Op-ed: The Canada I want for my son
- Darla Read | October 17, 2015
The Canada I want for my son is welcoming to those fleeing terror. It does what it can to bring as many refugees as possible to help them begin and build a new life. Once they are here, the Canada I want for my son allows these refugees access to our health care because healthy people are better able to go to school and work and thereby help themselves and the country as a whole.
The Canada I want for my son is compassionate and recognizes people don't make the decision to pack up their families and leave their homes lightly: if they make such a drastic decision, it's because they have little left to lose and much to gain. My Canada treats people how I would want to be treated if I lived in and needed to escape a war-torn country - by welcoming them, maybe with offering one of our winter coats or some of the over-abundance of toys our children have, since they will have arrived here with nothing. That's how I would hope to be treated if circumstances forced me to leave everything behind but my husband and baby.
The Canada I want for my son helps these countries rebuild, especially if we played a role in bombing them or armed one of the factions in its civil war.
The Canada I want for my son embraces religious freedom for all religions, recognizing that this is enshrined in our Constitution. Religious freedom in Canada is not and should not be for only the religious majority. My Canada recognizes that just because you are able to practice your religion, it does not take away or threaten my religious beliefs or practices. I am not religious, so the fact you go to Catholic mass or Hindu temple does not affect me, nor does the fact I don't practice any faith lessen or affect your faith.
The Canada I want for my son recognizes, welcomes, and embraces diversity. As a nation, we once said how proud we were of multiculturalism and that we weren't a melting pot, pressuring people to assimilate like the United States. After all, unless you are one of Canada’s First Peoples, you are an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants. My Canada does not think it better than someone just because we may have been born in safety. That is by luck and chance alone. When I gaze at my baby, I am grateful every day that he was born here, and that I don't have to risk our lives in a rickety boat to try and find a better life.
The Canada I want for my son recognizes it has to help make things right globally, but also at home. That means acknowledging and truly being sorry for our past actions. If I've wronged you and apologize, but do nothing to make things better, that is insincere. As such, the Canada I want for my son takes the 94 recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission seriously and begins implementing them now. That includes an inquiry into the more than 1,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Because the Canada I want for my son values all lives and knows this is a serious issue.
The Canada I want for my son cares about our beautiful lakes and forests. So many of us like to go to the cabin at the lake on the weekend. We need to protect the land and water and air for us and the creatures who live in the wilderness.
The Canada I want for my son does this while finding a balance with industry and jobs because the reality is we all need to work, get paid, and support our families. And, it feels good when we are able to do this.
The Canada I want for my son recognizes that to do all of this and more, we need to pay taxes, and that's ok. We all work hard for our money, whether we are an oil patch worker, a server, a teacher, a dentist, a gas jockey attendant. Working hard for your money and your profession do not mean you are more entitled to money than the next person. And, the Canada I want realizes that if we don't pay for things like health care through taxes, we will pay upfront a much larger amount, and in the case of healthcare, accessibility will then be based on how deep our pockets are rather than how badly we need the care.