This is what it means to be a Canadian

FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Because of our vast, beautiful and nearly empty land, seldom are any of us Canadians faced with natural disasters. The earthquake in Haiti yesterday and its aftershocks are overwhelming in the tragic loss of life in that little country which has contributed so many people to Canada.

I was truly touched and moved by the speech today by our Haitian born Governor General, Michaell Jean as it was clear how disturbed she is about the events in the place where she still has family and friends.

It is so important to realise that we are all in one way or another like the Governor General with roots that go far beyond our shores. My father and I were born here in Canada, but my grandfather, whom I remember so very well, came to Canada in the spring of 1912. As first and second generation Canadians, we need to realise that Canada as a nation, is a place where  people from all over the world can come and make their homes and raise their families in peace and assured of their freedom. Twice, since our family came here, our fellow Canadians have gone to give their lives for peace in Europe, other conflicts in Asia and around the world have seen Canadians step up and show the world that we care.


Beginning in 1958 with the world's first peace keeping mission Canadians have marched and served peacefull under the flag of the United Nations. A fairly large number were doing just that in Haiti and there are still nearly a hundred Canadians serving the world in our mission to Haiti.

This is how we as a country want to see ourselves. People who get involved to make things better for our fellow man. The intrusion of the attack  on New York and Washington by some extremists got us involved in a war, a war which we are trying ever so hard to turn into yet another peace keeping mission, but it is failing.

This massive disaster in Haiti is an opportunity for us as a country and as a generous people, to show that we are more than war mongers involved in a war that no one can win, but in Haiti we can help the injured, the poor, the homeless and those who have lost their loved ones. We can make a difference in Haiti and besides getting aid to the people, we can open the doors of country to those who need a safe place to live and bring tens of thousands of Haitians to Canada.


Timothy W. Shire

Image Credit: the picture of the Governor General was borrowed from the CBC

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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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