It’s no small thing that without fear, I walked 2 km or so by myself to Lafarge Lake to check out the Canada Day festivities there today as the afternoon wound down. I never gave a thought to safety. No need. And as darkness began to settle on the day, I walked home –again without fear. This privilege, this safety: it’s no small thing.
At the park were thousands of people, most of whom look different from me. And they chattered away gaily in all kinds of different languages, including English.
There we all were, an odd mix of cultures, having a few family laughs on Canada Day: politely making space for each other, selling and buying food, bouncing babies, swinging toddlers, handing cash out to teenagers. It was a glorious bustle –a magnificent mix of Canadians: all equally participating, all equally alive, all equally able to be themselves without fear of some snide comment or dark resentment. It’s no small thing.
The day Prime Minister Harper coined the terrible term, “old stock Canadians” seems like so long ago, though it was just last fall. Today, such a notion would have been a sacrilege. Who among us could have claimed to be any more deserving than anyone else? The very thought of it is absurd.
I’m home now. My wife is still at work, on her evening shift.
The house is quiet.
Thousands of miles across the country, in Nova Scotia, I have a new grandson whom I’m going to visit in a few days.
The world has its problems. This vast nation is imperfect; there can be no doubt about that.
But today I am glad for Canada.