There’s nowhere better than Canada.
“Dreams of all sizes in Canada can come true,” says Philippines-born singer Jenny James.
She’s living proof.
In just seven years in Canada, she got married, had two children, embarked on a career in music and loves playing on Canada Day — just to say “Thank you.”
Canadian dream stories are everywhere. This is first Canada Day for the Syrian refugees brought in earlier this year.
And rather than being hunted by ISIS, James Akam, a former Afghan interpreter to the Canadian troops, is celebrating his first Canada Day on Canadian soil with his wife and son. That makes me proud to be Canadian.
We got those ones right. But not everything.
Thanks to Abu Sayyaf, Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsdel were not around for Canada Day — both hostages were executed in the name of ISIS in the Philippines.
Canada made little effort to try to free them. Many of the same people yelling racism all the time somehow blew this off with suggestions the men should not have been there in the first place, even though Prime Minister Trudeau travelled to the Philippines this year.
On this Canada Day, not every Canadian is celebrating.
Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim, of Mississauga’s Light Korean Presbyterian Church, is serving a life sentence in a North Korean labour camp for bringing in humanitarian supplies to the communist nation.
Vancouver’s Kevin Garratt is in a prison in Dandong, China, near North Korea. He and wife Julia ran a coffee shop and as Christian missionaries were helping starving North Koreans. Ridiculously, they have been called spies.
Trudeau has said he admires China’s “basic dictatorship,” but with innocent Canadians locked up for no reason, hopefully he changes that view.
Interestingly, even with Canadians rotting in prisons, trade deals and missions — involving some who preach about intolerance — are still on.
In Canada, we will make a deals to lift travel restrictions on the people of Mexico even though many innocent Canadians have been murdered or jailed there. This year, Mexicans will be able to come to Canada without a visa which some can afford thanks to NAFTA. I love Mexico and Mexicans and I hope they enjoy our tourist attractions not to far from the empty plants which moved to their country.
But we take the good with the bad.
Canada Day is a great day for our musicians.
I checked into see where some of my favourites were performing. July Talk was at Brampton’s Donald M. Gordon Chinguacousy Park and are at the Kee to Bala (Saturday). Toronto’s own Kardinal Offishall ripped it up at the national celebration on Parliament Hill while The Glorious Sons were at Kitchener City Hall and are in Watertown, N.Y., Saturday.
One of my favourites, Shakura S’Aida, played Canada Day all the way over in Spain while wickedly talented Mississauga rapper, John River, had them in the palm of his hand at Celebration Square in his hometown.
And my pal, Jenny James — with band mates Paul Cafarelli (Bass), Brian Mann (sound), Vito Alvaro (guitar, sax vocals), Albert Carraro (lead guitar) and Marco Del Degan (drums) — played the famous East York Canada Day celebration at the Stan Wadlow Park (next year will be the 60th). Their performance featured songs from James’ new album Four Leaf Clover and a tribute to Canadian rock legend Jerry Doucette. Jenny plays the Summer Saya at the Madison Convention Centre in Woodbridge Saturday.
I also think of people I liked who are no longer with us — like former mayor Rob Ford and my journalism colleagues and friends Dave Ellis and Raveena Aulakh — and it reminds me to savour every moment.
Great coach Pat Quinn got into the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF), but I wish the HHOF would put deserving people in before they are dead. They did the same thing with Pat Burns. I would like to see Paul Henderson put in there since his contribution to hockey was as significant as Sergei Makarov’s.
How Don Cherry never made it is outrageous. Maybe for Canada’s 150t birthday, HHOF could do that and he could also be awarded a much deserved Order of Canada, too.
But when Las Vegas gets an NHL team before our own beloved hockey hotbed of Quebec City, we won’t hold our breath.
Maybe Canadians are sometimes too nice.
It’s good to share, but we have to got to take care of our own. I do that here by wishing my little boy Joshua a happy fourth birthday.
Born July 1, 2012, he thinks it’s cool every year they remember to have fireworks.
Have a great Canada Day weekend everybody.
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