I am a fan of Canada. I feel that I both chose to be a Canadian and that the country chose me when they accepted me as a citizen. I was born in the USA, lived for a period in England and have travelled widely.
Canada has much to commend itself. Relatives who live in Seattle asked me once; what was the difference between Seattle and Vancouver? My answer was, “Vancouver and Seattle are lovely cities and I have lived in both places. Vancouver however is distinctly different; the guns are largely removed, a robust safety net for those in need is in place, and medical care for everyone is provided (with a single payer system). They have encouraged an atmosphere where the multi ethnic and multi faith community can live in harmony”
Having read about Canada’s history you begin to see the rich tapestry of the influence of both France and England. We are a country that has carved out its own unique style of democracy apart from our southern neighbour. A country that is protective of its differences but has not bought the “rugged individualism” narrative of the United States.
Canada is not perfect – but it is exceptional – and it needs to remember its many good qualities. They need not fret that they are not a world power – they are more a world broker and a model for how a democracy succeeds when its’ desires include what is good for the highest percentage of people
Canada needs to be vigilant on behalf on the poor and powerless in the world. They need to be the steady loyal partner speaking to larger political and economic powers with a voice of reason, truth and responsibility.
My children and grandchildren are all Canadians – and as any family who has roots in immigration – they are far more aware of how good a place this is and yet how fragile that good is to sustain.
The work of the Jesuits in Canada reflects these values of love, acceptance and compassion as they use their gifts for the betterment of both the church and society. That is why I am so supportive of the Jesuit work.