Kanata, “the village,” and Canada, “the nation” are two examples of how multiculturalism has affected the development of this country. Our native Indians who originally inhabited the land, looked internally at the diversity of its resources and formed a culture sustainable with the environment. The European explorers who arrived on its shores made the rest of the world aware of this diversity and formed a culture that wanted to live for a better future. This interaction between cultures could lead to confusion, but in Canada the result is true beauty. The name of our country resulted from a mistranslation, not between two different languages, but from two different viewpoints. The nation of Canada today is as promising as the native settlement of Kanata. Canada is diverse, Canada is strong, Canada is worth saving. That is no mistranslation.
The key to Canada’s past in the eyes of navigators such as Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain was to find a link between East and West. Lakes and rivers brought people farther inland to settle. The natural wealth in Canada was seen by them through the fur trade, mineral deposits, fish supplies, and forests but also through the overall beauty of its landscape. It was the determination, hope, and imagination of these founders however, that made Canada’s motto, “A mari usque ad mare” a reality. From sea to sea, the Canadian National Railroad was built and served as the ultimate link to the west coast. Now, it serves as a reminder to modern Canadians of the ingenuity experienced as a nation independent from any other. Our natural resources must be preserved or there will be a risk of losing educated and professional citizens to other countries. If the environment is continually exploited, so will the lives of future Canadians.
In the eyes of many politicians and corporations, the key to Canada’s present is to link north and south, the south being the United States of America. The economics of this country impact how Canadians are viewed by others and in how we view ourselves. Canada is geographically rich, enjoys excellent social programs and infrastructure, is welcoming to immigrants, has a multiculturalism policy and produces talented musicians, artists, and athletes. Clearly, Canada is the most desirable country in the world to live but Canadians must recognize and strive to protect this in order to maintain a sense of self. Relationships with other countries are also very important to Canada’s economy. Formally, Canada is a member of the United Nations, NATO, NAFTA and the Commonwealth, and Canadians are respected as peace-keepers throughout the world. This is an age revolving around technology, mass media, competition and opportunity. Unfortunately, past achievements are at risk due to free trade and poor protection of Canadian industries.
Canadians have a unique outlook on the world because of diversity and our education in becoming globally oriented. By comparing Canada with the rest of the world, advantages over many other nations can be discovered. We must focus both on our many present advantages and how to create a harmonious future as a community. A society that emphasizes corporations rather than societal needs establishes drastic gaps between the rich and the poor. Health care, education, and safety must be accessible to all Canadians. Canada’s future cannot be bought or sold.
In the eyes of a young person, the key to Canada’s future is to link Canadians. For many of us, our self-perception as a citizen has become somewhat clouded. Varied backgrounds, viewpoints, and a weak knowledge of history, have sometimes made us too modest when considering our global importance. Education on policies made by the government will form a stronger understanding of self-identity. A common goal as a nation can be announced, but it is not necessarily understood. Past generations have made many mistakes due to an inability to think of the future. The environment has been badly damaged. Canadian companies are becoming foreign owned, and Canadian culture is at risk to a larger, more aggressive American culture. There are so many answers to the problems and they lie in the minds of Canadian youth. Canada is proof that diversity is a strong word, not a confusing one.
The Maple Leaf can now be observed on backpacks, beer commercials, tattoos, and etched in the hearts of Canadians. It has evolved from a national symbol to a sign of patriotism — a sign of identity. Canada has developed from a small “village” to a strong nation. The past cannot be forgotten to ensure a vision for the future. In villages, people work together and care about each other. This village element must always be present within our country. Community, opportunity, and freedom are characteristics to treasure as a Canadian and it is this realization that will protect our homeland. O Canada. We TRULY stand on guard for thee.