(Photo Source: Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS via http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ottawa-canada-day-pictures-2017-1.4187834)

As I watched the various Canada 150 celebrations for Canada Day 2017 in Ottawa, I kept reflecting on how I am fiercely proud and grateful to be Canadian!

How about you? What was on your mind this extra special Canada Day, our country’s 150th birthday?

In particular, I am also so proud of our leadership – namely, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, a powerful woman in her own right. This is not to be taken as political commentary. However, regardless of your political stripes, I think you’ll agree that we are uniquely fortunate to have leadership which is unusually classy, accessible, and – well – Canadian!

One thing that struck me was how the Prime Minister and his wife essentially spent the whole day with Canadian citizens, celebrating our country and what it is to be Canadian – from the official ceremony in the afternoon to the concert/party in the evening, and topped off by 20 minutes and 17 seconds of amazing fireworks. As I scan the globe, I cannot think of any other world leaders who have been so ‘with the people’ as what we saw this Canada Day.

So, what does this have to do with business, you may wonder?

Simply this: I am struck by how incredibly fortunate we are to live and work in this country. Not just because of the beauty that surrounds us but, also, because of the challenges which we don’t face. While it certainly can be challenging to do business here (particularly as a small business, I would suggest), it is also relatively easy. There are so many challenges that people in other parts of the world face that compound the difficulties they may face in business.

As we celebrate the diversity that Prime Minister Trudeau underscored in his speech on Canada Day, and look around at the many successful businesses run by immigrants, I can’t help but think that they succeed partly because they know what it is to have the additional barriers of their homeland and, once those barriers are removed, they shoot ahead to success.

So, what can we learn from them and their experiences? How can we leverage the great fortune we have to live and work in this country – arguably the best country in the world – and turn our attention toward leveraging that fortune to develop thriving businesses and a prospering economy?

I often say that, with rights and privileges comes responsibility. What are our responsibilities in light of the rights and privileges of being Canadian?

As an entrepreneur, this is what was on my mind this Canada Day.

I’m curious: what was on your mind?