Getting there

Getting there

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Free Hugs

I recently saw a video that resonated deeply with me, and although I needed some time to mull it over I knew I wanted to share it with you, dear friends. I saw the video at what may seem to be an unusual place to find it - a drug awareness presentation given by a law enforcement officer. Now, this video may seem to have little to do with drugs but it truly has everything to do with all forms of substance abuse - because it's about connecting with each other.

I strongly suspect that lack of connectedness leads to all sorts of societal woes, from depression and violence to drug and alcohol abuse. When an individual feels alone, forgotten, or rejected it is so very easy to fall into the abyss of addiction as it provides comfort - the kind of comfort that we, as a species, also find in each other. When we are lacking that comfort - from friends or family - we then may seek it out in other ways, giving rise to drug and alcohol abuse issues. When we make those connections, though, our interest in drug and alcohol consumption may wane because we know we are loved. We know we are cared for. We know we have a place in this world, and people who care about us.

I imagine most of us have known people who have drug and/or alcohol addictions. I know I have. The one thing many of them seemed to have, too, was a sense that no one cared about them, and they lacked the feeling of "connection" that we all desire. Humans are not solitary creatures - we are pack animals, designed to live in families and groups. When we are alone - or, when we feel we are alone - we then can become susceptible to things like addictions. When we feel connected we are happy - and less likely to seek out happiness in bottles, pill vials, or pipes. Even the very briefest of connections, just moments like in this video, can change our sense of connection to the people who share this planet with us.

I realize this is a simplistic view of addiction, and that it is far more complex. I also realize that there are addicts surrounded by loving families who struggle to find ways to help them - but I also can't help but feel that our lack of connectedness (despite this world with all it's faux-connectedness of Twitter and Facebook) contributes to these problems.

The drug awareness presentation opened my eyes in other ways, dear friends. It was given by a long-term law enforcement individual who took all my preconceived notions and beliefs about police professionals and blew them completely out of the water. I suppose I had this vision in my head of the police as individuals who thought they had all the answers, who looked at this sort of "connectedness" with suspicion and disdain, and who were not thoughtful or introspective in the least. Instead I found someone who has challenged that every belief and stereotype, and who has taught me once again to look beyond a label like "police officer" and see the person behind it. And there again is that need to connect, dear friends - in this case a need to connect with someone who can take those things we believe to be true and show us that perhaps we were misguided (or, in my case, clueless) and need to re-evaluate. I am a "connected" individual - I have family and friends I adore - and yet there is always space in my life to connect with someone new, to learn and to grow, and to see further and deeper. Perhaps this is why this video resonated with me on so many levels. Perhaps it's because it reminded me that I too need to stay open to this sort of connection. Perhaps we all do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We Interrupt This Blog - The Current Tunes Disc

Dear friends, it's been some time since I posted about what I am listening to. It's not that I'm not listening but rather that these posts are a bit labour-intensive in terms of finding the videos. I've discovered some wonderful stuff recently, though, and must share it.

First up is this amazing song from Crystal Castles, featuring Robert Smith. Remember him? You know, Robert Smith of The Cure? Yes, him! That distinctive voice still gives me the shivers - and this song is utterly stunning in it's beauty....oh, and did I mention they are from Toronto? That alone makes them worth a listen!

Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith - "Not In Love"

Next up we have Young Galaxy, also a Canadian act originally formed in Vancouver. Once again stunningly beautiful songs. I could listen to these songs all day long - and I have.

Young Galaxy - "Cover Your Tracks"

Just discovered this one a couple of days ago, and now can't get it out of my head. Normally that would trouble me, but it's such an intensely good song that I'm quite okay with it.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "The Body"

I don't think I even have words for this artist or the music. Beautiful doesn't even begin to cut it as a description. I'm completely and madly in love with this stuff. It's just amazing.

Bon Iver - "Calgary"

I suppose what I find most intriguing is that much of this stuff sounds like it could have come out of the 1980's, but with a very modern twist. Musical styles cycle, and that electronic sound is in resurgence - but there is a modernity, simplicity, and fluidity to it that was lacking three decades ago. The way the music and the style has been refined has led to to some astounding achievements - and the above are the ones that have caught my ear. Perhaps they will do the same to you, dear friends. Happy listening!

