So what Now....Canada?
Date: Saturday, July 01 2006
So what Now... Canada?
Op-ed by Catherine Whelan Costen
July 1, 2006 we gather to raise our flags! We sing without fear, without pride and without joy! We sing ‘Oh, Canada’ in a way we have never sung it before. We sing with sorrow, uncertainty and concern. Many of us have been shaken awake. Brutally assaulted by the sense of betrayal as we discover our nation is hanging on the brink of colonialism. Our own ignorance of the 139 years history that brought us to this place does nothing to appease the sense of anger burning in our bellies. It is called righteous anger!
As we search the faces of our friends, families, neighbours and complete strangers, we seek out a silent message of knowing, because to speak it is still beyond our ability. Do they know? Do they care? We hope they do because bearing this discovery alone is unthinkable.
After the initial onslaught of emotions, the shock, the fear followed by the anger, the sorrow and the private tears we know we must act. We know it with every fibre of our being. It is who we are. ‘We are Canadian’. We are no longer ‘nice’ Canadians, we have evolved. We are knowledgeable and infused with wisdom from our ancestors, a wisdom that surpasses race, creed, colour and gender. The wisdom born of blood shed for other’s freedoms, fought in Wars around the globe in an effort to promote peace. The wisdom garnered from sacrifice that forced us to declare, ‘Never Again’. This wisdom passed from generation to generation has grown. It was gained through toiling the hardened Canadian soil or facing the oceans’ unforgiving harshness, or the brutal Northern cold, to carve a life, and produce the highest standard of food to feed the hungry of the world and sustain ourselves.
While the propaganda machine churns out message upon message of doom and gloom, of dependence on corporate rule for our very survival, Canadians are returning to our roots. Common sense tells us otherwise. Common sense cautions us to stop relying on false slogans without doing our research. Common sense reminds us that in the deep depression Canadians relied on each other to survive. The banks did not save the Canadian farmer from poverty. They didn’t provide the soup kitchens or stop the homelessness, the orphans or desperation. When the people of Canada lost all hope in the dirty 30’s it wasn’t the elite who reached down from their ivory towers and offered a helping hand. The poor and destitute reached out to each other and raised themselves out of despair. In the 1960’s it wasn’t the elite who offered healthcare to the poor and suffering. It was the people who stood with Tommy Douglas and demanded a fair and just system for all. In 2006 it will be you and me who reach out to each other, across all lines of gender, race, creed and colour and change the landscape for a better way.
You are awake now, but you are tired and you dislike the negative messages. You are sick of hearing the gloom and doom. It is frightening and often gives you a sense of powerlessness. I remind you to think about our history. Think about the 1920’s, 30’s, 60’s, they had a pittance of the tools we have today, but they had strength of character and wisdom to trust their humanity. You want to celebrate Canada Day with real meaning. You don’t want to hear about a threat to the nation. You don’t want anymore war. You just want to get along and you ask yourself, ‘Why can’t people just get along?’ Then you say, ‘why doesn’t the government just act responsibly?’ You know the answers. ‘You are the government, so when are you going to act?’
‘Oh, Canada’, my country, my home, you are what we make you. All of us who desire change must be change. We want a healthy country, so let us make it so. We want democracy, so let us participate and make it work. We want peace, so let us be peace. Power is not taken, it is given. What kind of Canada do we individually and collectively want to leave the next generation? Let this Canada Day be the social awakening and recommitment to really stand for Canadian values of caring, peace, support for our fellow human being, and true respect for our beautiful environment! We have non-violent solutions to our peaceful aspirations. We have the wisdom of the ages to show us the way. Societies that raise humanity up and place emphasis on living in harmony with our environment before all else, will not only survive, they thrive.
Let’s raise our flags and our voices in a shared hope for true success, real sustainability for all people in Canada and let us be an example for the world!
Catherine Whelan Costen
Canadian Action Party President & Communications Director