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Congratulations Canada for being ... you!

We’re celebrating our nation this week.  Given the recent actions south of our border, there are certainly many reasons to be proud of Canada.

It’s an unusual feeling for many Canucks.  Instead of lauding our accomplishments – such prideful audacity would be entirely un-Canadian – we tend to spend our time tearing down our history, our health care system, our politics and even our entertainment industry.

And I can understand it.  We’re used to being the poor relation to the booming powerhouse that is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

They had great wars while we focused on settling our land.  They created the assembly line and we invented basketball.  They have the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, while we guarantee medical treatment for everyone.  They have a former reality TV star in office who lies and alienates every alliance in the world and we have someone who grew up in politics and willingly works with other countries on international policy.

And as for TV?  Well, Canadian television used to mean The Beachcombers, The Littlest Hobo, Anne of Green Gables, The Friendly Giant and Mr. Dress-Up.  They were squeaky clean, family-friendly shows that were often the butt of jokes.

But in recent decades, the well-funded U.S. production houses learned the benefits of working with Canada.  With our weaker dollar, money could be saved by shooting in our cities that doubled for American towns.

And they discovered a few Canadian gems along the way.  Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi and Degrassi: The Next Generation earned dedicated followers for over 30 years including one Jay and his silent friend, Bob.  Trailer Park Boys also had their obsessed fans; not to mention Due South which made Dudley Do-Right and the RCMP the sexiest thing to come out of Canada until Justin took office.

And during the Writers Guild strike of 2007 that lasted three months and affected everything from reality TV to scripted shows, a Canadian/U.S. partnership became not only beneficial, but necessary to keep the industry going.  The strike opened a back door to American audiences who saw quality Canadian shows including Flashpoint, The Listener, Rookie Blue, Continuum, Saving Hope, and the critically-acclaimed Orphan Black slide comfortably into their primetime schedules.

Unfortunately, Little Mosque on the Prairie barely made a dent on American airwaves.  The ground-breaking comedy allowed Canadians to understand and laugh at our differences and pre-conceived notions about each other in an honest way rarely seen in the U.S.  The networks missed the boat when they could have used such a lesson.

But our proudest Canadian production should be History Channel’s three-part series called The World Without Canada.  Created for last year’s 150th, it’s an eye-opening view of our place in the world for technology, resources, and humanitarian efforts.  We’re not just important, people.  We’re vital.  And this series should be required-watching for all Canadians.

Obviously, we’re not perfect.  We’re facing a lot of challenges.  But we’ve also earned the right to pat ourselves on the back.  And for our 151st, it’s about darn time we did.

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