By Camille Aubin
[email protected]

Being a Canadian is a true blessing. There isn’t much more citizens can ask for in terms of quality of life and personal liberties, at least compared with such standards in many, many other countries around the world. Still, it’s been a rough year for our country and not exclusively because of COVID-19.

Canada has recently been ranked as the best country in the world, for the first time ever, in the 2021 Best Countries Report, produced by the U.S. News & World Report, for multiple reasons. The rankings measure various countries based on 10 different categories. 

Canada came first place in two categories — quality of life and social purpose. This is good reason to celebrate and be proud on Canada Day!

We’re fortunate to have a public health care system and a public education system that are well developed. Canadians generally feel safe. Our politics are stable, and the job market is growing strong. As stated in the report, Canada has a strong economy and is a family-friendly country. 

According to the same report, our country’s reputation is also based on our concern for animal and human rights, our commitment to climate goals, our trustworthiness, a fair distribution of power, relative equality for women and minorities, and better racial equity than most of other countries. 

But you’d be forgiven for thinking that with news in recent days, being ranked a leader in racial equity simply isn’t enough.

If you feel you haven’t heard much about Canada’s number one spot in the report, well, no wonder: the report came out at almost the exact same time that 215 children’s remains were discovered at a former residential school in Kamloops, a dark and disturbing reminder of a shameful chapter of Canada’s history that sparked sadness and anger. 

Canadian news media have also been monopolized by stories about a terrible car attack on a Muslim family in Ontario and a sudden spike in crime involving Asians during COVID-19.

As a result, Canadian pride and our desire to celebrate our heritage may be more sensitive on this Canada Day.

Yet, we may need it more than ever this year.

Canada is far from perfect. There is much work still to be done. But there are things worth celebrating, celebrate them we should and not forgetting where we came from.

During this one moment of the year, we are called upon to recommit ourselves to the principles that bind our communities together. So, on Canada Day, let’s spread a sense of community and solidarity toward one another.

Let’s acknowledge our dark past and present, and let’s demonstrate to people around the world and to each other our determination by taking more significant steps to improve and to do better. Let’s remember what makes Canada a great country and the citizens who have worked so hard to make Canada recently rank best in the world to live. 

Happy Canada Day.