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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.

Tuesday 6 October 2015


What bothered me the most when I read this today wasn't what you might expect.

Yes, the racist tone was troubling.  Of course, the very notion of diversity making someone feel uncomfortable.  Above all that, though, the darkened view of Canada it presented doesn't reflect the reality I know, at all.

That impression - a country full of fear and bitterness and closed doors - it's boring.  No one can be curious, or experimental, or innovative in that world.  There's no fusion of art and ideas and culture and genes in that world, which doesn't give it much room to grow.

That's not the Canada I know.

From my years growing up in Cornwall, Ontario through trips across the country and experiences living in places like Peterborough, Ottawa and Toronto, the Canada I know has always been one that embraces, celebrates and benefits from the sheer variety that Canada represents.

Everyone has their own unique take, and those takes are sometimes at odds, but fundamentally Canada is a place of the possible.

My Canada is richer in colour and texture than narrow biases and closed doors.  My Canada is a celebration of collaboration, fusion, diversity and play.

Which is why my Canada is so creative, so innovative, so world-leading on ways few notice, but everyone feels.

In taking with a couple folk (Derek Alton and Joanna Reynolds in particular) I felt that, as there was no real narrative to counter the emergent bigotry surfacing this election, it was important that someone do something to represent the view of Canada I know and so many Canadians celebrate with me.

It was important not to feed into the existing narrative - there's too much "stand against" out there and I didn't want to feed into it.  What I wanted was an opportunity for people to share what they love, what inspires them, not what they fear or are frustrated with.

Hence, #MyCanadaIs.

It's just a hashtag; there's no carefully-researched and focus group-tested narrative behind it, no organized team of promoters selling the concept or pushing people to jump on it.  There's nothing stopping people from twisting the intent into something more like the article linked to above.

A risk, maybe, but one I'm willing to take - because I believe that Canada at its best is the best of everywhere else, and because I believe in Canadians.

So have at it, folks.  Tell us what makes Canada special to you - a place, a face, a story, a community, a tree, even cat photos.  Canada is the story we tell together, and there's no pre-ordained formula for what the bigger narrative looks like.

Canada is what we build together.

With that, here's a tweet for you: 

#MyCanadaIs what we build together, which is why it's awesome.

There's room in that Canada for everyone - spend some time with us and I know you'll want to be part of that action.

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