Today, sitting at the brown picnic tables in our school's lunch area, some teachers were talking about being engaged citizens, specifically, our roles as educators. One of my colleagues, Andre Boutin-Maloney, added his gentle, yet passionate, voice to the conversation; I asked Andre if he would email me a line or two from his contribution to our discussion for my blog.
Here are Andre's thoughts:
"From its founding – Canada exists because of an act of will of its multiple founding people (English, French, First Nations, Metis, etc.) to build a gentle and ordered society. Canada is a model for the world – not merely for the acceptance of our differences – but because of our celebration of them.
"Where I live, it’s not uncommon to overhear people say things like “The French in Quebec want to separate, will they ever be satisfied? – maybe they should just leave!” or “Will the issues with treaties ever end?” I don’t know the answer to these questions, but as odd as it may sound… I honestly believe that’s a major part of what being Canadian is to me. We’re not perfect, no marriage ever is – there is always going to be hard work. When you believe in something though, you’re willing to work at it. These issues don’t just go away – they’re the push and pull – the give and take that define us as Canadian.
"I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to have a French background. I am proud to have an immigrant wife and children of mixed decent. I don’t always know where I stand on treaty rights, or on French nationalism – these issues tend to get too muddled up in economics or politics for a simple person like myself – I just speak from my heart and this is more about social justice. It is about understanding and supporting the voices of our partners that are saying “there is still work to be done.” In this sense, how can I not support these voices? To do nothing is to deny my own identity."