HuffPost Canada spoke to Canadians to see if citizens could describe their home and native land in just one word.
daoleduc via Getty Images
It's become part of the Canadian identity.
Canada has sent a powerful message that reverberates across all factions: Canada stands with Muslims. This is what M-103 accomplishes. And this is the kind of religious tolerance and inclusiveness that make Canada a model for diversity around the world.
We are entering a new era of identity politics -- the increasingly common practice of political campaigns throwing actual policy to the wind and instead playing directly to our emotions -- this method is defined by selfies, sunny-ways, hope and change, fear and division and class anger turned into blind rage.
While many Canadians look at the politics in the U.S. with confusion and frustration, a more informed reading of our Canadian context highlights our reality may be heading in a similar direction. Silence by the political centre can lead us down the same road as our neighbours south of the border.
David Suzuki's vision of shutting down immigration and Bill Morneau's advisers' call for a massive spike in population are two extreme ends of an argument that Canada is having, seemingly without knowing that it's having it.
I remember your heartfelt speech in the House in the days after we lost Jim Flaherty. I watched. I mourned. I really felt for you as a physician who had tried so hard to save your friend. I cried. I miss him too. Please think about him as you head into the end of this race.
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
It's getting pretty frustrating having to tell people, especially white people, what racism looks like. As a black woman, it's heartbreaking to see how such incidents are handled and how they are reported and discussed in the media. Most frightening, is the direction in which Canada is going regarding race relations.
Spencer Platt via Getty Images
The idea that the prime minister can get away with tiptoeing around Trump's attack on international law and human rights isn't going to cut it. As much as Canada has economic interests, we have moral interests. And this isn't simply a question of values. This is also a matter of standing up for Canada's vital interests.
Rawpixel Ltd via Getty Images
While president Trump's America-first policies focus on turning inwardly to protect, promote and privilege Americans, a Canada-first approach to international relations does the opposite. The overwhelming response over the weekend shows that Canadians value hospitality, diversity and internationalism.
MillefloreImages via Getty Images
During a recent visit to my hometown of St. John's, I went to a busy restaurant to meet friends for lunch. The hostess asked my name. "Bolu," I started. After she refused to take my first name, I began with my last name. "O-g-u-n ..." but was abruptly cut off by the visibly irritated hostess. My name was an inconvenience to her -- too foreign, apparently.
Grant Faint via Getty Images
Though Canada is far from immune to the forces of intolerance, we generally still self-identify as generous, socially conscious citizens. In this moment of unease and unrest, it's heartening that we see ourselves as the world's helpful, conscientious neighbor. Well Canada, this week we have the chance to put our money where our identity is.
Geri Lavrov via Getty Images
What I loved most in that moment listening to strangers argue over my clothes was the open conversation about culture. The friendly acceptance of our differences. They did not find it odd that an American girl needed a sari. I realized that feeling American is part of what made me Canadian.
Darren Robb via Getty Images
We need to cultivate generations of young adults who have been educated through an unbiased curriculum that has helped them understand how the world works today, and how it actually should when they take on their roles as global citizens.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
So there was this CBC-Angus Reid poll. You may have heard about it, or at least seen it while scrolling through your social media feeds this week. It was called the "Canadian Values" poll and it found, according to the original CBC headline, that Canadians want minorities to do more to 'fit in.' This poll made news because it revealed 68 per cent of Canadians thinking minorities should be "doing more to fit in" with mainstream society instead of keeping their own customs and languages. But what I found out after contacting Angus Reid was that 87 per cent of those respondents were white.
Paper Boat London via Getty Images
As the former director of education for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, I have had to stand up for the rights of people I don't like very much, people who say and write things that I had hoped never to hear or read. But I have also taken the opportunity to let them know that, just because I will fight for their right to free expression, I have no intention of respecting what it is they say or represent. I am going to use MY free speech to let the ugly, abusive, and racist people out there know that they are wrong.
Since announcing this proposal former Ms. Leitch's opposing leadership candidates, interim Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney have all condemned the policy. If we subscribe to Trudeau Sr's idea that there is no such thing as a model Canadian, that a society that emphasizes uniformity creates intolerance and hate how can we classify anything as "anti-Canadian"?
