On this day I reflect on the words of philosopher Bruce Powe. He wrote, in his book A Canada of Light, of his vision of our nation.
...a Canada of light, a promise, a flash, an opportunity for reverie, a turning leaf, an opened door, a rendezvous of many cultures, a sometimes quieter street or pathway in the wailing world, an outpost, a DEW Line, the least likely place to incite mass ethnic hatred, a glimpse, a turning away, a provocation to think beyond single vision, a drama of inwardness, a site for talk and contemplation, a celebration of solitudes, a generous spirit wrestling with the demon of closure and the shadow of uniformity, where the vision of the country remains, fortunately, always ahead of its politicians.
He sees Canada as a “communication state”. Something I recognize instantly.
...I perceive communication to be the value of Canada, the highest good of a state where understanding and misunderstanding, conciliatory conversation and vitriol, where constant negotiation and the expansions and limits of language, coexist. We have had to learn how to contact one another over an enormous land space...Technology forges connections and disconnections here.
We are bound together through the desire for discourse. Weather or world affairs, Canadians will talk it out. With respect for ideas and desire for precision of language, Canada is at our best when we listen, weigh, consider, contemplate, contribute, comprehend and resolve. Our reputation as middle power and honest broker was built on being the world’s communication state.
This is why the current approach of the Canadian government baffles me. Why are the politicians in power so afraid to be Canadian?
Adopting an increasingly uniform and dictatorial view of the way politics must be done, Canada’s standing on the world stage keeps slipping farther into irrelevance. Being the “go to” country for agreement requires confidence, good will, willingness to compromise, independence, openness and a healthy dose of “benefit of the doubt”. The government is about finger wagging, oversimplifications, chest thumping, favoured friends, our way or no way, unyeilding moralism and sideline sitting. This must change.
My hope is for a new page turned. A new Canadian approach that pivots on our nature as a communication state. By 150, Canada is restored. The world’s conflict zones welcome Canada in to guide mutual resolution. The world’s faith in Canada restored, where our words and deeds lead the participants to say, “ah we can trust that Canada will understand and help us work it out.”
My best wishes for a wonderful day, hopefully with family and friends.