Today, I had the pleasure of visiting Humber College, Toronto. It was an interesting time to be visiting given the past few weeks during which some of our MPs in Ottawa and even our Prime Minister have been using fear inducing discourse and bigoted language targeted at immigrants and especially Muslim women who wear facing coverings. As a teacher trying to build citizens who will one day lead our country it has been mortifying and embarrassing to watch.
“It doesn’t make sense to bring brownies in when whities …” I teach children of different races. How does this make them feel?
“go back to where you came from” – I teach immigrant children, how does this make them feel?
It was disheartening to know these words are being said by elected officials. If this is what they feel comfortable saying publicly, what is being said behind closed doors?
It seems that in the fallout from our ongoing conflict with extremists some of us may have begun to forget who we are – a nation of immigrants and aboriginals, that prides itself on its tolerance, although we know we often miss the mark.
It is why I invite everyone and particularly Larry Miller and John Williamson to pop into the North Campus of Humber College for a little refresher on what it means to be Canadian. The campus is buzzing with optimism and energy. It is filled with young people of more ethnic backgrounds than I could count, focused on the future – working together. There is no feeling of conflict, there is no sense of us vs them – it’s just people of different cultures and beliefs – some wearing clothing reflective of their cultures – all Canadians and all full of hope for a better tomorrow, one that they are building. The feeling is contagious. Go experience it for yourselves. Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Enjoy the pluralism. Feel the future. Be Canadian.