Mikhail Mishchenko via Getty Images
I was deeply troubled when Kellie Leitch came up with a proposal to screen immigrants for "anti-Canadian values." The initiative by the Conservative leadership candidate is an ugly form of prejudice t...
Steve Russell via Getty Images
Truthfully, unless you are a member of our indigenous peoples, we are all immigrants, regardless if you gained your citizenship yesterday or 16 generations ago. Historically, immigrants and refugees who adopted Canada as their country of choice contributed to the development of Canada's social, economic and civil fabric.
Elena Elisseeva via Getty Images
What is also clear is that the arrival of these refugee families is not the end of the process, but merely the end of the beginning. With the kindness and compassion present in so many Ontario communities large and small, it is clear that these new Syrian families will receive a warm welcome and be supported as they make a new start in this vast and diverse country.
JOSEPH EID via Getty Images
Differences are what enrich our lives and make Toronto the fabulous, unique, successful city it is. Xenophobia (a fear or hatred of strangers and foreigners) has no place in a city built upon these differences. It threatens the very core of who we as Torontonians are. It is also what motivated the horrific and unacceptable attack in which a woman was beaten and robbed by two young men. They tore off her hijab and told her to "Go back to your country."
NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images
Those who were indifferent before the Paris attacks are now outspoken critics of Prime Minister Trudeau's commitment to accept 25,000 refugees and bring our CF-18's home. Some of the comments I have seen are downright vitriolic. It has been suggested to me by a number of people that we re-consider reminding people at this time that we're sponsoring a refugee family. It might be bad for business and could alienate more than a few friends. I find it incredibly sad that the current state of affairs is such that I have even faint concerns about a backlash for my desire to help those in need. I certainly won't let it deter me.
Brendan O'Sullivan via Getty Images
There is a definite nostalgia for the way Canada used to be. Canadians accept Trudeau's desire to recast Canada as a global peacekeeper, and to live up to our reputation as a caring and compassionate society. Over the past decade under the Harper government, they felt that was slipping away.
Shutterstock / maxstockphoto
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.
In 1992, Canada was the world's leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Canada now ranks a dismal 68th in personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping. This dramatic decline began under the Liberals. Our international engagement programs took us from #1 to #32 by the time the Conservatives took office in 2006 -- they continued the Liberal abandonment of UN peacekeeping as a key role for Canada.
Canadians of all political stripes have voiced their overwhelming support for the public broadcaster. But the voices of advocates are all but absent from mainstream media. Unless the parties themselves and their leaders are prepared to engage in open, competitive debate on the future of our public broadcaster -- our single most important cultural institution -- there is no hope of anything more than the minimal measures of support being offered in the Liberal and NDP platforms from being realized. And the Conservatives will continue to dream of dismantling the institution which has for generations appealed to our better angels, and done so much to make us who we are.
It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The Prime Minister of Canada is deliberately stirring up prejudice against one group of Canadians for one reason only -- political advantage. The sad reality is that many Canadians and Quebecois seem to be vulnerable to embracing an anti-Muslim sentiment. We are all appalled by the brutality of ISIS, with their voyeuristic killing of innocent victims. The tragic murder of two soldiers in Canada has added a sense of vulnerability inside our own country. Stephen Harper's response is to declare that Canada is under attack by "global Jihadists" and introduce sweeping legislation giving new powers to CSIS.
Quebec's Premier Marois is proposing legislation that, in the interest of uniting the province, would include a ban on religious headwear for public employees. This type of argument -- that greater uniformity within a given population would foster unity within that population -- actually has historical precedence. The reality is Marois is not necessarily incorrect.
The Harper government is skilled at paying lip service to deeply-entrenched Canadian values while often de- facto moving public policy away from those values. There is perhaps no better example of this double-sided strategy than in the area of federal water policy.
Regrettably, many third-wave feminists support a woman's right to wear the burka. Women in fact cannot make choices freely when control over their lives is as invasive as it is within the conservative Muslim community.
I do not know the solution to small-mindedness as a part of conservative political strategies, but at least part of the answer requires progressives to ask some rather basic questions about what they believe and why. Here are a few starters.
If, like most voters, you didn't vote Conservative in the last election, your values are un-Canadian. At least, that's what our prime minister thinks.