With Canada Day just a couple days away, we Canadians have so much to be thankful for and proud of, every single year. But I have to say that this particular year has made me more proud than ever to call this country my home.
With Donald Trump spewing all sorts of venomous hatred on a daily basis to the south and Brexit across the pond, with the anti-immigration and xenophobic rhetoric of the Ukip party, it feels like Canada is being surrounded by insanity.
Credited in no small part to Justin Trudeau’s sunny ways leadership, Canada has welcomed more than 25,000 Syrian refugees over the past year. Some provinces, including my own, have significantly increased their population size. In fact, since they started arriving last year, New Brunswick has settled more Syrian refugees per capita than any other province, by about double the national average (CBC).
And for the most part, Canadians have not only allowed these people into our country, we have welcomed them. There were crowds at airports, holding signs of welcome, there were groups of people whose sole job was to make our new residents comfortable and to make their transition as easy as possible.
And our newest residents have already started improving the communities they live in. Stories poured out of Alberta when the wildfires devastated Fort MacMurray earlier this year, of refugees coming together in support, and giving what little they had to their neighbours and new friends who had lost their homes to the fire. Because they understand what it means to lose everything, and they wanted to help.
We live in a scary time. A time when there’s no way to know where or when terror will strike next. A time when even a night out dancing or going to the movies can end in a living nightmare.
Fear is a natural response. Fear usually keeps us safe; it keeps us from doing stupid shit, like jumping off a cliff (for most people). But sometimes fear holds us back. Sometimes it clouds our judgement, and closes our minds and hearts to the truth.
The truth is that our differences do make us stronger, not weaker, and they will help lead this country into the future.
We were afraid, but we didn’t let fear win. We refused to let thousands of people suffer a horrible fate, through absolutely no fault of their own.
We are Canadian. We welcome all.
I’m so proud to call myself Canadian, more than ever before.
And we have to believe that love is louder than all this noise.