A suggestion - a great way to find new music is through 
"Stereotype Helsinki". 
You can find them at that website as well as on Facebook and Twitter. 
They have been responsible for introducing me to much of the new (to me) music featured above.

Friday, July 22, 2011

One Hundred

Here we are, dear friends. Today I post my one-hundredth post on this blog, and while that is an arbitrary number it seems an appropriate place to pause and reflect.

I began this blog just after returning from a marvelous holiday that somehow left me in a state of confusion. It seems I had a lot to sort out, from unresolved feelings about the unexpected death of my mother to trying to figure out why I fell in love with Ireland in a way that astonished me. I had so many things I wanted to say, far more than I could ever say to one person, and this blog idea presented itself through two very good friends who encouraged me to take the leap. My dear friend Jo just said she wanted to read more of my stories, and I think my beloved friend Jack just knew I needed to tell them.Thanks to their encouragement I began to write these stories, and I just haven't stopped.

Some of the posts made me cry as I wrote them, like writing about losing my mother and father. Writing about my sisters and aunt made me realize how much I treasure them, and perhaps far more than I had ever realized. Writing about my husband made me realize what a long journey he and I have been on, and how much we have shared together. Writing about my daughter made me realize how fleeting childhood is, and how much I wanted to preserve these stories for her.

I wrote about things I had never resolved, like boyfriends that should have never been, and how they forced me to face adulthood. I wrote about my ridiculously varied taste in music, from the cheesy to the offensive. I wrote about why I adore English accents, Irish men, and shoes. As I wrote something funny happened. I thought my readers were getting to know me better, but the paradox is that it was really I who was getting to know myself better. I found a confidence, a strength, and a sense of myself that I hadn't even known existed. The more I explored it through my posts the more confidence I had to write other things, and thus other blogs and writing projects were launched. One of these projects has become something of which I am very proud, and which has brought me a sense of accomplishment I never expected or could have predicted.

Dear friends, after one hundred posts all I can say is that this blog has proved to be not only cathartic but life-changing. It has become a place for reflection and memory, and a place where I come to explore thoughts about myself, the world, and those things I hold dear. I will continue to write this blog as I've come to realize that life isn't a destination, it's a journey. The journey is best enjoyed with the occasional pause for reflection and introspection, and this blog has served me beautifully in that sense. I truly hope you, dear friends, have enjoyed the trip so far, and I think it has quite truly just begun. The best part still lies before me, and I hope you will come along. Travelling this path called "life" solo is quite lonely, and I prefer to be accompanied. Shall we set off again, dear friends? The journey awaits us.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why I Can't Help Falling In Love

As I've mentioned in this blog I recently began a new writing project, one that has become very close to my heart. It's also meant I've met an incredible variety of new people, and I'm finding something a wee bit astonishing. It seems every person I meet for the new project somehow creeps into my heart, and I fall just the tiniest bit in love with them.

Don't worry, dear friends, I don't mean a romantic sort of love. If that was the case I'd be genuinely worried as that sort of love developing for virtual strangers indicates a problem, I think. No, what I mean is that some part of me falls in love with them as people - I fall in love with their dreams, their aspirations, their goals, their ideas, their vision, and their passion.

I don't think I've ever felt quite like this about people I've just met. Of course I love my husband deeply, and my daughter. I love my sisters, and I loved my parents. I have friends I adore. The love I have for those people is deep and knows no bounds, dear friends, and that has always been true. There is something about the people I interview, though, that makes me want to crawl inside their head and see what makes them tick. I want to know about their pasts, and how they came to be at the point they are now at in their lives. I want to share their thoughts. I want to see their passion and vision as they do, to make it a part of me, too. I have no idea why - I just do.

I've always liked talking to people, but now that I have begun to speak to them as "interview subjects" it seems they have taken on a new level of interest for me. I am fascinated by how differently they all think, and yet how very similar they are in so many respects. I see that people who have true vision and passion share some very common traits, and that those traits are ones I would like to foster in myself (although I am not sure I have that vision quite yet - I think the passion is there, though).

I find myself feeling close to them, seeing them not just as a "person" but as people with thoughts and dreams and worries and all those things that make us who we are. I find myself wanting to get to know them better, and I am delighted when they seem to want to share more of themselves with me, too. I know it's a risk for them to open their thoughts and dreams to someone else, and I am so honoured when they choose to do so with me. I cherish the degree of faith they have in me, and it makes me feel a bit protective of them, too.

