Monday, December 14, 2015

A Time To Bask

After so many years spent in darkness, Canadians can, perhaps, be forgiven for feeling exuberantly good about themselves once again and letting the world know it. And, according to Martin Regg Cohn, there is more to what is happening than narcissistic indulgence.
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged to jet-lagged refugees early Friday morning, “We get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, but we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome people.”

There is much to be said for a nation-state self-consciously showcasing its treatment of stateless refugees. Far from being empty symbolism, it serves as a defiant testament of Canadians coming to the aid of people a world away.
For far too long a country denigrated far and wide for what the Harper regime did in our name, we are now not only rehabilitating our reputation but also trying to offer the world a better way:
At a time when much of the world is stooping to new lows, Canadians are cheerfully rising to the occasion. Not because we are better than anyone else, but because our leaders — political, ecumenical and civil — are belatedly bringing out the best in us.
Lest we fall into hubris, however, some stark realities need to be remembered:
We have not been tested like Germany or Greece, both brimming with migrants of indeterminate origin. By virtue of our splendid geographic isolation, we are largely spared the waves of boat people who risk drowning at sea, or the stampedes at border crossings that wreak havoc with sovereignty.

We can afford to take our time, consider our options and select refugees with our own timelines linked to the latest headlines. We get to “cherry-pick” families in remote Middle Eastern camps, where families are pre-vetted by the United Nations as bona fide refugees.
Despite these facts, however, perhaps our ability to reach out may have additional benefits, especially for our cousins to the south, many of whom are currently in the thrall of a demagogue:
It is a well-timed counterpoint to the fear and frothing that has swept the U.S., a country 10 times larger than ours that is taking but 10,000 refugees (a mere 40 per cent of our target).

As the New York Times noted Saturday, “The Canadian public’s widespread embrace of a plan to accept thousands of Syrians stands in stark contrast to the controversy over the issue in the United States.”
And who can watch the following clip, from last night's NBC Nightly News, without feeling good about our country?

As we all know, politicians come and go, and countless policies are born and often die. But something tells me that despite all of the evil we are capable of as a species, there will always be a goodness that resides within us, ready to respond when it is called upon by the right people and the right circumstances.


  1. Replies
    1. May the angels of our better natures continue to be cultivated, Owen.

  2. Lorne, Trudeau's personal welcome of refugees is very heartening. One does feel pride again to be Canadian.

    Harper has done too much damage. So far Trudeau has not disappointed us. His stand on climate change is very encouraging too.

    1. At least for the time being, LD, things are definitely looking up.