Canada is a mosaic of cultures and peoples, and proudly so.
From the First Nations who settled this land, to the waves of immigrants from many countries and many religions: Irish, Ukrainian, Portuguese, German, Asian, Christian, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, you name it, they are probably represented here.
Sadly, with the arrival of Syrian refugees, we’re seeing a number of comments expressing ideas that are less than accepting of their culture. At best, these comments could be described as well-meaning but ill-informed; at worst, racist and bigoted.
ISIS, Al Qaeda and similar groups already condemn our way of life. The surest way to convince them they are right is to act in ways to confirm their views..
These refugees, both the families that are already here and those yet to come, have been through enough. Years in refugee camps, without a place to call home, and many indignities along their journey to a new country.
The last thing they should experience in Canada, whether they are here for a short time or forever, is more intolerance.
In his work We Are More, Penticton poet Shane Koyczan describes Canada as “cultures strung together then woven into a tapestry … an experiment going right for a change.”
That’s a pretty beautiful vision of Canada. On the other hand, grey people living in a grey world is not an ideal to strive for.
Because this planet would be a much less cool place if we were all the same, with everyone acting just like everyone else, all marching to the beat of the same drummer.
So let’s show these refugees — and each other, for that matter — that Canada really is a welcoming place, and that they are another thread in that tapestry, making us a stronger whole.