As a Newfoundlander, I have mixed emotions about Canada Day. I have been a Canadian all my life, educated myself, served in the military as a reservist, had an honourable profession from which I retired, raised three fine children, kept up on the political parties and always voted.
I have been proud to say I am Canadian when I have travelled out of my country. I live in the best country in the world! But lately I have been feeling something of a second-class citizen.
In the past year I had to book passage by Marine Atlantic for a family member, and this year I looked into booking passage for my husband and me to North Sydney to see his sister. My husband and I also spent a month in Lloydminster, Alta.
I realized several things. First, to travel out of my province, either by air or ferry, is expensive. A boat trip to North Sydney from Argentia including two meals, a cabin and a small car will cost us more than $1,000 return.
Secondly, I will need to produce a credit card and a piece of government identification. When we were in Alberta one evening, we decided to go to Saskatchewan for supper. We travelled along the TCH at no cost other than gas and at no time were we required to have a credit card or identification.
I realized that other Canadians can do this often. They travel from province to province with very little expense and at no time do they have to provide proof of means or of residence unless they break a law. It is a freedom that I, as a Newfoundlander, do not have and even though I understand the reasons, I do find it belittling.
So please forgive me if on Canada Day I attended the July 1st Memorial Day services and at the following Canada Day celebrations I sighed deeply, with some regret, even as I cheered on my country.