Even countries as multi-cultural as Canada have an identity. ‘My Canada’ is founded on certain cultural beliefs and values that serve as the cornerstone of who we are as people. In a world where social media, international news, broadcasts, movies and television brings forward the cultural values and attitudes of other countries which often collide with our own beliefs it is difficult to remain true to who we are as Canadians. It is all too easy to watch the news events and issues from around the world and take them on as our own. It is hard not to listen to the political issues in the United States and not transfer those opinions and situations as our own.
Discussions surrounding health care, education, crime that occur on the news from the United States or other countries seep their way into local discussions and news. A once independent government and economy is now influenced by discussions that may or may not have relevance to our own country. How does a country, how do people remain true to their own beliefs, values and vision for their own country? How do we stay true to My Canada?
Whether we live together in confidence and cohesion; with more faith and pride in ourselves and less self-doubt and hesitation; strong in the conviction that the destiny of Canada is to unite, not divide; sharing in cooperation, not in separation or in conflict; respecting our past and welcoming our future.
– Lester Pearson
My Canada is a nation founded on accepting diversity, valuing democracy and a strong desire that all Canadians are entitled to the freedoms afforded to us through our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and are part of our country’s vision for a society based on human rights. The history of Canada is one where we defend the human rights of all Canadians through the creation of policies that strive towards an equal and just society. My Canada is one that recognizes the right of all global citizens to be afforded the opportunity of peace. My Canada is one that will stand-up though negotiation and dialogue in helping create and maintain world peace. In my Canada when our flag is seen locally and globally it represents a country of peacekeepers and defenders of human rights. In ‘My Canada’ we remember our veterans, our ancestors who fought hard to create a country where we recognize the human right of equality for everyone.
On November 11th we need to remember our heroes, our ancestors who created the framework for a nation founded on respect and dignity. We need to remember what it is they fought for? We need to remember the Canada they wanted? We need to remember the ‘My Canada’ that is their legacy. A Canada of peace keepers, that is kind, generous and accepting of every citizen’s human rights no matter the race, nationality, gender or social circumstance. I am a proud Canadian, but also a Canadian who is concerned some of our identity, our culture is being lost to a Prime Minister who does not put the safety and dignity of all Canadians, of all people into his policies. A Prime Minister who no longer represents the views of all Canadians.
Harper’s Canada is one that has created and continues to create an increasingly large gap between the wealthiest Canadians and the rest. The creation of Tax Policies that even his former finance minister believed favoured only the wealthiest of Canadians and was unfair. In Harper’s Canada, he ignores issues surrounding the human rights of women and children who are victimized and find themselves marginalized through poverty. In Harper’s Canada, he continues to ignore the issues of tax fairness by not holding companies accountable to the creation of full-time jobs for Canadians in exchange for decreased tax rates and continues to ignore the hording of capital in off-shore accounts. In Harper’s Canada he ignores the long-term effects of ignoring environmental issues related to the tar sands and ignores or silences the voices of scientists and economists who try to find alternatives to the risks and our reliance on this non-renewable resource.
In Harper’s Canada the crumbling human and physical infrastructure of Canada’s cities is ignored. In Harper’s Canada the building of communities that ensure all Canadians have the right to an education, health and fair and equal work is ignored. In Harper’s Canada he ignores the government’s responsibility for protecting the enshrined human rights of all Canadians. In Harper’s Canada fairness is no longer the reality. In Harper’s Canada we are at risk of losing all we have worked so hard to achieve as a nation. We are at-risk of losing our identity.
On November 11th when I wear my poppy, I will remember all those brave Canadians who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so much to create ‘My Canada’. I will remember their courage, their sacrifice in order to ensure I live in a country where every individual is respected, valued and guaranteed the rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I will also remember that sometimes the greatest threat to ‘My Canada’ does not come from the outside, but rather our greatest threat to our rights enshrined in our ‘Charter’ can be found right here at home.