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Happy Canada Day! Strong and free!

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Canadians celebrate July 1st, the day in 1867 when Britain's Canadian colonies united, giving rise to the great country of Canada. (Credit: Wiki)

Their national anthem calls them strong and free. Their t-shirts proclaim it.

Canadians live under the rule of just common laws which protect their property, their freedom and their lives. These were Britain's gifts to them.

Empires are not in the habit of willingly granting self-rule to their people. In 1867, in the British North America Act, Britain did.

As long ago as 1839, the British Parliament had begun to wonder what to do about the energetic people living in British colonies north of the United States. Parliament asked for recommendations. An unlikely trio provided them.

They were the Earl of Durham (known as 'Radical Jack'), brilliant Charles Buller, and Edward Gibbon Wakefield. Edward had written about land reform in Australia while languishing in Newgate prison, where he had been sent for eloping with an under-age heiress.

In a blunt report they recommended a union of the colonies with local self-government. Small, local government empowered Canadians to solve their own problems, create their own opportunities and live in freedom.

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Parliament Hill, Ottawa. Canada's Constitution and Her Majesty's Government in Canada are modelled after Britain's Constitution. Independence flourishes. Image: Wikipedia

Canadians seem happy with their big, beautiful, northern country. In our experience there is a relaxed, kind, and productive atmosphere here with big skies and big mountains and vast plains. Canada's flag can be seen flying everywhere.

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Yoho National Park in Canada's Rocky Mountains

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Saskatchewan

Canada sends its wood, gas and oil around the world. As Mark Steyn wrote, "Canada is a resource economy. . .It has the second largest oil reserves in the world. Image: Citizens for Justice

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Obtaining that energy, on which our lives as lived today depend, is not a pretty sight. The Athabasca oil sands. Canadians are working toward renewable sources of energy. Image by NASA.

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Vancouver

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Stanley Park, Vancouver

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The Jade Canoe by Bill Reid at Vancouver International Airport is a tribute to Canada's native heritage. Image: vancouver 21

Reid was born in Victoria, British Columbia to an American father of Scottish-German descent and a mother from the Haida, one of the First Nations of the Pacific coast. He developed a keen interest in Haida art while working as a radio announcer in Toronto. He first learnt about his heritage from his maternal grandfather, who had himself been trained by Charles Edenshaw, a Haida artist of great renown (Wiki).

Visiting Canada a few years ago, The Queen said --

"I have been a witness to this country for more than half its history since Confederation. I have watched with enormous admiration how Canada has grown and matured while remaining true to its history, its distinctive character, and its values.

"This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example for the world. We have just now seen images of the Canadian forces [on a giant screen], and diplomats and humanitarian workers at work across the globe providing their support and assistance to others in dangerous and hostile circumstances, and earning the respect of us all.

"At home, Canadians have many reasons for optimism, even in trying times. The recent success of the Vancouver Olympics was about more than the thrill of the gold medal for Canada’s hockey team. [Crowd cheers].

"As well as renewing a sense of common purpose within this country, the Olympics showed to others something of the extraordinary warmth and enthusiasm of the people as Canada welcomed participants and audiences from around the globe.

"In many ways, Canada is proudly asserting itself on the international scene and looking to the future with confidence. I wish you all the very happiest Canada Day. God bless you all and God bless Canada."

A few more posts that might interest you --

Exploring Canada with Alexander Mackenzie is here. The St Lawrence Seaway is here. Newfoundland is here. Making the invisible visible in Vancouver is here.

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Canada's NEOSS space telescope

In addition to monitoring the Sun's magnetic energy, Canada is building the world’s first space telescope designed to detect and track asteroids as well as satellites.

Called NEOSSat (Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite), this spacecraft will improve surveillance of asteroids that pose a collision hazard with Earth. It will build on Canada’s expertise in compact “microsatellite” design."

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