Carol Goar has an interesting column in today's Toronto Star. She writes that this election has held a mirror up to us and forced us to face some hard truths -- some good, some not so good. Among the not so good is the notion that our fabled tolerance is a myth:
If the polls are right, eight out of 10 Canadians find it “offensive” that a few Muslim women wear niqabs when they take the oath of citizenship. Have these people ever attended a citizenship ceremony? Have they ever spoken to a woman who wears a niqab? Are they affected in any way by what Muslim women wear?
Casting judgment on minorities has somehow become acceptable in Canada. How did we let this happen? Why aren’t we standing up to the perpetrators?
On the other hand:
Our humanitarian instincts remain strong. We entreated Ottawa to welcome Syrian refugees the same way Canada took in 37,000 Hungarian refugees in the 1950s, 7,000 Ugandan refugees in the 1970s and 60,000 Vietnamese refugees in the 1980s. When the governing Conservatives did not rise to the challenge, we rolled up our own sleeves and worked through our churches, community groups, service clubs, schools and universities to sponsor refugees privately.
And, when our federal government refuses to recognize our humanitarian instincts, we act on our own:
We’re becoming a do-it-yourself nation. We organize, fundraise and volunteer to sponsor refugees, protect the environment and provide relief to people in natural and man-made disasters. We no longer look to Ottawa as the guardian of medicare. It’s up to us. We no longer expect our national government to set pan-Canadian standards or build public consensus. We do what we can ourselves.
How will this effect Monday's vote count? It's hard to say. But it appears that, while Stephen Harper has changed this country for the worse, we have seen the man for who and what he is.