Even though I love Friday I am sobered by the events that have taken place this week. It has been a rough week for Canada, my thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of our fallen soldier.
This week the things that have got me thinking are our reaction to the terrorist act in our capital and how thankful I am.
Two military personnel were struck by a car driven by Martin ‘Ahmad’ Rouleau in Quebec on Monday, October 20th. Rouleau was being watched by the RCMP at the time of the attack. His passport had been taken from him on the belief that he would leave Canada to join ISIS. On a Facebook page and a Twitter account under the name of Ahmad Rouleau statements were made denouncing Christianity and Judaism. Martin Rouleau was born in Canada and converted to Muslimism. It is believed he was acting alone and not part of a radical group. On Tuesday, October 21st, one of the soldiers passed away from his injuries.
On Wednesday, October 22nd, we lost another member of our military in an attack at Parliament Hill. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot in the back by a terrorist, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in Canada and converted to Muslimism. He was in Ottawa trying to get a passport. While there he lived in a homeless shelter. He was known to police for previous criminal acts but had not been identified as a potential terrorist. He was not known to have any association with Mr. Rouleau.
In social media there are many people saying that we have given up too much of our heritage to accept the heritage of others (the Christmas tree debate in schools for example) and that we should come down hard on the people who come to our country and refuse to give up their religions and traditions. While many of us were born here the truth is our forefathers invaded Canada and took it over by force and persistence. Even among our forefathers many of the people who came here tried to maintain their heritage and traditions; Quebec for example, Protestants, Catholics and more. Even in our past there were extremists who committed acts of violence but… we became one and stand solidly before the world as a nation of peace and tolerance.
In a country known for our love of freedom, our tolerance of other nationalities, religions, beliefs and people we are struggling to understand how we could be attacked by our own. We can’t over react to these senseless attacks. Yes, we need to be vigilant but we do not need to be vigilantes. Let us come together and strengthen our defences. Let us educate our people. But we cannot become a police state or the terrorists will have won. They are not just trying to kill us physically they are trying to strip from us all that is good. By giving up out tolerance and acceptance are we becoming like the terrorists and extremists that we are fighting against?
I can think of no reason for two Canadians to give up their Canadian heritage and become terrorists in their home country. I am saddened by the actions of these two men but am pleased with the actions of the people who defended our country and our heritage.
This week I have many small things to be grateful for but one big thing… Canada. I am thankful for this country. The freedom it offers me. The peace it brings to the world. Canada is my home and native land. I was born here. Every time I travel I am thankful for the country I am returning to. I am thankful for the wonderful people who live here. I am thankful for our strength as a nation. I am thankful for the brave people who serve in our military. I am thankful for our healthcare system (even with all the problems). Our country as a nation may not be perfect but it is my home and I’m thankful to live here.
My upbringing in Canada made me the person I am. I will always be proud to be a Canadian. Jim Carrey
In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect.
I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.
John Diefenbaker (From the Canadian Bill of Rights, July 1, 1960.)
Canada is like a bird, it likes to soar freely.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please feel free to share it.
A Grateful Canadian,