Dear Editor:

What is it that makes Canada a unique and great country?

We have a health care system that is open to all, regardless of ability to pay even though it could use a little re-focusing.

We have the spirit and productivity of free enterprise that we got from our neighbours to the south even though they seem to be losing it.

Our educational system may need a little shifting to emphasis on practical career development and life skills, but, nonetheless, it provides a solid learning base to all and is probably one of thekey factors availing upward mobility to those motivated to pursue it.

When government goes in the non-preferred direction, they are replaced democratically without violence. Some may not always like the result and voters ideally need to increase their awareness of issues, but, hey, it works. These are things of merit.

But to me, the greatness of Canada comes from the land as it majestically extends from the Pacific, across the mountains, north to the Arctic Ocean, across the Prairies, into the industrial heartland and onto the Atlantic Ocean.

It is this breadth that gives us the character to envision large, creative and tolerant thoughts.

Each region and province has its own roots, culture and traditions. These are, in the best terms, respected by the others leading to our joint greatness and diversity.

The country was founded on Aboriginal and English-French cultures and hence developed a tolerance of others extending to Eastern European settlers and, more recently Asian, immigrants.

There is, as always, some dissent, but these caution that development is done in a sustainable manner that benefits all stakeholders. Hopefully resource development will move forward, bringing our urban prosperity into more remote regions.

If there is a greatness to Canada, this Windermere Valley is Canada at its best. The land extends from the beaches of Invermere and the National Park Hot Springs up the ancient Purcells to the peaks and slopes of thePanorama ski hill.

The beaches and the slopes are inundated by tourists local, semi-local and overseas. They continue, nonetheless, to shine forth every spring and year-round in natural splendour.

Our trees are harvested with great productivity to provide needed building products for Canada and the world and yet the forests remain ever-renewed in their magnificence, teaming with birds and other wildlife.

The valleys Aboriginal people seem to be merged healthily with the community at large. The Windermere Valley shared UnitedAnglican Ministry may not be a uniting of world religions but it is a step.

Be valley proud!

Walter Benstead