Well it is nearly the end of the year here on the West Coast and I am wondering, what will 2006 bring us all?
Will Stephen Harper be our next Prime Minister and take Canada from being unique and compassionate into being a clone of the USA or will thepersevere?
Guess for that we’ll have to wait till the 23rd but I wonder, what is it these days? I mean seriously, will 2006 bring us changes or will it simply be a re-hash of all that has gone on since the terror attack of 9/11?
I mean the world has changed drastically since the Terrorists attacked the USA and plunged us all into fear and panic. Gas Prices have gone up because of it, Mother Nature has been on a rampage last year and right now the 27th named tropical storm is twirling around in the Atlantic, beating the record by 6 the number of named storms in one single year.
So perhaps it is a time for reflection. I mean I know I have been short tempered more this year than before, I know even Dave has had the odd fits of just being mad, and I am wondering why?
You know there used to be a time when we would all go outside just before Midnight and mingle with the neighbours. We’d all be out there, glass in hand and when midnight came we’d wish everyone a Happy New Years, and now I wonder how many even know the name of their neighbours?
Funny how today when people talk about returning to old fashioned values, they say it with anger in their voices, with hatred even in their souls as they think because someone is different, someone is asking to be treated like anyone else, that it is an assault on their own values. Look south to the USA where the Patriot Act exists and is even more invasive than ever, that today we now have to wonder if a USA firm doing business up here is secretly passing on our personal information, not because they are evil, but because if they don’t they go to jail.
We have politicians fighting about money lost and sponsorship scandals when in the past the issue was the vision they had for a nation. I mean do you remember the debates of Trudeau and Clark? I do and Imiss them. I miss listening to Trudeau explaining with exasperation why it was essential to have a central government versus a US version of States Rights for the provinces.
I remember the argument even then of how Alberta and only Alberta should control its oil reserves under conservative Peter Lougheed, and today conservative Ralph Klein parrots the same tired old argument.
When did greed become our national vision?
To me, when I hear about old fashioned family values, it isnt about denying Gays & Lesbians the right to marraige, but instead it reminds me of parents sitting down each evening to help their children with homework. Of parents going to schools regularly to check up on their child and not leaving them home alone in front of a computer, television or video game.
For me, I recall family ethics where you helped people who had less than you and not just once a year, but throughout the year. You didn’t demand raises every 6 months and tell your boss that if they paid you more you would do the job you were hired for in the 1st place.
Guess I am truly an idealist because I want that again. I want to go out at midnight and wish my neighbours a Happy New Year, and by their name, not by some ‘hey you’ or anything. I want to see parents assume once more responsibility for their children by taking the time to sit with them, to know what they watch on Television, who their friends are. I want to see parents not blame the video game for their childs acting out or to rush for a new pill to give them because their kid is just that, a Kid.
It is a new year, and I wonder, will we be able to get beyond Madison Avenue and its barrage of buying SUV’s simply because that is what they are selling, or will we return to our roots where we buy things because we need them, not just because we want them.
Will the new year make us greedier or will we realize that if we want all people to be healthy, to be secure that we need to protect National Health for all, that being wealthier isn’t an entitlement to special treatment in health care or the courts? Will we have the courage to say to the egomaniacs who wish to lead that they should move to the States and let us be Canada, the real Canada where compassion for everyone is a priority?
Can we get past the smug news reporters who slant the news, and do little in informing us but instead are attempting to push their own personal agendas or the agendas of their advertisers?
Will we have the courage, the strength to see beyond the past to the future and remember that it is our obligation to leave this country in better shape than when we got it for not just the next generation, but for the next two or three generations that haven’t even yet been born?
I don’t know what the new year is going to bring me or Dave or mom either. She is 88 and still going strong but can that last? For me I pray it lasts for many more years, and I know that the love I have for Dave is even greater now than it was 10 years ago. I know on the 21st we celebrate our 1st legal anniversary and that is something to be proud of. But will it last or will people give in to fear and elect Harper who wants to take that away from us?
In less than 4 hours, a new year will be upon us. I know that for me, Dave, and Mom we are hoping to keep on going as we have. To try and keep our small corner of this world safe, happy, and enjoyable. Sure it would be nice to be rich, to not worry where the rent will come from next month or how to manage the increasing cost of Mom’s medications, but at least we aren’t like nearly 60 odd million Americans who have no such hope. They bank instead on not getting sick, and yet we too may soon face that prospect if our fellow Canadians lose sight of what Canada is, and always has been… a beacon of hope, a bastion of social awareness.
So as many of you may be celebrating the new year now, take a moment to reflect on things, to ask yourselves if somehow you cant find it in yourself to be more compassionate, more caring and less irritable, less demanding, less forgiving than you have. Ask yourselves as the new year approaches if you can’t perhaps truly help return to real old fashioned values, where people cared for others, simply because it was the right thing to do, not because it was financially beneficial. Ask youselves if you can’t afford to work smarter and deliver honest work for an honest wage. See if somehow you can’t remember that not everyone is as blessed as we all are for living in Canada.
Fear is terrible weapon and yet the enemies of our way of life seem quite at home in using it. They talk about how granting equal rights to a minority ruins their sacred marraiges and yet I wonder, how could that be? How can some nameless person in British Columbia living in legal harmony as well as spiritual harmony with their partner have any effect on their union? How can making distinctions between rich and poor give us all better health care? better education?
My New Year’s wish for everyone is that we are all granted the chance to do our own bit, to help in our own small corner of the country to return to true old fashioned values, where the state is not involved in what goes on in our bedrooms, that it is involved in providing a healthy lifestyle for all of us, that it doesn’t abandon the social fibre that made Canada the envy of the world, and if the truth be told, is still the envy of the world.
In 2 months the USA will be out of money unless their Congress approves an increase in the debt ceiling and yet in Canada we have a surplus. Yet if you listen to the Conservative andwe should be spending that money giving useless tax credits, turn more responsibility over to the provincial governments without regard for tomorrow. The pissed away 100 million dollars, but they took a 60 billion dollar deficit and turned it into over 8 years of surpluses now.
I hope that as the new year progresses that we return to values where our political leaders talked about a vision for the country, not who was evil or bad. I want to hear how they will enhance our country’s social programs, not rape them or dismantle them. I want to know that when all of us are long forgotten that those walking this land will still know how to read, how to write, how to add, and that when they sing O’Canada that it will be with pride just as I feel now when I hear it.
So from my family, from Dave my partner of 10 years in life, of barely 1 year in legal union, from my mother of 88 years and from me, a 50 year old idealist, may 2006 be a year we can all hold our heads up and be proud of, for in 2006 we put family, compassion, honor, charity, ahead of fear and hatred. That in 2006 we said to those who are jealous that Canada is not a nation just of toleration, but instead Canada is a nation of ACCEPTANCE, that as Prime Minister Martin put it, Canada is a nation of minorties living together in peace.
Happy New Years Everyone!