Janet and I had a quiet day. We slept late, did some chores and just simply enjoyed the day as it came. This year, Canada Day was special because of the recent arrival of Selem, the Eritrean refugee that we are sponsoring. She enjoyed her first Canada Day festivities.
At one point during the day I watched the news on CBC. As part of the newscast, there was a sports report. Of course, part of the sports report included some reflections on the Canadian Women’s Soccer team and their recent heart-breaking loss to England. The other piece of sporting news that made me sit up and take notice had to do with the NHL free-agent signing frenzy.
Thinking about all of these things, I realize that there are some things out of kilter in our country. When listening to the sports report about free agent signings, one sports commentator talked about Mike Green and whether he would be able to command the kind of salary he is currently getting, which is in the neighbourhood of $6 million per anum; the commentator said that he might get 3 or $4 million, but not 6 with a new team. The sports reporter talked about a million here and a million there like it was pocket change.
This got me to thinking about what Canada is all about. Canada is about the kind of teamwork that saw the Canadian Women’s team get to the quarter-finals. Canada is about the effort of a diverse group of people rallying together to bring a person from a different country who isn’t able to live in her country of origin.
The Canada that I know is about seeking peace with justice and working to end poverty. It is about reconciliation with 1st Nations people and seeking climate justice. The Canada that I have known is the Canada that welcomes people into a new life, people who have experienced many hardships and challenges.
Canada is not about how many millions we can deliver to hockey players. It is not about spying on citizens who care deeply about the environment and about peace with justice in our world, or attacking unions, or dismantling the middle-class. Canada is not about rewarding corporations for polluting the environment and disrupting the natural world.
The Canada I have come to love is about being an inter-cultural community of people who choose to live with compassion and free from fear.
Commonwealth is a term that we know well as Canadians. We are part of the old British Commonwealth. Commonwealth is a term that could be substituted for the “Kingdom of God” that Jesus proclaimed. Commonwealth is a good term in my opinion because it implies that wealth is held commonly and that the common good is considered before the individual good. Commonwealth means that all citizens enjoy a standard of living and care that is life-giving and community-building.
Belated Happy Canada Day!