The Canada that I know is a refuge for those that have had to escape, and a place for all kinds of people, from wherever they may come, to find a home free of terror and fear.
This is the Canada that welcomed me. This is the Canada where my grandmother can wake up, every morning, never again having to worry about the threat of losing her son to political unrest.
Diversity is strength.
It's true of genetics and it's true of society; the more variety you have, the more opportunity you have. Diversity of tools, ideas, voices and perspectives brings more options to bear in problem-solving and increases capacity to adapt and resiliency in the face of change.
The Canada I know is not one that fears troubles at our shores, but embraces our ability to make a positive difference in the world. Whether it's fighting for the rights of people to be different against Nazi Germany or in the Bosinan War, or providing medical and political solutions through groups like CISEPO, we're always ready to dive in and help as we can.
The Canada I know never shies away from a fight, but excels at crafting alternatives. Whether we're nudging for the end of land mines or crafting new ways to keep the peace so that dialogue can occur with Peacekeeping, Canadians are a creative lot that prioritizes solving problems over ending people.
Why are we so ready to make sacrifices and share our resources and ideas with people who live across the world?
Canada is an idea, a vision of what the world can be.
We are a nation of communities based not on an ancestral lineage or a culture carved in stone but on the idea that diversity is strength. And when dream and share and build together, even the sky doesn't limit us.
What makes Canadians different is that their differences are celebrated as opportunities for understanding, not rejected as threats to a mythic stereotype.
Canadians recognize with pride and humility that ours is truly one of the best places to live in a world where far too many of our fellow human beings live in poverty, bereft of opportunity, bereft of security, bereft of hope. We choose to help others out of a sense of human responsibility to help others achieve what we can too easily take for granted.
Canada is a country that is proud of its role as a safe-haven, whether to refugees from war-torn countries or to planes thrust into the chaos of 9/11. I'll say this again - Canada is proud to open its doors and provide shelter, even a home to those in need.
Why? Why are we not afraid of the wily schemes of Machiavellian foreigners?
Because we are so confident in what Canada stands for and how we, as Canadians, embody that belief in our daily lives that fear is unnecessary. Canada was made by people of different cultures, languages, customs and world-views, and that diversity is what makes Canada great. Canada is a celebration of the possible.
How can you be every day in a place like this and keep maliciousness in your heart?
Canada is a place of refuge. It's a celebration of humanity at its best.
Canada is more than a place to live - it's a place to belong.
Based on our growing concern, and spurred by my experience with Islamophobia , Women in Toronto Politics released this statement today, and launched a #countrywewant campaign. http://witopoli.com/
Farah is a friend from the Centre for Social Innovation and someone that works actively for the betterment of our country and all people in it.
Her #countrywewant campaign with @WiTOpoli has taken off, and for good reason - Canadians are tired of division and a focus on the past and want to work together right now to ensure a brighter future for all.
Please support her campaign and share your thoughts on what the #countrywewant looks like now and down the road.