Oh, Canada!

Karissa shows her national pride at last year's Canada Day

Karissa shows her national pride at last year’s Canada Day

Canada Day is coming up, which means its time for another party here in Tumbler Ridge.

As has been the case the last few years, Canada Day Fireworks will be held on June 30, starting at 10:30 and the party celebrations will be held downtown again this year, starting at noon on Friday.

While it is a little too early to make any hard and fast claims about the weather (the paper is going to print on Monday, though you’re reading this on Thursday), the weather looks to be good, though not great. Warm, but not hot. Cloudy, by not cool. Maybe a bit of rain, but hopefully not a lot.

As with the last few years,  local bands will be playing all day beneath the shelter, and local businesses will be displaying their wares on the street in front of their place of business.

Canada Day celebrates the day that the British North America Act took place, creating the Canadian Federation.

It is also a day for Canadians to celebrate and reinforce our national identity.

But what is that identity exactly? What defines us as Canadians?

This is something that big thinkers have been pondering for decades, and has become even more important to many now that Canada is on the cusp of turning 150 years old next year.

Over the years, Canada’s national identity has continuously changed, shaped by shifts in the socio-demographic landscape of Canada, historical events and social relationships.

Canadian identity cannot be considered a stagnant construct, says a document on the Government’s website, seeking to define how we view ourselves. Rather, it says, it evolves over time.

And while identity, in itself, can be an interesting declaration of who Canadians are and what they stand for, the notion of how Canadians view themselves and others in Canadian society can have implications on their social integration, civic engagement and participation, and connections with others. According to the department of Canadian Heritage.

The study looked at three elements of national identity: national symbols, shared values and pride.

The most important national symbols according to the research, is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with 70 percent of people picking it as the top symbol of who we are as Canadians.

Hot on its heals was the flag, with 69 percent believing it was an important national symbol.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, considering the controversy surrounding the proposed changes to the anthem, it was the third most important symbol.

Other popular choices included the RCMP, with over 50 percent of people saying they were an important national symbol and hockey, at just under half.

Other symbols that were seen as important included the beaver and the maple leaf.

Perhaps more interesting was the discovery that people from Newfoundland are the most likely to believe that national symbols were important.

On the other hand, and perhaps not surprisingly, people from Quebec were the least likely to believe that national symbols were important, with only about 33 percent of people regarding national symbols as important to the Canadian identity.

Between the genders, women were more  likely to believe that national symbols were important to identity in all categories, except, again not surprisingly, hockey, where 50 percent of men believe it is an important symbol, whereas about 40 percent of women felt the same.

As with national symbols, shared values are basic components of identity that help understand a nation’s character, says the report.

Canadians were asked what values were shared by all Canadians. Options included  the values of human rights, respect for the law, gender equality, linguistic duality, ethnic and cultural diversity and respect for Aboriginal culture.

The questions focused on the perception of collective Canadian values, as opposed to individuals’ own personal adherence to these values.

The overwhelming majority of people believed that Canadians collectively share the values of human rights (92 percent), respect for the law (92 percent), and gender equality (91 percent).

While most also felt that Canadians collectively shared the other three values measured, the proportions were somewhat lower, especially respect of Aboriginal culture (68 percent).

While women tended to have a higher regard for national symbols, they were generally less likely than men to greatly feel that Canadians share specific values.

Across the provinces, Ontarians were the most likely to believe in shared values.

Finally, Canadians were asked about national pride. Two categories of pride were measured: sense of pride in being Canadian and pride in 12 Canadian achievements.

Overall, Canadians reported a high sense of pride. Nearly nine in ten (87 percent) were proud to call themselves Canadian, with more than half (61 percent) saying they were very proud to be Canadian.

The factors contributing to national pride were varied, though levels of pride were greatest for Canadian history (70 percent), Canada’s armed forces (64 percent), the health care system (64 percent) and the Canadian Constitution (63 percent).

So come show your pride with the rest of town and celebrate Canada Day.