True Canadian identity

To local Canada Day organizers and the thousands of Central Albertans who gathered at various community events to salute Canada’s 142nd birthday.

Bouquet…

To local Canada Day organizers and the thousands of Central Albertans who gathered at various community events to salute Canada’s 142nd birthday.

The joy reflected in faces amid fireworks, ethnic foods and entertainment put on by various ethnic groups under ideal weather conditions, shows we are proud Canadians.

This is a great country in which to plant one’s roots.

Yes, we are going through some very tough times economically. But so are many other parts of the world. There is no government on this planet that can cook up solutions to pull us out of this quicksand smothering many dreams and aspirations. We must pull together and ride out the storm.

And pulling together during heavy seas is what Canadians are known for. We are a compassionate bunch with a reputation around the world for tolerance and tenacity.

We are a nation that embraces all cultures that choose to make this land a home. And we are always more than willing to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate.

We share the grief of the unemployed, the homeless, the hungry and refugees — our brothers and sisters from other parts of the planet — struggling to acquaint themselves with a new world.

We also share the grief and prayers of our rural neighbours attempting to make ends meet on their farms through yet another crippling drought. The hardest-hit counties in our area paint a dismal picture of bone-dry pastures, stunted crops and hay fields yielding only tufts of grass — much of which have been reduced to brown, brittle strands of growth.

Canada is one big community willing to lend a helping hand. It’s been said that Canadians lack a sense of identity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are a special bunch who should be thankful for the life we have in a free and democratic society that practises what it preaches. Canada and its citizens stand for true freedom. No lack of identity here.

Dart…

To the wing-nuts out there who have been tossing around the idea of throwing flu parties to infect all revellers — including their children — so their immune systems can adjust to the flu and ward off potentially fatal results in the future.

While there are no records of such parties being thrown, rumours persist that they are being bandied about.

On Thursday, health officials said rumours have emerged in Britain and elsewhere — including Canada — about people who have the H1N1 virus mixing with friends and children in a social setting.

“I have heard of people throwing swine flu parties and I don’t think it is a good idea,” said Dr. Colin Hamilton of the public heath committee in Northern Ireland.

The apparent reason behind the parties is a belief that it’s better to get the virus now while it causes mostly mild illness than wait until it mutates in a more deadly version.

Heath authorities believe the H1N1 flu get-togethers are modelled after chicken pox parties of the past, in which parents deliberately exposed their children to playmates infected with the virus to control it when they got the disease.

Again, there is no documented proof that flu recent parties have occurred, but the rumours are enough to cause the medical community alarm.

Such a notion is “totally nuts . . . It’s vigilante vaccination — you know, taking immunity into your hands,” said flu specialist Dr. Ann Moscona of Cornell University. Totally nuts? Now that’s an understatement.

Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.

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