Dan Albas

COLUMN: A celebration of Canada

Canadians found new ways to celebrate Canada Day during the COVID-19 pandemic

Canada Day has long been one of my favourite days of the year.

It is the one day where we, as a country, come together to celebrate all that makes us proud Canadians.

This year will be much different.

We did not have the large community gatherings, parades, the local entertainers, the important cultural performers or the end of day fireworks.

In our riding we have seen more and more inclusion of Indigenous First Nations in our celebrations, which has been very positive.

This year we all found new and different ways to celebrate what it means to us to be Canadians, as we collectively honour our great nation.

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Over these past few challenging months, we have recognized the many brave and courageous Canadians who loyally served us in healthcare, in seniors care, in emergency services and in essential services, often retail work environments.

All of these people are deserving of our gratitude and our appreciation and we thank them.

I would also like to take a moment to sincerely thank and recognize members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Yes the RCMP, like any organization, have challenges and certainly have bad actors.

When these bad actors present themselves, it is vital that these institutions use due process and hold those responsible to account in a transparent way, so that public trust is upheld.

However, it is also important that we not tarnish all RCMP officers with the same brush.

We must recognize those who bravely serve our communities and never forget the many officers that have made the supreme sacrifice, in the line of duty, for Canada.

It is often the families of the fallen who are left to deal with their loss privately, while the public moves on.

In addition, we must not overlook that in many communities, the RCMP may be the only resource available.

The lack of resources for mental health services should be rightfully directed to the various levels of government to rectify.

Before I close this week’s report I would like to share a few observations.

When we see the recent spike in COVID related cases south of the border and elsewhere, it should serve as an important reminder that we must continue to be cautious and vigilant at all times.

We should also reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a country, that for many decades, has embraced universal health care.

Our healthcare system is not perfect, but no Canadian who might feel they have COVID related health symptoms is afraid to seek out medical help for fear of being unable to afford the cost of that care.

That is a wonderful part of being Canadian.

As we reflect on being Canadian, let us not allow hate to divide us, let us embrace a country where we can all share what makes us unique.

Happy Canada Day to one and all!

My question this week: How did you celebrate Canada Day this year?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

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