Canada is an exquisite country of 38 million people that stretches across a vast continent bound by the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is a sprawling and wild land that beguiles and overwhelms the senses with its transcendent beauty and epic scale. Her great cities — Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto — are modern, sophisticated, multicultural jewels. Some of Earth’s most magnificent wildlife calls Canada home. There are old growth forests filled with cedars that have stood for 2,000 years. They frame dazzling waters and white sand beaches with waves rolling perfectly before crashing at the end of a thousands mile-long uninterrupted journey across the Pacific. Perfect beach towns like Tofino, British Columbia and Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, connect a vast continent of strivers, seekers, optimists, immigrants, Indigenous peoples and free men and women. They stand for the most important concept in human history — that human dignity is innate, and liberty is foundational towards human happiness and freedom.
Canada shares a 5,525 mile (and for our Canadian community members, 8,891 kilometre — note the spelling too!) border with the United States of America. It is the longest, peaceful, demilitarized, prosperous border in the history of human civilization. Our nations are deeply interconnected societies in which friendship, family, history and shared values transcend mere boundaries.
During President Biden’s visit to Ottawa this past week, he quoted John Kennedy, similarly speaking in the Canadian Parliament, about the two great sovereign nations which anchor the Northern American continent as a bastion of liberty, stability, security and prosperity:
Ours is the unity of equal and independent nations, co-tenants of the same continent, heirs of the same legacy, and fully sovereign associates in the same historic endeavor: to preserve freedom for ourselves and [for] all who wish it.
Our nations are rich in resources and water. Our multicultural societies lead the world in invention, innovation, imagination, and discovery. They have also led the world in times of crisis and conflict. When those dark hours have come, Americans and Canadians have fought together, and their enemies took note. During the Second World War the 1st Special Service Force was famous for instilling fear and hopelessness in the Nazis. The unit was called the Devil’s Brigade by the Germans it hunted and killed.
President Xi Jinping clasped Vladimir Putin’s hand in a firm shake on the steps of the Kremlin, and told the war criminal — whom he calls his “friend” — that change is coming the likes of which only happens every 100 years. He is making clear that he is ready for conflict and preparing to test the West and the resolve of the free nations to live in liberty, prosperity and peace under a system of international rule and laws.
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