Monday, June 25, 2007

My Birthday Wish for Canada

The Great Canadian Wish List is in its final week and the idea has been dominated by anti-abortionists, pro-lifers, get back to God types and advocates of traditional marriage. Sad as that is, it is the reality of internet after all and free speech is more valuable than the thoughts expressed in many cases.

There are many interesting gems of wishes for the future of Canada beyond the campaigns by fundamentalists and far right groups who have caught on to the chance to use this opportunity make a statement. I encourage you to browse the Facebook site and you will find some of the soul of the country.

My wish was that we reinstate the Kelowna Accord and that we come to value it like we do the Charter. Sure that is as idealist as the so-cons sentiments but it is as deeply and personally held. So for my part of supporting the National Day of Action by the AFN, I want to share my Wish for Canada with you. Here it is:

"Canada as a nation has to get serious and focused on all aboriginal peoples needs in ways that does not seek to assimilate but respects them as nations within a nation. We can be open and accepting enough to embrace this reality as being Canadians as well as accepting their own unique cultures, languages and senses of self. We can do this and we need to do this as part of our pride and purpose as a people and as an opportunity for Canada to be an avatar of inclusion and acceptance of differences.

We have to not fear differences by learning to thrive on them, especially as the world gets more connected, inter-related and interdependent.It is a unique challenge with different variations all over Canada. The prairies are my experience and we have an advantage of the Treaties that cover all of the provinces.

We have a great need for more productive, healthy and contributing people here too and aboriginal Canadians can be a great part of the solution to those challenges too.Dependency and despair is demeaning and we all, aboriginal and non-aboriginal people have to find ways to get past those destructive norms of the past.The Kelowna Accord was a great start. We need to revisit and revive and relish it.

We have to come to see it with as much mutual pride as we now hold for our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

That is my birthday wish for Canada."