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I am Canadian. And I’m not sorry!

Dan Aykroyd, the famous Canadian comedian and actor, once said “Being Canadian really does mean always having to say: I’m sorry. But I myself haven’t yet figured out why we do this. Perhaps Canadians apologize all the time because we live in a country that has so much more going for it than almost any other place on the planet, and it makes us feel a little guilty.”

So I’ve been thinking lately: What does it mean to be Canadian?

Putting aside all the obvious things that come easily to mind like “we love coffee and doughnuts (not donuts!) from Tim Hortons vs. Dunkin Donuts”. We live in a land of ice and snow, and the birthplace of the greatest game. No, not soccer or football – Hockey!

Anyways, forget about that. There are some real things that make being Canadian meaningfully different.

One is the inclusiveness and the fair-mindedness of Canadian culture. Take, for example, equalization payments that are made by the federal government to the less wealthy provinces in our country. This is similar to the way we structure our Branch and Region bonus pools at Cooper. Instead of an “everyone for themselves” attitude, our system promotes working together and sharing in the rewards.

In Canada, every one of us has access to healthcare. Imagine living in a country where this is not the case, and you could only get the help you need if you could afford it, or hope to work for a company that offers decent health benefits. This is another fundamental way Canadians take care of each other.

In many ways the “Cooper Difference” is the “Canadian Difference”. We believe in a set of values that govern our every action and interaction with others. We listen to each other. We are encouraged to try new things even if we might fail because from failure comes real learning. We smile and say thank you and we find solutions instead of complaining. We thrive on supporting each other and we take pride in everyone’s successes not just our own. These aren’t hard things to do, really. And I take great pride in seeing all our Cooper people working together to make a difference in their own ways that I believe improves the quality of everyday life. Because if you aren’t having fun every day – what’s the point in showing up.

Happy Canada Day to all, and “sorry” for the long note.

Doug Dougherty


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