A Country Called Canada

A Country Called Canada

From Chicken Soup for the Canadian Soul

A Country Called Canada

I dream of a great statue below Québec City on the Ile d’Orleans, with its arms outstretched in welcome to immigrants as they first see the Canadian heartland. On that statue I would inscribe these words: Leave all your hates behind. Bring us only your love.

Gregory Clark

I have an idea.

Let’s start a country. This country would have bright leaders in politics, labour, business, education and other fields. These leaders wouldn’t squabble or call each other names. They would try to get along.

In this country, people would work hard—and they would be allowed to keep a lot of their money. They’d help out the handicapped, the old, the sick and those who had been thrown out of work for no fault of their own. But no freeloading would be allowed. You wouldn’t be able to sit around twiddling your thumbs, abusing your body, making trouble or just being a nuisance. You would have to do your share and not expect somebody to look after you. You would be responsible for your life—and no running away. You would have to be useful.

In this country, you would be expected to respect other people, and they’d be expected to respect you. You would not be allowed to sit around griping all the time or making a lot of demands. And if you made a mess of things, you would be told to look for the culprit in your own mirror first, before you started pointing a finger at someone else.

You’d have to follow some rules because this country would work best that way. For example, you’d have to keep your mitts off other people, unless you were showing affection. No abusing animals either, or property, or people’s dreams. And you’d be asked to understand things, like feelings and hopes.

What about kids? In this country, kids would be special and receive a lot of love and peanut butter sandwiches and talks. In return, they’d be expected to go to school, learn something useful and not be smart alecks. They could keep pets provided they looked after them.

Everyone would be expected to cherish this country and treat it kindly, understand its riches, and make sure something was left for the next generation.

Putting this country in second place to any other country simply wouldn’t be allowed. You could wax sentimental about some holiday spot, or a country in your past or some place you saw in National Geographic. And, of course, you would be allowed to get dreamy about Paris. Everyone does. But this country would be your number one, top priority—your very own place, your home.

You would feel good about other people from your country, even if they were a little different. You wouldn’t act like a goof and insult them or treat them in a way you wouldn’t want to be treated.

This country would have a nice touch of pride—but pride in important things, like integrity, intelligence, cleanliness, decency and fairness.

What else?

I think I’ve left out fun. This country would have lots of fun because life isn’t worth much without fun. You wouldn’t want a country where everyone has a long face and snaps about the littlest thing, would you? You’d want to hear laughter. It’s as important as sunshine.

So. No idlers. No bullies. No grouches. No ingrates. No shouters. No sourpusses. No crybabies. No parasites. No hotheads.

Yes, let’s start a country.

We could call it Canada.

Gary Lautens
Toronto, Ontario

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