Thursday, 10 December 2015

Welcome Syrian refugees, Love Canada



One of the things I love about Canada is the spirit that embodies the people of this nation. Maybe it has something to do with the cold; we are always ready to welcome neighbors and people we barely know into our homes, and into our hearts. We are good decent people, well raised, with stellar values.

Sure we have opinions on everything, and on the surface, Canadians can appear a bit cranky. I grew up in an extended family with grandparents who “chewed” about the weather, the God damned government, and how strawberries never tasted as good in winter. But they were the first ones to make a casserole, lend a mower, or offer a ride to the grocery store.

Our society has changed a lot since I was a scruffy little school girl, and I’ve noticed a mean kind of spirit that has invaded a lot of people, who have become jaded, jealous, and intolerant of others. Sometimes I think it’s because we’ve been given so much in our society, and we’ve stopped being grateful for the little things in life: the cold nose of a Labrador retriever who has come in from Konging with his Dad; the sing-songing of a pre-schooler explaining why beef and potatoes have no business touching each other; or watching the boys figure out the complexity of untangling Christmas lights.

Even as I begin to enter my dotage, I never get tired of Dr. Seuss, or twinkle lights or Scottish shortbreads. And I find myself humming along to the sounds of Bing and Bowie, played over and over at the grocery store.

I was thinking about this because today is the day that Canada welcomes its first wave of Syrian refugees to Canada. I’ve found myself upset hearing people who live in big houses with double garages complaining that we don’t have enough to share, that Canadians will have to do without because we are welcoming the refugees to our landscape.

There won’t be enough food, they argue, there won’t be enough jobs, there won’t be enough housing for all those people. I can’t believe what I hear. Stores like Costco and Walmart throw away apples and bananas every day because they are blemished. We toss away sweaters and slacks because they are no longer trendy. We turn up our noses at apartments that would be dream homes to people who have nothing but the shirts on their backs.

Luckily, these voices are small and emanate from those of little brain. For the most part, Canadians are happily drowning out the whiners with our joyful and strong voices. We are raising money, opening up our own houses, and finding room for these people who have so much to offer to this country.

Even the Grinch would be hard-pressed to keep his heart from expanding out of his chest when witnessing the generosity of our people.

We take so much for granted in this country, and we have so much to share. And that is why welcoming refugees to our country is so important. We need to be reminded that we are a nation of immigrants. Most of us can rattle offer our lineage. We pay a King’s sum to Ancestry.ca to find out where we came from.

The Syrian refugees know perfectly well were they’re from, and it’s not the Emerald Isle. We would do well to remind ourselves about that on Boxing Day.

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