While I have always considered myself an able letter-to-the-editor writer, I have also developed ability over the years to recognize superior work when I see it. The following letter from Cathy Allen of Toronto is emblematic of such work. She inspires me, as a Canadian, by her vision of what our country could be:
When I was 18, I attended Expo 67 and voted for Justin Trudeau’s father. Now that I am a widowed senior and disabled and I can’t afford to pay my rent without my son’s help, I find that I am not as proud as I once was to be a Canadian.
When will I be proud to be a Canadian again?
When we build more geared-to-income housing and repair the ones we have so every Canadian can afford a roof over their heads that costs less than 50 per cent of their income.
When nursing homes are given more than $8 dollars and change for a daily food allowance and residents can have a bath when they want.
When no one in Canada is homeless and living on the street and we can afford to bring the minimum wage and pensions above the poverty line because we’ve closed the loopholes and made the corporations that do business in this country pay their fair share of taxes.
When we restore the environmental laws that protect our rivers and lakes and enforce them.
When we stop trampling on our indigenous peoples’ sacred sites and respect their culture and land rights and pay them the compensation due them so they can build decent housing and hospitals and recreation centres and libraries, or their children can move anywhere they want and no longer feel they are not part of our society.
When working-class women with children under the age of 3 are not forced to work but may, if they wish, because we have an affordable daycare system up and running.
And, finally, when we stop calling waging war “peacekeeping” and no longer ship tanks and guns and instead send aid.
That will be the day I will be proud to be a Canadian again. Right now, all I am is relieved that I am not an American.