Last week an American radio show host asked me curiously how come I chose Canada as my home. Without blinking an eyelash I said to him “I came to Canada on a visit 30 years ago and it was love at first sight. That love affair still continues and I’m proud to be Canadian.”
It also brought back memories of an article I had written many years ago in The Globe and Mail titled O Canada how do I love thee? I can still count the ways.
My memory goes back to our arrival in Canada when I first tasted the freedoms that are offered here. It was heady and inspiring. At first I couldn’t get used the idea that I, as a Muslim woman from Pakistan, could say and do as I please.
Having grown up in a culture where women were supposed to be seen and not heard, Canada became a beacon of hope and once I started on my journey of individual thinking, nothing held me back.
Ironically I have lived longer in Canada than any other country including my land of birth, Pakistan. I have seen Canada grow and change and I admit that not all the changes are positive. But this is the country where we have the freedom to express our opinions and disagree with policies that are not in sync with Canadian values.
As Canada turns 150 years, I know that there is no other country of world I would rather live in and see my children and grandchildren prosper. Prosper they have thanks to opportunities and hard work.
I travel a lot out of Canada and as soon as I re-enter Canada, I say a word of thanks for having Canada as my home. My Canadian citizenship is a privilege, not a right and for me it comes with a sense of responsibility and loyalty to this land I call home. I will battle to my last breath to keep Canada strong and free.
God Bless this land, glorious and free and those who live in it.
Happy Birthday Canada!



  • proud Canadian woman says:

    As another proud Canadian woman like you, and as a descendant of immigrants who arrived in Canada over 200 years ago, I am so proud of the work you do and so glad you love this country as much as I do. My great-great grandparents came to Canada from Scotland & Ireland to find a better life and worked hard to build their new lives in a very undeveloped land. Now my family (their descendants) reap the rewards.
    We Canadians vow to keep our country strong and free and for equality and human rights for all who live in this beautiful country.

  • Jayne Spearin says:

    And Canada loves you, Raheel.

  • gary says:

    We need a lot more people like you to immigrate to Canada! I am born and raised Canadian, and white, and I speak for a lot of my friends and family when I say it is CULTURE that really should be what binds Canada together, and that it doesn’t matter what you worship and where youre from. The media and the left INSIST we are “racist” for insisting that immigrants make an effort to conform to Canada’s culture and customs and also not self segregate into ethnic ghettos. I see you as just as Canadian as me. It isn’t (all, or explicitly) Muslims that I’m worried about, its ISLAM and its tendency to enforce its will upon non-believers, and its tendency to make demands upon its host nation and use violence in an attempt to “take over”, that have me wary. Thank you for being a voice from within Islam that seems to speak out against such tendencies, and I agree with you… I love this country!