The Barrie Examiner

Tomorrow is Canada Day. The country will be celebrating its 149th birthday and it will be my first Canada Day since becoming the Member of Parliament for Barrie-Innisfil.

For all MPs, Canada Day is filled with many events where Canadian pride will proudly be on full display. No matter our age and regardless of how we or our ancestors came to Canada, it’s a day for all to celebrate what makes each of us Canadian.

It’s also a day to reflect on our rich history as a nation and be thankful for all that we have and all that we are.

As I write this, I am heading home on a train from Ottawa. As I look out the window I am reminded of the effort, vision and courage it took for our forefathers to build a railway a century and a half ago over a vast and largely inhospitable landscape.

As a young boy growing up in Montreal I have vivid memories of the parades and ceremonies paying tribute to our military. I recall early on the profound sense of duty I felt to honour our men and women in uniform. It was engrained in me to respect those who fought and to pay tribute to those who did not return.

Having served three decades as a firefighter, I think of the dangers our first responders face and remember those who were lost in the line of duty wearing the maple leaf on their sleeve.

But Canada Day is also about looking forward as our nation was founded on the promise of a better future for all.

On Canada Day, I think of the smiling faces of new citizens being sworn in as Canadians.

I think of our seniors who dedicated their lives to building a better Canada. I think of our entrepreneurs, their spirit of discovery and their drive to create prosperity and I cherish the promise of our young people with their unlimited potential.

I see a group of athletes singing our national anthem loudly with gold medals around their necks and I am energized by our local community groups, service clubs and volunteers who pour their hearts and souls into making our society better.

Every day, I meet special Canadians with an undying love of country and a deep sense of commitment to their neighbours.

These are just a few of my thoughts on Canada Day and what it means to me, to be Canadian.

It is the reason I stand tall and proud when I hear our anthem or while our glorious flag snaps in the wind.

Whatever your reasons are to celebrate Canada Day, whatever your narrative is, I hope we can all agree being part of the Canadian mosaic is a pretty special thing.

Serving as the MP for Barrie-Innisfil, I am inspired by the story of our majestic nation and am wholly optimistic about our future.

I sincerely hope you and your family have a very safe and happy Canada Day.