Canada is really big.
I may be stating the obvious, but our country is truly vast, and not just in a geographical sense. Canada is immense in culture, character, experience, opportunity, and knowledge. We, as Canadians, have access to some of the world’s best higher education, have a (relatively) low unemployment percentage, and free health care. We are known for unique and wonderful things; hockey, maple syrup, multiculturalism, and being polite.
But all of this comes at a cost.
Canadian born youth grow up in Canada with a skewed worldview. Even the most poverty-stricken Canadians likely can’t relate to the most poverty-stricken Cambodian or AIDS-suffering Zambian. Immigrants and those who have travelled to developing nations have a sounder idea of Canada’s true affluence, but Canadians as a people have grown complacent in our wealth.
As a journalist, I can comfortably say that there is a lot that I don’t know about the world. One of the things I have come to realize is that North America is lavish and domineering and narcissistic in the way we treat our planet and global neighbours. The Washington-based Centre for Global Development came out with their report this past week on the assessment of the environmental protection policies of 27 developed nations and Canada came dead last.
How terrifying is that.
We have an annual GDP of $1,821,445 MILLION dollars, more than the continent of Africa, yet we’re more concerned with Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent separation than with the embarrassing, inexplicable state of our environment.
Yes, Canadians are polite. Yes we can go to the doctor without having to transfer funds to our bank account, and yes the government subsidizes our education. But that education is severely lacking. The government would rather us learn intangible things, like how to properly label a binder, than educate us on the state of the world and how we can make a difference.
Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly proud to be Canadian. I am a die-hard fan of the Maple Leafs, I’ve accepted that winter is 6 months long, and nothing makes me happier than paying forward a good deed.
But I have been ignorant, and I’m going to change it. Canada may have free health care, but most of the world doesn’t have health.