When I began to interview people I must admit I did so with great trepidation - I am actually a shy sort, not terribly self-confident with people I don't know. I worry about looking foolish. As time has gone on, though, I've been amazed at how genuinely kind people are, and how willing they are to share pieces of themselves with me. It makes me wonder if perhaps this has been true all along, and I just didn't realize how much we as humans want to share with others that which makes our heart sing (or keeps us awake at night). I've opened my mind, and my heart, to an incredible array of new people. I'm learning something wonderful about all of them, dear friends, but it's also taught me so much about myself. It's taught me that if we just stop and listen - truly listen! - to another person we can often find things in them that we either have in ourselves or want to have in ourselves, too. It has taught me that the risk in opening your mind and heart to another person is so very worthwhile.  It has taught me that it's okay, so very okay, to fall in love, just the tiniest bit, with all the other humans who share our experience on this planet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Trouble With Twitter

I had resisted having a Twitter account for a very long time, dear friends. I didn't see the point, exactly, and it wasn't until I started a new writing project that I decided it was time to join the "Twitterverse". I knew the world of tweets would provide instant access to events and information that would assist me in the new project, and I knew it would be an advantage to be a part of that world. So, I took the leap and logged in.

There is no doubt that Twitter has incredible power and utility. There is a deep dark side to Twitter though. I learned this during two incidents I followed on Twitter for my other writing project. I realized that while Twitter is a wonderful tool it is also a tool that can be, and is, abused.

The first incident was the massive wildfire that attacked Slave Lake, Alberta. The immediacy of the reports was mesmerizing - photos of the devastation, and of the approaching fire. Tweets of fear and anxiety and confusion. And that was the problem, too - there was no way to determine the veracity of some of the Tweets. There were Tweets claiming that 75% of the town was gone, and the rest likely to burn, too. Reports flew fast and furious but of course in the heat of the moment some of the Tweets were based mostly on fear, not fact. Sifting through them was laborious and I finally realized that I needed to treat all of them as stream-of-consciousness thoughts fueled by stress, and not necessarily accurate. Still, though, Twitter allowed me an instant glimpse into that fire, almost as if I was in that town watching it burn, and that insight was an astonishing thing. Seeing regular people become on-the-spot journalists was fascinating, but again one had to be cautious.

The second incident was during an armed standoff in my city. A man barricaded himself inside a house with a gun, and refused to come out. Most of the Tweets about this incident seemed credible and came from neighbours who had been evacuated. One of the Tweets that troubled me, though, expressed the belief that the cause of the standoff was drugs - and this before anything of that nature had been reported by the police. It was even more worrisome as this Tweet came from someone who has a Twitter name indicating that they report "news" - and yet this was obviously pure speculation, and not news backed by evidence. I admit I openly challenged them on Twitter to provide proof, which of course they could not and did not. This again showed me a glimpse of the trouble with Twitter - but this was only the tiniest bit of the true trouble with Twitter, dear friends.

My greatest trouble with Twitter is that a story will appear there, capturing our attention for the briefest of periods, and then it disappears from our screens, and from our minds. The Slave Lake story was tweeted for a couple of days, and then the Twitterverse moved on to the next "trend". The armed standoff disappeared as soon as the gunman surrendered, and I suspect many people have no idea what happened to the gunman after that (charged and released for a psychiatric evaluation). That, dear friends, is the true trouble with Twitter. There is no way you can explore a story, or an issue, in depth in 140 characters. Twitter is great for that immediacy, that instant gratification - but to get to the real core of a story or issue one needs the room to explore it, and Twitter has no room for that. Twitter is designed for the 5-minute attention span, and not for the thoughtful introspection and dissection that lead us to true discoveries.

