© David Watts, July 2000


I am the Canadian consciousness.

I am the awareness that animates my land and its inhabitants

That gives life to the shared experiences we call history

That is recognized when Canadians travel abroad or when others look at us

I am gentle and I am strong.

Do not mistake my gentleness for weakness or my strength for being unfeeling

Follow me in all seasons and in all my aspects and you will know what Canada is about:

I am the consciousness of land—of a vast, varied and untamed land.

My land includes rocks and rivers, muskeg and mountains, prairies and plateaus

My land includes more water than solids, like the human body and Earth itself

My one shared history is the story of the land—a story that goes back before history.

My first peoples lived in partnership with the land. Even my city dwellers return regularly—like a religious ritual—to hike, camp, and canoe through the land.

Ask a Canadian about Canada. He can no more answer you without invoking the land that she could speak without taking a breath.

I am the consciousness of land—closer than breathing.

I am the consciousness of relatedness—relatedness to the land, of my people to each other, and to peoples around the world.

There is nothing and no one on Earth to which I’m not related in some way.

My people, my place names, my materials, my inventions, my artists, my institutions, either come from or have gone out to other parts of the world.

As you can take a cup of water, scatter it over the earth, and find its molecules in any other cupful you dip out of the seven seas,

So is my consciousness of relatedness: expressed throughout the biosphere.

I am the consciousness of bridge building, of bringing together—of seeing the heart of what is here and re-sculpting and arranging it in new relationships.

The explorers found me a roadblock on the way to Asia—I built a Northwest Passage across the land by rail, and connected to the overseas with ships.

My peoples felt apart from each other in their regions and cultures—I built networks that became the CBC, the Trans-Canada Highway, the Trans-Canada Trail.

I have become a bridge to other peoples around the world through trade and travel, peacekeeping and participation in cultural exchanges.

The Commonwealth of Nations owes its existence to the type of co-equality I pioneered in my relations with Great Britain.

The United Nations owes its peacekeeping to the combination of diplomacy and peace forces that grew up in the challenge of keeping my nation united.

I am everywhere—in Operation Crossroads in Africa, in the Colombo Plan in Asia, on the sea in the North Atlantic and South Pacific, on the airwaves of Radio Canada International and with NASA in outer space.

I am the Canadian consciousness.

I am an awareness shared with others in a larger Self.

I am a consciousness of land, of relatedness, and of making connections.

I am deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of my people.

Like the Scottish people who contributed to me, I am known and recognized world wide as resourceful and freethinking.

As the Scots have lived under many arrangements and governments with their national character alive and intact,

So it is with me:

What is now Canada has been ruled by four colonial powers and had at least seven constitutions:

I am the Canadian consciousness:

I know who I am

And it is this truth that makes me free.

(610 words, 3 min. 50 sec. reading time)

To be recorded to musical background:

Ricciotti, Concertino No. 4 in F minor