I am a proud Canadian. I always have been. I was born on the West Coast under the shadow of the Pacific Coast Mountains, and later in life moved to the East Coast and now live just outside the city of Montreal. I adore my big little country that touches two oceans and contains so many cultures and communities from coast to coast; I love how we’re known for saying sorry too often, and that we eat too much maple sugar; and our national animal is a beaver. How adorable is that?! We deal with harsh weather climates and changes, and our European flare is evident and uniquely shown in each major city. It truly is the Great White North.
And throughout all this pandemic pandemonium, I have never been more proud to be Canadian.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not usually a newsie. I know, terrible thing for a journalist to admit, but I’m more a features/column kinda girl. News – especially politics – was never interesting to me. I gathered my pertinent information via online news sites or social as people post important information and I’d dig further.
But listen to our PM speak? Or my own premier of Quebec? Ha!
And then everything changed – and I mean everything – a few short weeks ago.
I now find myself tuning in to the news station every day at 11am to listen to Justin Trudeau, and then again at 1pm to hear Francois Legault. And you know what? The more I listen to them the more my heart swells for Canada, and for my province. Each day, they handle their press conferences with a sense of calm that’s so reassuring. They answer all questions posed by journalists with clarity and as much sincerity as they can – and I appreciate that so very much.
Trudeau has, from the beginning of all this, reminded us that we are all in this together. We are fighting this virus together, as a country. And that hit home for me. Canadians, as a people, are usually pretty friendly folk, and never have I seem so much distanced comradery before, especially when I’m out for a run.
As of late, I’ve started running outside as much as I can so that I can A) get some fresh air; and B) hopefully stave off the COVID-19-weight-gain. While out on these runs, I come across other people walking their dogs, out with their kids or sitting on their balconies.
We all have a certain look of worry in our eyes, but we wave. We smile. And we give each other space. Everyone is being so respectful of these new life rules. Everyone knows if we don’t do this together, then we’re just going to have to learn to live like this for longer.
Rainbows painted in house and apartment windows along my run, and drawn on chalk on the street below my feet help give me strength, courage and hope that we can all get through this together.
As a nation we can do this. We can Canadianly beat the COVID-19 pandemic. And we will.
Our store lineups are respectful and calm. I’ve only been out a handful of times, but every time has been pleasant and not at all stressful. Everyone is giving other shoppers their space; lineups outside larger shops don’t need to be policed since we are already keeping our distance without being warned. And inside, buyers are respectfully keeping their distance from the cashiers, and making sure to thank them for their work and for still being there.
We are protecting our elders, doing our best to protect our neighbours, our country is helping us financially, and all across the country companies are stepping up to help with medical supply production. Oh, and we’re all trying to stay sane throughout it all – shout out to Legault for making our provincial SAQs essential and suggesting we drink wine to take the edge off.
And I think we are being so very Canadian about it all, and that makes me supremely proud.
On the flip side, I made the mistake of watching our southern brethren’s orange-faced leader speak a few days ago in a similar style press conference to our Canadian leaders, and my skin just crawled throughout the entire thing. Not only did he call it the “Chinese Virus” more than once, he said nothing that would have given me confidence in controlling the spread or helping me financially as an American citizen. Nothing.
Trump announced his troops would be patrolling the Canadian border to ensure no one “slipped through” and it made me chuckle because, who would want to leave our strong nation right now and enter a land of uncertainty with no support for its people? No Canadian, that’s for sure.
Canada I love you. We got this.
Stay Safe. Be Kind. Be Canadian.
Miranda Lightstone has been a professional writer and editor for the past 15 years. Writing is, undoubtedly, her passion along with her son and of course her two cats, Biscuit and Hobbes and the resident rodent, Sir Hamsalot the hamster. Miranda lives in Vaudreuil with her menagerie, and a very patient and understanding boyfriend.