So, Twitter and I. We have an uncomfortable relationship at this point. I see the need for it, and the allure. I see the power it has, and I see how it can be used to topple governments, organize a movement, and spread the word. I also see how it can be used to spread propaganda, to proselytize, to preach, to campaign, and to lie. I see how it can lead us to expect all stories to last for as long as the Twitter trend does, without any need to explore them or see where they truly lead us. I see that it could diminish our attention span to the point where we stop seeing the need to look deeper and see further, and to only want our news and insights in 140 characters. As a writer, and as an introspective person, that troubles me deeply, dear friends. But perhaps that's where people like me enter the picture. Perhaps what Twitter needs is people like bloggers who take those 140 characters and turn them into something more, and who look deeper and further. And that, dear friends, is why I will still be found on Twitter, despite my concerns and reservations about the medium. Twitter and I, we've come to an understanding, I think.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Going to Camp

She was nine when she started talking about going to camp. When I was growing up I never went to camp - it's not something my parents would have even considered. Summer holidays weren't about sending a kid to camp, they were about interminable visits to and from farming relatives that drove you insane with country music and weird habits like playing banjos until 4 am while wearing women's wigs (seriously, in my family, it was). But my daughter had a different idea - she wanted to go to camp. Sleep-away camp. For six nights.

My daughter is an only child. She is my one and only, my gift to the future wrapped up in a tiny precocious package. There is no doubt she is spoiled. There is no doubt I am deeply protective of her. There is no doubt that sending her away to camp for a week terrified me slightly. She had never really spent a night away from me, or I from her (and when we were apart her father was with her, always). She was ready, though, to try camp.

She had been at day camps for years in the summer - engineering camps, and science camps. At the end of every day I had picked her up, though, and I was there for bedtime hugs and teeth brushing. If she went away to camp who would hug her at night? Who would remind her to brush her teeth so she didn't get cavities?

She found a camp she wanted to attend. Sleeping in teepees, and science activities during the day. It was hosted by a world-class science institution. The first thing I noted was the availability of a family camp - we could all go for three days! But no, she said. The point, she said, was to do it on her own. Without me. I don't deny the small arrow that sent through my heart, but I'd always known the day would come. I just hadn't expected it when she was still so young.

So, with trepidation I signed her up for camp. The day we dropped her off she was ebullient and happy, and walked away towards the camp with nary a backward glance. I, of course, was in tears. When we picked her up a week later she was exhausted and filthy and perhaps even more ebullient. Had she brushed her teeth? Sometimes. Had anyone hugged her goodnight? No, and she didn't need it. Had she missed me? A little. Had she had a brilliant time, the best time ever? Oh yes. Oh yes, she had.

This past month she went to sleep-away camp again, her third year now. Every year she loves it a little bit more, and next year she will be able to attend the senior camp, away from all the "annoying little kids", as she calls them. She plans to keep attending camp and, as soon as she is able, become a counsellor. She has become a well-known camper with the organizers and the institution, and she is welcomed back every year with open arms. She has introduced friends to the camp, too, and shown them the wonders of a week without parents or siblings.

And me? Dear friends, I now drop her off at camp with a smile, knowing that she will have a wonderful week. I know that her growth as a person does not diminish her need for me, or mine for her - it's just a week that allows us both to do the things we need and want to do, without each other for a bit. We are still as close as a mother and daughter can be, and I hope we always remain that close, too. I love her with a ferocity and intensity that knows no bounds, and yet with the kind of love that knows that a week at camp is just what she needs to grow. In fact, maybe it's what we both need. Just maybe we both need to go to camp once in awhile.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Theresa's Personal Truisms

A truism is a "self-evident truth". The following are all self-evident to me. I don't know about any of you, dear friends, because I think we all have our own set of truisms. These are some of mine.

1. Ending sentences with "word" will not convince people of your argument.

2. You can never own too many shoes. Ever. Word.

4. You can also never own too many trench coats. Unless you are a creepy guy who likes to hang around public parks in which case one trench coat is probably one too many.

5. Chocolate and caffeine are in a recognized food group, and considered essential to survival.

6. If other people make things up they are liars. If I make things up I'm a writer.

7. Sitting in your living room surrounded by your laptop, iPad, and iPhone is normal and the sign of a healthy mind.

8. Going to the gym is good for you. Especially when you really don't feel like going. Often that's when it is actually the best. Dammit, I really hate this kind of paradox.

