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Updated: Mar 29, 2021


Canada Day 2018 is a holiday unlike many we have had in the past. With a trade war looming with the Trump administration we need to reflect on what it means to be Canadian in an increasingly polarized world. The Trump doctrine has become starkly clear: America no longer has friends – just enemies. And that includes us. In Europe, there has been a disturbing rise of xenophobia and false “populist” leaders of the far right. Around the world, the power of the 1% grows as the poor are left to fend for themselves.

Sitting on the sidelines isn’t an option. The days of Canada being the friendly Boy Scout or the slightly smug observer of other nations’ failings is over. We need to talk about what kind of nation Canada will be in a world that is growing darker.

In my work as MP, I have had the incredible fortune to see just how amazing Canada is at the grassroots level. I’ve been hopelessly in love with the promise of this land ever since my first tour as a young musician in an overcrowded van. I love the beauty of the land and the incredible tolerance and resilience of the people. We are a hopeful nation and we have been blessed with resources that many other people could only dream of having.

But the fractures of social discord cut through our nation.

We are finally coming to terms with a history built on broken treaties and the attempt to deny and destroy the Indigenous identity of this land. But reconciliation means more than just words. We have much heavy lifting to do on this road.

And across the broader spectrum of Canadian society, there is growing economic and social inequity. And outside the Ottawa bubble, there are many people who feel that they have been written off the economic and political map of the nation.

This Canada Day I am pledging myself to work to be a bridge builder, to work harder in reaching out to those who are falling for the siren songs of alienation and discontent. I pledge to make my vision a little broader and recognize that Canada needs to do some heavy lifting in a world of growing inequity.

I pledge to hold the line against bullies like Trump and the far right. But I want to speak about justice and inclusion in a way that draws people in, that helps empower them to feel they can be part of the change-making process.

And I pledge to be more thankful for friends like you for your steadfast commitment to justice, civility and political engagement.

Happy Canada Day!


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