Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Canadians should work toward inclusion, not separation

December 18, 2017 by Cindy Peckham, web writer

It seems the powers that be have succeeded in erasing Canada’s diverse identity and left her citizens apathetic, resentful, and intolerant. We’ve been sold the notion that we mustn’t draw attention to what makes us different from one another because “they” are too delicate to handle our differences.

But Canada was founded on cultural differences. The people who immigrated here were brave and refused to accept the lot life handed them. They were the embodiment of proud, strong, and free. The same holds true for the people who immigrate here today.

Our differences are a cause for celebration and pride. This is where our hearts lie. Our national pride is rooted in our customs, our beliefs, and our cultural differences.

This story is a web-exclusive opinion piece; grab our November 29, 2017 issue for more stories.

While I concede that being politically aware and correct is a necessity, I do think it’s gone too far, and that becomes all too clear this time of year.

We awkwardly swap out “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukah” for “Season’s Greetings” and “Happy Holidays.” Worse yet, some of us say nothing at all and silently pass by one another, giving a strained nod at best. Stores won’t play Christmas music or decorate their storefronts, and community events get cancelled. Does this really serve to include people, or is it just a whitewash that leaves us gathering in our respective corners, whispering our heartfelt greetings to only those closest to us?

Wasn’t political correctness supposed to draw people into the fold and ensure they weren’t being excluded because of their differences? Were we not told we had a right to be different, morally and legally?

If you pass me on the street, please don’t be afraid to say something. Say “Merry Christmas” if that’s what speaks to you. Let your hearts be happy to hear it even if it isn’t yours to keep. Find out what your neighbour celebrates and wish them a Happy Hanukah or ask them if they’re having a bonfire for Winter Solstice.

Say something. Say anything. Just please don’t say nothing at all.

True inclusion and tolerance means we take the time to learn about each other and find common ground. It means we open our hearts and minds to something new, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable by sharing what is near and dear to us.

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