9. Spending hours looking at UK shoe websites is actually a recognized hobby. Recognized by me.

10. Blogging is good for the soul. And having several blogs is NOT a sign of being obsessive, either. Word.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blogger <-> Media

I have been writing this personal blog for almost six months now, and in recent months it spun off into another blog. This other blog is related to life in my city and as such has a very different focus, but is similar in some respects. The one thing a bit different is that in my other blog I cover local events and people which lends it more of a "media" type feeling. The quandary this has left me in, though, is whether or not bloggers are truly members of the media.

Recently the local public school board issued an invitation to "members of the media" to tour a new junior high facility. I must admit I never received an invitation, which underscored (at least in my mind) my tenuous position as a member of the media, with both the pros and the cons of that position.

As a blogger I am my own journalist, editor, and publisher. I work under no deadlines except those I self-impose. I cover only those stories that interest me and that I wish to write. As long as I adhere to those laws pertaining to libel I have virtual carte blanche to write what I want. These are some tremendous advantages in my opinion, but there is a cost, too.

I have no newspaper or magazine affiliation. I have no press credentials, and thus I have to rely on my own initiative to find and pursue stories. I have to build my own reputation and hope that it opens doors for me as I cannot rely on the reputation of the organization I work for to breach those doors. I have been tremendously fortunate that those I have contacted have been willing to share their stories and thoughts with me so that I could write about them, but it would also be so easy for them to refuse.

I truly believe that bloggers are the new face of the media. We may not be as traditional as newspaper reporters but we also bring something new to the table. We can write our stories without the constraint of the bias of our organization (although often with our own), and we can infuse our stories with personal details or feelings that true journalism avoids (and for good reason). We have the freedom to chase stories that larger media outlets may ignore, and we have the ability to go further inside them if we choose to do so - without having an editor tell us we need to move on.

I must admit that at times as a blogger I feel a bit like a kid with her hands and face pressed up against the window glass, shut out in the frosty cold while members of the "true media" bask within the warm glow of whatever event is occurring. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that I wouldn't want to give up the freedom I have as a blogger in order to gain more access or "official" credentials. My reputation as a writer rises and falls solely on my writing and not on the reputation of my employer, which is both exciting and sobering. My stories get written because I have taken the initiative - I just show up at events and press conferences and go from there (and you know, I haven't been tossed out of one yet). I have access to the people I have interviewed because I have contacted them and taken that leap of faith (one that was at first very difficult for me as I am fundamentally a rather shy sort). Things have gotten easier with time, and now I have people contacting me in order to have their event or activity written about. To me that says that my role as media is gaining some validation.

In the final analysis, dear friends, I am a writer and a blogger. I'm not sure if I am a member of the media, and I'm not even sure I truly wish to be. All I know is that blogging has opened up a world of new acquaintances, friends, and experiences, and has allowed me to explore some things that would have otherwise gone unexplored. Blogger or media? I don't know, really. And I'm not sure if the distinction really matters, either.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Theresa's Irish Truisms

University College Cork, Cork
According to my dictionary the definition of truism is : "A self-evident truth". This inspired me to think of some personal truisms. I noticed that many of my truisms seemed to relate to Ireland, and I decided to explore that a bit more. Here's what happened, dear friends...

Kinsale, County Cork
1. You can be German by genetics, Canadian by birth, and Irish by choice. I'm living proof.

2. Everyone should visit Ireland at least once in their life. And if they go once they will want to go back.

3. The Irish get a free pass in my world. For everything, at all times. No exceptions, really.

4. Everything sounds better with an Irish accent, including "Sorry, I just puked on your shoes".

5. Irish men are the most intriguing creatures on the planet. I have no idea why, they just are. But don't tell them that, they don't need to know.

6. You can have two countries in your heart - whatever country has issued your passport, and Ireland.

7. They call it the Emerald Isle for good reason. It's a rare gem, but much rarer than any emerald.

8. Spend an evening with someone Irish and you are their friend. Spend a few days with them and you are family.

9. The nickname "Wanna-B-Irish" is only an insult if it's not true. I know this first hand.

10. It's impossible to be too obsessed with Ireland. Any degree of obsession is the right amount. More is better.

11. When other people tell false stories they are lying. When the Irish tell them they are just spinning a lovely yarn.

12. It's a little known fact of the English language, but the words "Irish" and "charming" are synonyms.

13. Every little Irish town has the most delightful local pub in the world. You could spend your entire life just going from one Irish pub to the next. I might.

