Proud to call Canada home

Oct. 31 will always be known as the day Canada chose my family and me to become citizens

Oct. 31 means different things to different people. For many Canadians, it’s simply Halloween. For others, it’s All Hallows’ Eve, the day before the traditional Christian feast of all saints. And for me? Well, as of today, and for the rest of my life, it will always be known as the day Canada chose my family and me to become citizens.

In early 2003, I bought a publishing business in Canada and moved my wife and four children from Massachusetts to Penticton, a sleepy, small town in the South Okanagan in British Columbia. I then spent the next few years building the company and learning all about life in rural western Canada. In 2009, we decided to seek Canadian citizenship and filled out all the forms, paid all the fees and, eventually, took and passed the citizenship exam. And today, we proudly become Canadian citizens.

When I left the U.S., there was a conservative Republican in the White House and a left-wing Liberal in 24 Sussex Drive. Today, there’s a left-wing Democrat in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and a right-wing Conservative in Ottawa. Strikingly, the world is now looking to Ottawa as that “bright, shining city on a hill,” setting an example for all of fiscal discipline and measured-yet-effective foreign military action, while maintaining a significant — and expensive — domestic social safety net.

Poll after poll suggests that Canadians are more secular, more liberal, more concerned with the collective good and more risk averse than Americans. These generalizations have a kernel of authenticity to them, but the truth is that the Canada — and the Canadians — I have come to know and love over the last few years simply don’t conform to any of these stereotypical caricatures. They — you — are warm, generous, multi-talented and complex bundles of contradictions … resembling more than ever your —our — American cousins.

And my own views on American-ism have evolved. I have much less of a stomach for exporting democracy and force-feeding our values to communities and cultures more concerned with figuring out where the next meal will come from. And I’ve learned to appreciate — all over again — the almost-priceless value of strong, consistent political leadership. Be grateful for what we now have, my fellow Canadians; for the alternative — weak, vacillating and uninspiring — can be found just south of the 49th parallel.

Since arriving in Canada, I’ve been able to volunteer on behalf of some of Canada’s most capable national, provincial and local political leaders; I’ve spent five very rewarding years on the board of our regional hospital foundation, where we’ve raised millions of dollars for new, state-of-the-art equipment for the benefit of our older-than-average Okanagan communities; I’ve watched three of my children graduate from Canadian public high schools; and beginning next May, I hope to watch an economist, then a registered nurse, and then an electrical engineer graduate from some of Canada’s finest universities. And when they go forth into the world, my children will do so as Canadians for the rest of their lives.

Thank you, Canada, for choosing us.

Mark T. Ziebarth

 

Summerland

 

 

Just Posted

Gord Portman getting ready for the Father’s Day dunk tank fundraiser for Discovery House. So far Portman has raised $3,000. (Facebook)
Portman takes plunge for Penticton recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

(File photo)
Supreme Court Justice rules Bay has to pay Penticton’s Cherry Lane mall

The ruling found that there had been no unavoidable delay preventing the Bay from paying their rent

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, has been voted in for Jake Kimberley’s vacated council seat. (Submitted)
James Miller elected as Penticton city councillor

Penticton also voted yes to allowing up to 25 years for a Skaha Marina contract

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read