By Ryan Hamilton
This is not the piece I originally intended to write. This was going to be a piece full of anger. It was going to be full of anger: anger at what has happened to our country, anger at what has happened to our world, anger at what has caused it, and anger for the six Canadians killed on Sunday. This was going to be a piece filled with hate, towards all those who spread hate.
The events of the past few days especially, but also the past years, have sapped my desire to write about anything but anger. Trying to write about hope and love seems naive and useless in a world so defined by the hate of others.
But eventually, the hate has to stop. What Quebec has shown us is that now is as good a time as any.
We Canadians have always felt protected from the rise of terrorism, populism, fear and all the other evils of the world. We have always been close to the evil, yet it rarely strikes us in the way that it strikes our allies. The past few days have shaken us from that sleep.
That is the true anger that I’m feeling. To quote Pierre Trudeau during the October Crisis, “Canadians have always assumed that it could not happen here and, as a result, we are doubly shocked that it has.” The true anger that I’m feeling is for a Canada that I have now begun to doubt.
When we look abroad and see people targeted for their race or religion, we think, not here.
When we look abroad and see innocents struck by the spectre of terror, we think, not here.
When we look abroad and see hate, racism, and intolerance, we think, not here.
And, when we look to ourselves last Sunday night, we think, we were wrong.
I have begun to doubt, yet I still have hope. I believe that Canada can be what we want it to be again. I know that Canada is better than what happened on Sunday, and I know that Canadians know that Canada is better than what happened on Sunday.
Today’s world is not a world that lends itself to optimism, nor a world that lends itself to hope. That is why it’s so important. When hope is in retreat, that is when it’s most important to protect it. Hope is not always easy, but it is always necessary.
Canada is one country, and we have been through worse. If we remain together, Canada will be the country that we think it will be. That is one thing that I do know. Canada will emerge from this more united, and we must preserve that unity. Those who look different from us are not our enemies, that is not the Canadian way.
A united Canada will triumph over all forms of evil.