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Eh Canada!

I’m a proud Canadian, although it’s only fair to say that my pride is not unconditional – there are times that I’m less proud of my Hoser heritage.

This happens whenever the issue of our military readiness crops up. It happens when we throw a national hissy fit because our figure skaters got gypped by crooked French judges.

I feel less than proud whenever I watch an overly-patriotic, American-bashing beer commercial.

For the most part I’m embarrassed by our politics and politicians, and when Prime Minister Jean Chretien steps out on the world stage and speaks for our nation, I want to stick my head in a hole and scream.

Then something incredible happens that restores my faith in this country, like the gold medal performances by our men’s and women’s Olympic hockey teams. It’s a shallow example, maybe, but that event drew us closer together under the flag than any other event in recent history. People set aside petty regional, cultural, political and social differences to celebrate the one thing in this country it seems we can all agree upon.

Canada Day 2002 celebrates the peaceful birth of this nation 135 years ago. While it lacks the blood and sacrifice, the "Live Free Or Die" ideals of the American Independence Day, it nicely sums up our polite, reserved, and generally laid back national character. It’s all about coolers full of refreshing, sometimes alcoholic, beverages, barbecues piled with burgers and dogs, radios blaring Canadian music, trips to the lake / cottage / park / town square.

Flags get waved, the anthem is sung, toasts are made, and around 2 a.m. we have loud discussions on what’s best for Canada.

The pride is definitely there, but it soon fades as we head to work the next day in dark glasses, our pockets stuffed with aspirin.

Pride in our national identity should be a 24 hours a day, seven days a week kind of thing, not a T-shirt and beer cooler we dust off every now and then.

But like I said, pride isn’t unconditional.

That’s why I’ve put together a list of three reasons to be proud to be Canadian – little reminders to help you get through Chretien’s next public appearance.

1. Canadians are smart.

According to a National Science Literacy survey, two-thirds of Canadians weren’t able to name even one Canadian inventor. That’s a shame when you consider that Canadian inventors have contributed thousands of ideas and products to the world.

The electron microscope is Canadian, So is basketball, hockey, lacrosse, chocolate bars, the garbage bag, gingerale, IMAX, the Java computer programming language, the jolly jumper, Laser sailboards, light bulbs, gas masks, newsprint, pablum, pacemakers, paint rollers, panoramic cameras, phonographs and gramophones, 3D puzzles, rollerskates, screw propellers, ski bindings, snowblowers, snowmobiles, snowplows, standard time, Superman, the telephone, Trivial Pursuit, washing machines, walkie-talkies, wireless radios, and the zipper.

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