Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Welcome to all of our new citizens

To all of our new citizens who are arriving here this month and in the upcoming months. Some of you have come here as refugees' and others have had less hazardous journeys. To all  WELCOME.

I hope you find peace and prosperity in our wonderful country as my Grandparents did when they came to this country at the beginning of the last century.

My Mom's parents were both born in different parts of Romania and both came to Canada at the beginning of the 20th Century and met in a small town in Saskatchewan; my Dad's parents were both born in the USA and came here in the 1920's and lived in a small town in Saskatchewan.

So as a second generation born Canadian, I am proud to welcome all of the new Canadians and hope their life in Canada will be as successful as my families was in this beautiful, wonderful, free country.

An American, Peter Ferrara, an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law in Northern Virginia wrote an essay 2001 to help define what a American is to the world. I have adapted and changed it a bit as have many over time. The essay was adapted by some on the Internet to describe Canadians.

I am posting this version so you can use this as a primer to begin to understand who we believe we are and who you will become as a citizen of one of the best places in the world to live.

I think the essay applies to both countries citizens; although I believe that in policy and direction the Canadian Government is, I think, at this time more tolerant to refugees than the US Government.

As individuals Canadians and Americans are very much alike. Citizens of both countries can take pride in what was written by Professor Ferrara and what was changed by the citizens of the Internet to reflect what they believed Canada stood for; it is time for Americans to also stand up and be proud of what they stand for as well. So I think if you are American then substitute the word American when you see the word Canadian.

A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek or Romanian, or from the USA.

A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan.

A Canadian is also a member of the First Nation who may call themselves Tsimshian; Haida; Salish; Kwakiutl; Blackfoot; Cree; Chipewyan; Algonquin; Míkmaq; Iroquois; Huron. Innu, Abenaki or Mi'kmaq.

A Canadian may be Metis or a member of the Inuit Nation.

A Canadian's religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none.

In Canada we are free to worship as each of us chooses. Whether we have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to their own version of God; government in Canada does not interfere with our right to worship or not worship as we believe.

A Canadian lives in one of the most free lands in the history of the world. The root of that freedom can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each person to "life, liberty and security of the person"

A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds. But they also welcome the least - the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected.

These are the people who built Canada.

You can try to hurt a Canadian as other tyrants in the world have tried but in doing so you could just be hurting a relative or a neighbour.

This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian.

Please feel welcome and take the best we can give; but give us the best you can be.

Finally, remember to  keep your stick on the ice EH!

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