We have heard so much about Canada and Canada Day and it seems to me I missed something important.
Canada is about this, Milan, Stephanie and Hunter (Saskatoon May 2005)
What is Canada? Why is it important to me?
I have been reading post after post about our country this past few days. I guess what generated this post was the a couple of things. So many people are pessimistic out there on the web, someone calling our country third rate, a play on Canada being the third nation to approve gay marriages, and an editorial in my home town of Kelowna that took time to say we don't know how good we have it.
Why do I spend time on the internet typing away my thoughts and opinions. It comes down to this. I care about my community, my friends, and my country and this world we share with billions of others.
My community includes family, friends, neighbours and people I haven't met yet.
I like to talk, love my coffee and that coffee addiction has led me to meet so many different people. People that have unique insights on this community.
I have always been known as the do gooder( is that a word?). Mostly because I grew up in a poor family that made room for anyone at the dinner table. Still it never really became real for me until my step daughter, came into my life, a troubled teen with a great mother but that is how teens are sometimes, decided to leave Saskatoon and move to Vancouver to live with her Dad and I.
The do gooder(I am using it anyway) in me knew the importance of schools, alternative programs and community centres. About safe neighborhoods, yet until Stephanie came to live with us it was simply an academic exercise wasn't it.
Now of course it was important, as it always was but I had first hand experience with it. Alternative programs saved Stephanie and her Dad and I. A bright bilingual girl, just did not fit in the regular system. A 17 year old out in Vancouver at night, now if that does not scare a parent, nothing will. Knowing where she was more than a mental exercise, waiting up at night for her to come in, not to nag her but to see with my own eyes she was home and safe.
Stephanie's brother and sister are both parents now making me a grandfather, a role I never thought would happen and one I am more than pleased to have happened.
My community may not be more important because of this, but it has a different bent to it. What's important to me today, safe communities, good schools, affordable housing and health care.
I don't like what the US is doing to our world, I don't like what Canada is doing to join the US, I am not pleased we have more children in poverty today than a decade ago or that schools have tons of new fees, I thought it was supposed to be free, that kids cannot realistically dream of owning home in Kelowna, that 12 years olds can be allowed to go to work, that both parents have to work to live.
Canada is likely better than any other place to be, yet we are under siege. We are being pressured to accept fewer immigrants and refugees pretty much have to arrive at the door with the bad guys chasing them before we let them in, our health care system is being pressured due to funding cuts and privatization, neighbourhood schools are closing and libraries are too.
My views of right and wrong, of what needs to be fixed haven't changed since Stephanie entered my life, my need for change has.
Canada, Kelowna, Family, community, Politics, gay