Saturday 1 July 2017

Thank you, Canada.

My friends, love is better than anger.
Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better than despair.
So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic.
And we’ll change the world.

- Jack Layton.

Jack Layton wrote these words less than 48 hours before he died in August, 2011. He was the best Prime Minister Canada never had. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation today, his words still ring true. They serve as a summons to the future, a guidepost to the very best that this country can give to the world. I am profoundly grateful to my country for the blessings and opportunities it has given me.

My father’s family were Anglo-Irish refugees who came to Canada in the 1780s to escape persecution in the newly formed United States of America. They came to a land that had been inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous nations. The wretched treatment of indigenous people in Canada by European settlers is an ongoing source of pain and sorrow in my country. In celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I recognize that First Nations and M├ętis people have a very different perspective on the events of July 1, 1867.

I also recognize that we live in a world where there are many great truths and that those truths can be contradictory. I am proud of my country and ashamed of its actions at the same time. In that spirit, I return to Jack Layton’s powerful words: “So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

I have spent many pleasant hours in Prince Edward County in the last two days. Yesterday, Friday, June 30, I stood with the crowds welcoming the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to the Farmers’ Market in Wellington. And today, Saturday, July 1, Bill and I went to Picton to celebrate Canada Day.

The first batch of photos that follow are from the Wellington Royal visit. Alas, both my camera batteries died prematurely, so I have no photos of Charles and Camilla. I did, however, record images of the preparations before their arrival. The other photos come from Picton’s main street, which has been turned into a giant street party!


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