14. Nobody in Ireland really cares if you are rich and/or famous. In fact if you are that might just make you a bit suspect in their books.

15. And one final Irish truism from me. It should be quite self-evident that there is a country and a people I adore. In fact, there are two - Canada and Ireland. I keep wondering how to arrange plate tectonics to bring them together, because that, dear friends, would be my kind of heaven.

Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Single Guy Sock Theory

This is probably something most people don't devote a lot of thought to, and honestly I never really have, either. Yes, I have socks. A few dozen pairs, actually, and in a variety of colours and styles. I thought this was pretty normal until I was speaking to a single male friend who told me about his socks. He has socks, too (we live in northern Canada, and socks are pretty much required 10 months of the year). His socks are a little different, though. He has hundreds of socks, apparently. All the same colour. All the same style.

I was a bit flummoxed by his admission. Why would anyone have only socks of the same colour and style? Well, it'd due to attrition, he said. Should he lose socks he always has some in reserve to replace them, and he never has to worry about lost socks. I pointed out that it also eliminates sorting, my thought being that laziness is the real reason behind this sock-opoly, but he claims it's just more logical to only have one colour and style of sock.

I was bemused. I still am bemused. I can't argue the logic behind his philosophy but it just seems so odd. It just seems to be something only a single man would think of and believe was rational. I doubt most single women have sock drawers stuffed with one shade and style of sock. And my husband has a variety of colours of socks (although he does have a disturbing tendency towards the same style, which says to me that if he didn't have a spouse to sort and find stray socks he may gravitate towards the single-guy sock theory, too).

I asked my friend exactly how many socks he loses. He said he has no idea, and doesn't need to know as there are always socks to replace them (like "Spartacus", he said). This makes me wonder about what sort of sock-eating monster lives under his bed because generally speaking I don't lose a lot of socks and can usually locate them behind the dryer.

Quite honestly this has opened up a can of worms (box of socks?). I now find myself looking at people and wondering about their sock drawers. This is better than thinking about their underwear drawers, I suppose (which is really just a bit creepy). It's going to get even worse as I foresee conversations about sock theories, which could really change the dynamics when I meet new people. I can't quite imagine future introductions in which I announce my name and then say "so, about your socks...".

Dear friends, forgive me, but I have to ask - what's in YOUR sock drawer?

Friday, July 1, 2011

I Am Canadian

Well, dear friends, it is July 1st, and in Canada on this day we celebrate Canada Day. Canadians are not known for fierce patriotism like our neighbours to the south, but we are indeed patriotic, and in general we dearly love the country we call home.

When I was thinking about writing this post I thought a lot about a friend who grew up in England, and who now resides in Canada. Apparently while he was growing up there were two television shows about Canada that appeared on English TV, and these shows contributed heavily to his impression of our nation. What shows? Well, it was this :

And, slightly more worrisome, this :

When he shared this with me recently I asked if this was truly how he formed his initial opinions of Canada, and he replied that it was indeed. I then asked if when he arrived in Canada he was shocked the first time he ran into trouble and a dog didn't appear to rescue him. He must have thought we are a nation heavily reliant on German Shepherds and Huskies.

All joking aside, though, this nation is one of which I am so very proud. When I travelled to England and Ireland recently I declared my nationality with pride and was always so very pleased at how well that declaration was received. People from around the world have a fondness for this country, it seems.

I have commented that some day I would like to live in Ireland, but it would be very difficult to leave Canada. I love Ireland for so very many reasons (one of them being it's many similarities to Canada) but it could never truly be home for me, either. From the East Coast to the West, from the far north to the prairies, this country encompasses some amazing places. Even more than that, though, it holds some amazing people. These are people who were born here, and those who were born in other countries. These are people who are Canadian by default, and those who have chosen to become Canadian. Over the course of my life, and particularly recently, I have had the great pleasure to meet interesting, thoughtful, and kind people who make me so proud to be Canadian.

There is something unique about this country, and so very special. We may not have the sis-boom-bah, "rocket's red glare" patriotism of other nations, but we have a patriotism of the quiet, steadfast, and life-long sort. We will defend our nation, we will show the world who we are as Canadians, and we will share with each other our vision and pride in our country.

Happy Canada Day, dear friends. Get out there and celebrate Canada - and Canadians - today. I know I will be!