Yesterday was an extraordinary day. Our board chair, Barry Davidson is hosting an international crime prevention conference (ICA) for approximately 75 delegates from all over the world and I was invited to attend the networking evening. While there, one of the delegates from Chile commented about the wonderful food she always enjoys when she comes to Canada. I laughed because we weren’t having anything extravagant- just Vietnamese spring rolls, sushi, fresh fruit and vegetables.
Pointing to the food on the table, she commented about the amazing diversity and tolerance we have for each other. She noted that Chile was a very homogeneous country and that there were no black people, for example, in her country.
Having grown up with kids from Italy, China, Jamaica, India and Korea, I am always taken aback when visitors point out how unique our country is because of how diverse we are.
It is something that we as Canadians tend to take for granted and perhaps do not understand how incredibly special we are!
She asked how is it that we get along? And I must admit I stared at her dumbly. How does any big family with unique personalities and ideas get along? You just do and yes, sometimes there are squabbles and conflicts. Yes sometimes things get a little frayed.
But in truth, we are like a ginormous quilt – each square is unique with vibrant colors and geometric shapes. Each square it’s own intricate design. Each square a story in itself. And yet just like a quilt, we meet at the edges and are sewn together to make a beautiful blanket that each of us is wrapped in!
So how do we get along? I think the secret to that question can be found in a document called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It protects diversity, honors individuals and binds us together. It is our most respected and recognized cultural symbol. Yes, even more than the Canadian flag, or maple syrup. Why even more than hockey! That’s right, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is what makes us Canadian!
As I headed to the polls today to exercise my right and responsibility to vote, I was thinking about our rich tapestry – the wonderful country we call home!
Today I was proud to be Canadian!