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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Canada - Not a Myth, An Aspiration

Kinsella has a valid point with this - one that I think extends beyond the borders of one province.  We are told to focus on our own, personal pocketbook issues.  Political Parties micro-target issues; governments are looking to get out of the business of government.  Partisans are portraying every issue as a them-vs-us business, with someone needing to be punished or prevented from acting.

In this framework, what is Canada?  I Canada a flag of righteousness, a suite of symbols we can pay homage to, like golden calves?  What does it mean to be Canadian?

There was a time when this was less a question than an affirmation - Canada was Peacekeeper, diplomat, calm voice of reason and in many cases, a moral conscience on the global stage.

Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of that.  We started to think more about what we want from the world (and each other) than what it is we have it in ourselves to give.  We have become more insular, more focused on individual wins and getting by than striving for something more.

To me, Canada has always been an idea: the whole is more than the sum of its parts.  Multiculturalism isn't a dilution of traditional purity, it's a source of strength and adaptation.  The challenges we face inside push us to understand more, to communicate with greater clarity, to find and build upon the deepest common links of our humanity.

A long time ago, during my backpacking days, I remember Canadian backpackers being treated almost like ronin Jedi - the flag on the pack opened many doors for me, but also carried a responsibility I was proud to own.  I mediated disputes, provided translation services and helped people bridge the gaps of mistrust or uncertainty that lay between them.

To be a Canadian was to be a community builder, always with an eye to ensuring those most likely to be left out were empowered to feel and be part of the whole.

I still believe this is Canada's best destiny - to lead by example and provide an iterative vision of what the world can be if it chooses.

Perhaps there is a mythic quality to this vision; whoever said that our myths must all lie in the past?

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