When asked to share what I love about Canada, I have to admit my first response was, “Well … all my stuff is here.” Followed by, “People don’t laugh at me for ending every sentence with, ‘eh’ … at least not often.”

However, having mulled over the question, I realize there are many excellent reasons to love both Canadians and Canada. Here are my top four.

1.) Optimism: Three hundred years ago, our country’s founders arrived in this place, confronted a landscape consisting of trees, trees, trees, blackflies, rocks, poison ivy and frozen stuff and said, “Let’s settle here. How bad can it be?”

This while their fellow settlers were choosing Florida.

It’s our indomitable optimism that leads Canadians to participate in such determinedly hopeful activities as putting away our snow shovels in April. And it’s this same unconquerable confidence that lets us head into the voting booths every few years saying, “Let’s elect another Conservative government. How bad can it be?”

2.) Polite behaviour. A New York City cashier once asked if I was Canadian.

“You’ve thanked me three times,” she said, “And I haven’t even given you your change yet.”

If there’s one thing that makes a true Canadian want to spit, it’s people who can’t behave politely.

My mother threatens to call the parents of telemarketers who bother her at dinnertime.

Likewise, Canadians are shocked and appalled at the brawling and fighting that takes place among sports fans in other countries.

We keep that kind of behaviour where it belongs — in the morning lineup at Tim Hortons.

3.) Health care. A few years back, I attended an international conference on women’s health. When the subject of MRIs came up, I complained to the woman beside me that where I live it might take up to eight months to get scanned. I asked how long she’d have to wait in her country. She sighed. “The rest of my life.”

Granted, our health-care system may be frustrating, inefficient and expensive, but health care in Canada has one thing going for it: You can get it.

4.) Same-sex marriage: An American comic at Yuk Yuk’s commented recently how impressed he was that Canada fully embraced same-sex marriage, once it could be proven it would in no way affect professional hockey. For me it sums up what’s great about Canadians.

Many are optimistic, most are polite. And the rest are popping their government-subsidized meds saying, “Well … how bad can it be?”