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It just wouldn't be Canada Day without the token debates over cultural identity and estimations of our collective patriotism as Canadians by our media, our government and the think-tanks.
The Globe and Mail newspaper, in its Saturday edition, devoted significant space to a feature that sets out to deconstruct certain historical sentiments held by Canadians.
It searches the notions that we are a 'northern nation,' for example - when the majority of our population inhabits a thin belt of land between the United States and the north. It also examines our roots; that we were first a colonial nation and then a multicultural one.
The six-month-old debate over the playing of the national anthem in schools is again in focus, thanks to a recent Dominion Institute study suggesting that the teaching of Canadian history in high schools schools is inadequate across the country.
Proof of that may be in a recent Ipsos-Reid poll, commissioned by the Dominion Institute, which suggests only 19 per cent of Canadians are able to identify a photograph of Tommy Douglas, the founder of Canada's medicare system.
Only 40 per cent of those queried were able to identify Sir John A. Macdonald, while 90 per cent were able to pick out Celine Dion.
The story reporting on the poll, dubbed, Canadians have trouble identifying country's top 10 cultural icons, is probably a misnomer. Sir John A., even though his face appears on the $10 bill, isn't exactly an icon in the eyes of modern Canadians; Sidney Crosby, maybe, but not John A.
We live in a Canada, which is too big and too multifaceted to adopt a singular perspective on cultural identity.
We have come to know freedom in this country, and while we have certain civic responsibilities they do not extend to how we choose to know our nation. We're free to see it as we wish.
If Tim Hortons and Coach's Corner is your country, so be it.
So, today, on Canada's 142nd birthday, take some time to think about what this dominion, from sea to shining sea, means to you.

Organizations: Dominion Institute, Globe and Mail, Tim Hortons

Geographic location: Canada, United States

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