.

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