I made a choice to abandon learning Vietnamese as a kid. Part of it was me being lazy. I didn't want to spend Saturdays inside another school. Three hours learning about the Vietnamese alphabet can seem like prison when you're six or if you're 12. But another part of it was me wanting to fit in. To stay at home. To watch weekend morning cartoons. To have stuff to talk about during recess come Monday. I made a choice to turn my back on part of my identity. In return, I got to fit in within a multi-ethnic schoolyard in a suburban Ontario neighbourhood circa 1995. Today, that decision would make a majority of Canadians pretty happy.
My mom grew up in the 1970s in Pakistan, at a time when women -- if they studied past high school -- were expected to get married right after college. What my mother did was very different. And the story's best told with this photo of my 25-year-old mom working as a chemist in Pakistan. The only woman among men.
There are only a couple things that are typically Argentinean that my dad taught me about: their love for dulce de leche (a delicious treat I use in baking), their obsession with soccer (although my dad was more of a basketball fan) and their love for meat -- specifically, steak. That's it. That's all I know. A huge chunk of me is missing and I don't know if I'll ever find it.
I am proud to live in a country that celebrates diversity and inclusion. Talented immigrants arrive every year to call Canada home, and these newcomers shape this country's future in important ways. Earlier this year, I wrote about the value of honouring the immigrants that help make Canada better. It was a broad call to acknowledge the social, economic and cultural contribution that thousands of immigrants make to our country.
Stop with the ignorant posts, people. Think about it before you blindly share some meme, or post that's not even accurate. You sound stupid. We share this planet with 7 billion other people -- some estimates suggest that 2.2 billion of them are Muslim. Enough with the "If we went to your country, we'd have to live by your rules." Stop. Muslim is not a country. I'm sorry if pointing out your religious intolerance has offended you, but it was the same type of ignorance and vitriol that eventually caused the slaughter of millions of Jews in the Second World War. Before you're too quick to defend your hate speech, marinate in that for a minute and think about if you want to contribute to that kind of hate.
Not all oral confirmations are created equal. Take Canada's oath of citizenship. A bunch of people are challenging it before an Ontario judge at the moment on the basis that it's neither a meaningful symbol nor a useful tradition, just an absurd and oppressive indignity. It's not a welcome. It's a hazing.
Recently, Jason Kenney has proposed drastic changes to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) -- the program that has allowed many refugees to receive health care. These changes aim to deny access to essential medicines for all refugees and claimants, deny basic healthcare to those deemed to come from a "safe country," and are a poor policy decision.