Can I go back to Scotland? Please let me go back…
I have been back in Canada from my latest expedition for a mere two weeks, and yet it feels like months. I came back amongst work panic over urgent documents and overtime chaos. Not surprising, since elections were creeping up on us.
From changing the entry door in preparation of the cold and dark winter months (the new door has a window, hurra for natural lighting!) to a visit in Montreal for a multiple birthdays celebration. From a maternal visit in our parts of Canada to the sorting of massive piles of unused stuff ready for a new owner. From overtime to the polling stations… It has been an eventful two weeks since my landing in Ottawa.
When confronted with the daily mundane tasks of a surprisingly overfilled schedule, I miss the serendipity of the rolling Highlands. Anything to go back to the breathtaking scenery, the cozy evenings with a dram of scotch to warm your belly and the daily dips in history (even if sometimes a quite a little bit too bloody for me).
I am sure you are all very eager to hear tales of Scotland. I, for one, am looking forward to sharing them very much. However, I will exert your patience for a little while longer and will instead write a few lines about Monday’s elections.
A bit of context first. Canada was led by the Conservative Party for the last three mandates, the last being a majority. During this time, it seems like the country became more divided than ever on issues of immigration, security (more specifically, Bill C-51) vs. freedom, transparency and disclosure of information, environment, family benefits, taxation, etc. People were discontent about the handling of the Syrian refugees crisis, the lack of governmental action in the case of missing aboriginal women, the recession, the issue of the Niqab, etc. Toward the end, it felt like a bubbling pan ready to overflow.
Needless to say, the elections were a much awaited event. I have rarely witnessed that much anticipation for anything. Politics and words of discontentment seemed to be on everyone’s lips. That and strategic voting.
Even my mother spoke of politics and made her way to the polls. I tell you, it was unheard of.
Many promises were made about many things – one of particular interest to me is the reform of the electoral system, which was promised both by the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party. Promises of overturning some decisions made by the previous party have also been made. And I know I will pay close attention to the promised public commission into missing aboriginal women.
When all is said and done, I am hopeful that Canada will be taken in a direction more in line with my values. This being said, I am aware that our new and very charismatic leader probably made a few promises he will not be able to keep. It is the very nature of politics. Parliamentarians enter their new functions with big ideas, not all of which can be accomplished within the restrictions inherent to managing something as big and complex as a government.
Still I am hoping that the new government will make Canadians proud. That it will no longer sacrifice the values we hold so dear. That we will no longer be asked what happened to us and reminded that we used to be the good guys.
But no matter who leads the government, I would like to remind my fellow Canadians that the people make the country, not the government. I take comfort in that and I refuse to let myself be defined by my government. Governments change – It is a wheel as old as Canada.
As long as the individuals in Canada have a good heart, I will be proud to call myself Canadian.