Today is Canada’s Remembrance Day, a day where we commemorate those who have fallen defending our freedom. I have never been more proud to be Canadian. Moving across the world to a country that is in some ways the polar opposite of, yet in so many ways exactly the same as Canada brings a patriotism out of me that I didn’t know I had within me. Canadians are known for being gentle and polite, whereas Israelis are aggressive and in your face. Canada suffers bone-chilling blizzards and ample summers, while Israel enjoys over 200 days of summer and considers snow a foreign concept. Canada is abundant in natural resources and spans thousands of kilometers, but Israel is a minuscule country that suffers scarcity and depends on imports. Canada’s neighbor is a world superpower that would protect us in any time of war, although Israel is surrounded by mortal enemies who wish her dead every single day.
The things that binds Israel and Canada are our shared values. I would argue that these are more important in today’s global climate than anything. Both of these countries believe in the true sense of democracy, bestowing upon their citizens freedom of expression, religion and dissent. Both of these countries believe in gender equality, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. They both highly value science, education and innovation; areas where both Canada and Israel thrive.
Both nations were founded by hardworking immigrants, eager to leave oppression to build a flourishing world for future generations. Canada and Israel both possess a moral clarity in a world where the distinction between right and wrong has become foggy in the eyes of many. The Harper and Netanyahu government are both tirelessly devoted to fighting terrorism and the threat of radical Islam that is spreading like a wildfire across the globe. They are not afraid to recognize this reality out of fear for being politically correct or upsetting adversaries. This is what I mean when I say that despite our vast differences, in so many ways Israel and Canada are exactly the same.
As a passionate Israel advocate, I used to fight a battle for Israel in Canada. Today I fight a battle for Canada in Israel. I look around me at my American and European peers who think of my country as a gentle giant and I say to them: Canada is not docile, and it is not a passive player on the international stage. Canada is not neutral in our foreign policy. Our leaders have walked out of speeches at the UN General Assembly out of firm principle, and they voice their opinions despite the risk of losing votes. Our winters are no colder than yours and our contribution to both World Wars, The Korean War, The War in Afghanistan and today’s War against Terror are no less meaningful than yours.
The only thing to “blame Canada” for, is having leaders that voice dissent against people and countries that act immorally and who stand up for what is good and right in a world that is breeding corruption and hate. Canada has a thriving economy, a true democracy, a vibrant cultural mozaic of people and a government who genuinely care about their country and keeping them safe and prosperous. Many people who make fun of Canada cannot say the same of their leaders or countries today.
Today’s Remembrance Day weighs especially heavy on our hearts since the recent loss of our Canadian soldiers Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the hands of terror last month. Fortunately, the Canadian leadership is devoted to fighting those enemies that threaten Canada’s security now more than ever.
Today, it is important not only to commemorate the fallen who have sacrificed their lives defending our freedom but also to recognize and celebrate that Canada is literally one of the best countries in the world in so many aspects and to cherish this. On this Remembrance Day and on every other day, as Canadians living abroad, it is important to act as Ambassadors of our big, beautiful nation and to remind the world of our greatness.
Lest We Forget.