I don’t mean this to be another flag waving article about being Canadian and how wonderful we are. That we are ‘wonderful’ is a given:) But it isn’t who we are. We are NOT Canadians. We are people just like Americans, Arabs, Chinese, Russian, Black folks, Red folks and so on. We are simply identified by geography. However, what distinguishes us from others in the world is how we have chosen to live our lives and we are identified for what that stands for in the world. We try to live our beliefs, our morals and hold up our culture to the rest of the world for all to see and we say, “if this is what you want then come and enjoy it.” The mistake we have made in the past is not including a clear follow-up statement that says, “Never-never try and take it from us.” As someone who values our freedom and our way of life as much as anyone else, I would feel much more generous, welcoming and accepting of those who want to live among us as equals knowing that that message is out there-loud and clear. There can be no agendas.
I am appalled to know that our Ontario government is considering dropping support for The Humanities programs offered in schools at all levels. What the hell are they thinking? (click for more information)
At a time when we invite people from around the world to come and join us we are considering dropping ANY help and support that these new citizens will need in order to more clearly understand what we are all about. It is not just the customs and culture of the newcomers but ours as well that must be considered and adhered to. That door swings both ways. That is the issue that needs to be resolved. How do we both live in a world where there is so much diversity? That includes valuing women and the role they play in a free society. It would help us as native born folks to understand more about those who are coming to stay with us. We could talk openly TO each other in classrooms all over the country and have real conversations about what we each need to see and hear from each other. Our children could go home and talk to their parents about what they learned about immigrants and refugees. Like it or not, believe it or not, children educate their parents more than it happens the other way around. It seems in many homes the only thing that some parents teach their kids is how to hate. Here is a chance-a real chance to stop that behavior from continuing and, in stead, we are thinking about dropping the subject matter. Wow–great thinking! This is not an issue where time will heal all wounds nor can we legislate morality or values. It is about an understanding reached.
The following is not mine but was sent to me. Please read it. Apparently, it is a true story and as such illustrates exactly what I had mentioned above. Neither party in the following conversation is wrong but rather they don’t understand where the other is coming from.
“One of my sons serves in the military, he is stationed in Ontario, Canada. He called me yesterday to let me know how warm and welcoming people were to him and his troops everywhere they go. Telling me how people shake their hands and thank them for being willing to serve and fight, not only for our own Freedoms but so that others may have them too.
Then he told me about an incident in the grocery store he stopped at yesterday, on his way home from the Base. He said that several people were in the line ahead of him, including a woman dressed in a Burkha.
He said when she got to the cashier, she made a loud remark about the Canadian Flag lapel pin the cashier wore on her smock. The cashier reached up and touched the pin and said, “Yes, I always wear it proudly, because I’m a Canadian.”
The woman in the burkha then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing her countrymen, explaining that she was Iraqi.
Then, a Gentleman standing behind my son stepped forward, putting his arm around my son’s shoulders and nodding towards my son, said in a calm and gentle voice to the Iraqi woman: “Lady, hundreds of thousands of men and women like this young man have fought and died so that YOU could stand here, in MY country and accuse a check-out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen. It is my belief that had you been this outspoken in YOUR own country, we wouldn’t need to be there today. But, hey, if you have now learned how to speak out so loudly and clearly, I’ll gladly buy you a ticket and pay your way back to Iraq , so you can Straighten out the Mess in YOUR country, that you are Obviously here in MY country to avoid.”
Everyone within hearing distance cheered!
And so it goes . . .
Anyways, that’s how I see it. All the best, Jim
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