Do I know Canada anymore?

A blog post form my younger brother James.

What is Canada? Every person who reads this probably has a different view of Canada. After all we do live in a culture of diversity. Few people take a step back and ask why we celebrate July first. Our nation, maybe. Many intellectuals and scholars claim that nations are not real. Some believe nations are imaginary boundaries that don’t really mean anything all.

I thought about this and asked myself what makes Canada, well… Canada. Is it the 7% beer, a love of hockey, the supposedly friendly attitude? Everyone here would likely say something different. What about our ties to the British Monarchy and the parliamentary government system? A great many would state our differences from other nations especially the one south of the border. The idea of a set of imaginary boundaries really applies to us, does it not? Canada is so vast and sometimes I wonder if we are even a country, or instead just a bunch of disgruntled neighbours, living under the same government: French vs. English, East vs. West and the natives against French, English, East and West.

I think of a friend of mine who spent nearly all of his time in Canada behind bars with me. He must have had a very different view of Canada. I think about him a lot. I look through the steel mesh covered window and wonder “do I know Canada anymore”? Is it just some past life I use to ground me during this new, colder experience? I doubt that it is just my community and family, though I look forward to returning to them.

Canada is more than the things mentioned earlier. Canada is the ground beneath my feet. It is the people that I talk to in here and who so often enrich my life. It is a division of peoples, government, culture, land, nation; it’s home, wherever that might be. It is all of us. Of course so many people and scholars have a hard time to define Canada, is it so much more than just any person, a place or a thing. Forgive me for going on, but Canada is the sandbox of my life experiences here, now, and before now, the sum of my hopes, which are one and the same as every Canadian who reads this.

-James Hazlett

Please leave James some comments.

With my five brothers, James in the back right corner


5 Responses

  1. Thanks, Emily for letting us have James as a guest blogger. Damn fine piece, James.

  2. Hi James, this is a very fine piece of writing. I know your aunt from way back and you must of got some of her writing skills. I would like to add Canada is also a country of second chances and you will get your. Hang in there. Diane

  3. Canadian identity. It seems as if there was something in the Hazlett family that makes you concerned if not even crucially attached to where Canada is going.It would be really interesting to see how you and Emilys perception of identity replenish each other. I really liked your blog post, James! You talked about your friend’s view of Canada. How is his view different from yours?
    All the best!

  4. Proud of your ability to focus, and write on a subject that is so personal to each individual. You wrote your thoughts and feelings with great eloquence. WELL DONE JAMES
    Suzanne Hazlett

  5. Dear James,

    I suppose I am echoing the comments above, but I also really enjoyed your piece. It was profound, witty, and thoughtful. Thanks for sharing your perspective.


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