These are the main habits many people in the land currently called Canada have in common. Some habits are good, some benign, while others can be downright nasty and destructive. This is why this section needs explaining.
(some habits can have good and bad sides to them)
An Individual Approach
There are those who may argue that rugged individualism is more American. While we tend more towards the collective approach.
Who built this land ? Wasn't it the pioneers ? Did they just jet in and get some good paying job that was waiting for them ? Did they move into a comfy home in the affluent suburbs ?
Nope ! It was a tough and rugged life. Travel was slow and difficult. You got your land, but you and your family had to clear it all yourselves. And your house ? The pioneers had to build their own in many cases. A log house, or maybe a sod shack on the wind swept prairies. And what about groceries ? You had to grow, or hunt it on your own. The grocery store wasn't just down the block.
And why did they come ? For many reasons, but there is an overriding theme that runs through our history. They came to be free. Free to work and own your own land. Free to practice your religion in peace. Free to speak your mind.
The spirit of individualism and the love for freedom is finding itself harder and harder to express itself in the barren wasteland of political correctness, excessive regulation, mass consumption, and a Big Brother society. But scratch here in the parched soil with me a bit. See - the roots of freedom and individualism are still there. Some day the rains will come again. There will be an abundant crop then.
Negative sides to this habit. When tackling collective problems our people tend to try and work on it as individuals without pooling their energies and resources. This may work fine in many aspects of our personal lives, but it doesn't work when dealing with national problems. So we need to be aware of how this habit can handicap us, and prevent us from solving matters that can only be successfully dealt with by us working collectively.
Traditionally we have had strong families. Only in recent decades have we seen considerable erosion in the traditional family.
Probably the biggest challenge we face regarding families is the role of the Father and Husband. If we want to strengthen families then there has to be incentives in place to encourage men to commit themselves to wife and children.
Generous to Foreigners
Our people have traditionally been very generous to foreigners and immigrants. This is good, but it can be overdone when the foreigner is catered to and treated better than our own people. This has been happening a great deal in recent decades. Thus the good custom of being kind to the stranger has been way overdone, and this excess has resulted in a bad habit forming. Our own people (especially the poor) are discounted too often. It is really ridiculous to treat the foreigner better than your own people.
The positive aspects of this national habit have long ago been overshadowed by the negative.
We need to take care of our own first. Charity begins at home.
A very ancient tradition. It is still alive, but less so than before.
Today there are too many restrictions on hunting. Too many hoops to jump through in order to just tramp about in the woods trying to shoot yourself a meal. Some game animals, like deer, have never been more abundant. This is because there has been so much anti-hunting propaganda, and so less and less hunters are out there.
Hunters are often viewed in a poor light. The hunting community should clue the public in. They should condemn those who abuse their hunting privileges. Responsible hunters realize the importance of habitat protection. Also they realize the need for regular culling of excessive populations of game animals, like elk and deer.
Independence and Self-Reliance
This is a good traditional habit, if it is seen within the context of the fact that we are social creatures dependent on our social structure and others for survival. None of us human beings can ever claim within a strict sense to be totally independent and self-reliant. We are not like a moose, who can go off all by itself and live a solitary existence eating twigs. We can't live on twigs. We can't eat poplar bark, like a beaver. We need other people.
Yet very often people are just abandoned to sort of fend for themselves. Sometimes people need a little help. And one of the best ways to help the weak is to help the fit, and the able and the strong. Then those who are more capable, are in a better position to help the weak, because they have been helped to be stronger. So if we want to help children - then let's see how we can help the Fathers and other men to be more independent and self-reliant. Then the men are in a stronger position to help and support a wife and children.
Joy of Learning
A very strong traditional habit. It might be useful for people to be able to access education on more practical matters though, particularly in the schools. Academic matters are important, but so are practical things.
There needs to be more opportunities opened up for people to participate and therefore learn in the process.
Some of the most rewarding experiences come from us doing things we enjoy and doing them on our own.
Living close to the United States
The majority of our citizens live within easy driving distance of the United States border. The majority live South of the 49th parallel !!
So most of our people look South, rather than North. Looking South has caused too many to forget the North. This cannot be a good national habit, because most of our territory is in the North. A nasty, destructive habit indeed. The solution is to just turn around and look at what you had turned your back on. Your own land.
