A NATION OF (e)X-PATS © David Watts 02&13/05/2010
To call Canadians A Nation of eX-pats can mean two things: It can mean we are dispersed world wide with Canadians living around the globe, And it can mean we all came from somewhere else.
Both statements are true.
Canadians are spread worldwide. Our diplomats, scientists, peacekeepers and other military, missionaries, Doctors Without Borders can be found in every continent and almost every country.
Our agencies CIDA, CUSO and Canadian financial institutions encircle the globe. Our students attend universities abroad and our teachers participate in overseas exchanges.
Air Canada crisscrosses the world’s airspace and its workers of all nationalities serve on the ground in its ports of call.
Before there was a Maple Leaf presence in the skies—or even a red-and-white Maple Leaf flag—the red and white checkerboard flag of the world’s largest transportation company, was a familiar sight on steamers on most of the worlds oceans. Its slogan: “Canadian Pacific Spans the World.”
Canadian authors, in their own languages and translation, crowd world book stores and kiosks. The words and tunes of Canadian musicians and songwriters permeate English and French airwaves.
And the streams of own broadcaster, Radio Canada/CBC travel by long and short wave, satellite, cable and internet, surface with the familiar read and blue logo and message “Canada lives here.”
Let’s look at this in reverse: from the inside out: All of us, including our of First Nations, bear the marks of other peoples, cultures and nationalities.
We are Asians, from the first peoples to cross the Bering bridge 20,000 years ago, to those who now come from India, China and Japan, and smaller but equally rich cultures between these.
We are Africans and Middle Easterners from the Savannah, the desert and the fertile crescent,
We are from North, South and Central America, including the Caribbean.
We are from Oceana: from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, Malaysia and Indonesia, Sri Lanka, countless coral reefs, the cones of the Ring of Fire, the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
And we are Europeans: among the last to arrive and the most forward in superimposing our cultural influence., an influence now blending with that of others of Earth’s peoples.
We are all these things, and many of us retain our ties to other homelands. Yet we are still Canadians, members of the Kanata village where we meet, mingle and enrich each other
A Québec premier once said, “Canada is not a country.” He’s right if by “country” one means the ethnically, linguistically and religiously based states of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Canada is not a country like that. Canada is something more. Our citizenship is global, our ethnicity human, and our languages and cultures shared with the other peoples of the world.
Our mission is to be a mirror of our planet on her transit through galaxies. We are a Nation of eX-pats en route to meet our fellow inhabitants of the cosmos. Bring on the rendezvous!