Canada the Great!

Canadians still care about each other
November 16, 2016

Like many Canadians, I too got swept up in the vulgar spectacle that was the American federal election. And, as my recent blogs have made clear, I fear for our neighbours to the south, who are in for a truly rough ride the next few years.

But mostly, I worry that the bigotry, racism, and intolerance that seems to be sweeping the USA like a disease, will spill across our mutual border and contaminate our otherwise kind and tolerant life here in Canada.

Already there are signs of it doing so. A few days ago, racists posters began appearing around Toronto, urging white people, who are “Sick of being blamed for all the world’s problems?”, and “Tired of political correctness?”, to join the “alt-right”, a movement of American white supremacists endorsed by Trump’s top advisor, Stephen K. Bannon, whom many pundits see as the soon-to-be official voice of racism in the White House.

It really should come as no surprise that the outrageous events of the last few months, weeks, and days have emboldened the lowlife rats that prowl in the shadows of every city, including Toronto. Their renewed sense of power has been nurtured by Trump’s repugnant campaign rhetoric, and is liable to persist until sanity, and more rational and tolerant thinking, reestablishes a foot hold… although that may take some time, unless everyone does their part to help it back into the light.

And that seems to be the very thing that some wonderfully kind Torontonians did the other day.

A young Iranian woman was riding the subway to work last week when she noticed a clearly distraught young Latino man sitting near her, holding his head in his hands, and repeatedly moaning “Oh, God”. That’s when a group of kind and generous Canadians came to his aid, one-by-one.

The Russian guy sitting next to the young man asked if he was okay. The young man replied that he was running late for a job interview, had a horrible headache, and was worried he would lose out on this job opportunity.

That’s when the Iranian woman across from him offered the young man an Advil. He thanked her, but said he didn’t have anything to take it with. Then a Middle Eastern passenger offered him a juice box from her child’s backpack, adding the encouraging words that this should help the young man to feel better by the time he got to his interview.

When the young man said he was nervous, the Iranian woman, herself an employer, suggested he not make excuses, but just apologize for being late. The others joined in with helpful advice of their own. The Russian said to walk in confidently, and to tie back his hair if he could. At which point a Chinese teenager sitting nearby offered a hair tie, saying he had a million of them. A Muslim woman told him to smile, because “people trust you more when you smile.” The group continued to bolster the young man’s confidence for the rest of the ride.

By the time the young man reached his station, they were all wishing him luck with his interview, as he thanked them for their kindness and bid them goodbye.

Now that’s Canadians for you!

And that’s why we need to ensure that the sad cultural cancer spreading through the USA right now doesn’t find its way up here. We mean something to each other up here in Canada. And we need to make sure that doesn’t change… ever.

I’m just sayin’