Parliament has risen, and it feels very good to be back in British Columbia for the summer. Ottawa is gearing up for the big Canada Day festivities for the 150th birthday of our country, but I can honestly say I would rather celebrate here in our mountains and valleys.
On Saturday, I drove across the riding from Penticton to Castlegar. This is always a beautiful route, but seemed especially so on a sunny, hot summer day. Boxes of fresh, ripe cherries lined the stands between Oliver and Osoyoos. The wildflowers in the Kettle Valley were spectacular, blanketing the green grasslands with yellow, white, blue and pink. The snows of Old Glory Mountain were perfectly reflected in Nancy Greene Lake, and the Columbia River rolled full and blue past Castlegar.
Canada is obviously more than postcard mountains and lakes. It is also the people who live here, each working to give themselves and their families a good life in this rich land. It is sometimes not easy. I was in Castlegar on Saturday to attend the memorial service for Chrissy Archibald, killed in the recent terror attack in London. A thousand people gathered to support the Archibald family; as one friend said to me, “We are so fortunate in these valleys to have such strong communities that come together at these times.”
So let’s celebrate our communities. And let’s celebrate our spectacular country. Whether you climb a mountain, swim in a lake or just relax at home reading a book in the warm sun, enjoy Canada Day. Enjoy the whole year, it’s a special one for our country. It’s a good excuse to make a special effort to explore parts of Canada you haven’t been before—even if those parts are close to home.
But remember that not everyone is celebrating. The last 150 years for Indigenous Peoples has been a painful time of colonization. Take this opportunity to learn from the indigenous community, learn the full history of Canada. We have come a long way in the last few decades, but true reconciliation is a journey we all have to make. Together we can build an even stronger Canada, a fairer Canada, where everyone has real opportunity, and everyone can enjoy the natural bounty of this land.