It’s the beginning of February and all across this great country of ours we are locked in the grips of the Great White Monster we know as Winter—even on the wet coast where we already had the worst and longest winter in 30 years! Now this weekend we get an additional foot of the white stuff and since I’m tired of playing in the snow all I have left to do is watch hockey on TV and rant. You’d think the fentanyl crisis was enough and now our homeless have to deal with this! Cabin fever is for the lucky. But what really gets under my skin is not the cold or the needles but the fact that the so-called president of the United States is the lead story on every news cast. Even when this insecure young white guy kills six men at a Muslim prayer meeting in Quebec we hear about how this is somehow tied to immigration which is tied to the recent executive order south of the border to keep all the bad people out and north of the border we hear about so-called Canadian values that all our potential immigrants should have to abide by. Really? This is going to keep us safe and happy?
Let’s get real folks, if you and your ancestors have been living on this continent for less than 500 years you are an immigrant—and this would be the majority of the population. The trees and mountains and lakes and bears and birds and beavers and turtles of this island continent welcomed wanderers across the Bering Strait some ten thousand or more years ago and those wanderers having a faith that was close to this earth began welcoming others to these welcoming shores 500 or so years ago. European settlers brought them numerous genocidal gifts and decided to take over the land and divide it into squares and cities. We sometimes think it was our soldiers who secured our freedom and values but our freedom and values were not achieved in the world wars; they were a gift given by the indigenous people. Sadly, some of those freedoms and values were also stolen through the genocide of those same peoples who welcomed us. Let’s get our history right: the original Canadian values were welcome and acceptance. All of us refugees and immigrants enjoy the life that we do here because of the Canadian values of welcome and acceptance that the First Nations of this land showered upon us. Yes, let’s make sure all our new immigrants know about the Canadian value that brought us all here: welcome of the different other.