Use it, or you will eventually lose it !
Love for Nature and Living in harmony with Nature
Our land is 3,690,000 square miles making it the second largest in the world. The population is only 33 million in 2010. We have the longest coastline in the world (151,485 miles). Nobody has more lakes or fresh water. Lake Superior, which straddles the Canada - USA border is the second largest in the world. Great Bear Lake is the 8th largest at 12,800 square miles and Great Slave Lake is the 10th biggest at 11,172 square miles. We have 33 lakes that are greater than 502 square miles in area. The Mackenzie River is 2,525 miles long.
Nature is everywhere in abundance. Forests cover about 37 % up to around 45 % of the country's land area. Wildlife is extensive and varied. Hudson Bay, which is almost an inland sea is 400,000 square miles in area. Great herds of caribou roam free in the North.
Only about 8 % of the land is suitable for farming. Which means nature holds claim to most of the land. Little wonder one of our traditional habits is love for nature.
Yet where do most of our people live ? In urban areas and in large cities ! In concrete jungles where there isn't much nature. Yet our people have a love for nature. So why not more nature in the city ? Why not more green space ? Why so much asphalt and concrete ? Why such huge sterile parking lots ? And why can't we the ordinary people, afford to get into the country to enjoy nature more often ?
Personal and Environmental Cleanliness
Foreign visitors are often impressed about how clean our cities are. A lot more can be done for sure, but basically it's a fairly clean people and land, although that has started to slip recently. .
For the most part it's the messy minority that cause the problems. And also there is a tendency for a lot of people to disregard public property. Messy, cigarette butt strewn bus stops and shelters. Graffiti in buses and on other public property. Dumping stuff on public land. Vandalism of public property.
It is very interesting. Take a look at how well most homeowners care for their houses and yards. Pride of ownership. And look how neglected much of the public areas are in comparison. Somehow there isn't the awareness that public property belongs to us all and is all our collective responsibility. The park belongs to us the citizens. Then why trash it ? The bus shelter belongs to us all. So why should it be smashed and messed up ? If it is public property many people figure it belongs to the government, and the government itself seems to think they own it. No the government doesn't own it ! It belongs to you and me ! So why mess it up ?
Simplicity in Living and Enjoyment
This was more common years ago, when most of us lived in rural areas and were less materialistic. Yet it is a deeply rooted tradition.
Simple things like visiting with neighbours, playing cards, going for a walk, playing with the kids, and families eating meals together. Enjoying the stories told by the old-timers. You don't really need a lot of money to enjoy yourself.
This traditional habit has been greatly misinterpreted and misapplied.
Toleration of other people's opinions, politics, religion, unique personality, physical blemishes or handicaps they might have, or their style of clothes, is to be commended and applauded. There are all kinds of things we need to tolerate in order to get along. Others have to put up with us and our various quirks.
The problem is that toleration has gone completely overboard. Now almost anything and everything is tolerated. Things like abortion on demand, blatant in-your-face homosexuality, illegal activities, prostitution, drug dealing, illegal immigrants, pedophilia, hard core pornography, gambling addiction and numerous other vices are tolerated.
Being so over tolerant has resulting in too many people not defending their own traditions strongly enough. So instead of promoting their own culture strenuously - too many just cater to every ethnic minority in sight. For example, English as a second language (ESL) for immigrant children. Watering down our own traditions so as to not offend the ethnics.
The good side of this national habit is that the society is more civil. Most everyone is just so bloody polite. Well almost everybody. They even apologize when you step on their foot. Thank you for this and thank you for that. You are welcome ! Sorry for this and sorry for that. Sorry for having gotten their foot in your way. Thank you for accepting their apology for having caused you to step on their foot. You are welcome !
The bad side is that other people's often mistakenly think us boring, because many of us are just so damn polite. Politeness can be misinterpreted as weakness, and lack of confidence.
This habit stems from our British heritage. It is a traditional British characteristic and there isn't much we can do about it - pity.
There were these two Englishmen shipwrecked on a deserted Island. For ten years they lived there alone, never speaking to each other. At last a ship was sighted on the horizon and the stranded survivors were rescued. The sailors, in the course of conversation, discover these chaps had not exchanged words for ten years. Why ? " No one introduced us, " was the response !