22 February 2017

What A Canadian Looks Like #whatacanadianlookslike

I live in a tiny little town in the Kawartha Lakes, a beautiful picturesque place filled with shimmering lakes, hence the name. It is a truly amazing and beautiful place to live and I did truly love it until yesterday. In my travels in the past I have always heard rumblings of racism and xenophobia here but it was always nothing more than that which an empath like me would pick up on, not something openly expressed....not in years, not in cottage country, not in Canada......not true anymore.

I have been in this town since I was 9 years old, we started off as cottagers, living in downtown Toronto and making the weekend trek up here. I was a kid and I loved it, it meant swimming and gardening and hanging out with my dad all weekend, ending the long summer days with fishing in the aluminum boat, just him and I....happiest moments in my life.....Toronto was different back then our parents dealt with racism daily so they stayed within their little communities for socializing and as much work as possible, but within us kids there really was no racism, there was the odd bully that would have ideas of calling us names.....dirty porkchop was a favourite but otherwise the rest of us simply all played together....even then I could not keep my mouth shut, when someone is having their rights trampled on, or someone is hurting another in any way even if the are not there in their presence I have never been able to not speak up for the rights of others....that earned me other names as a child, marshmallow (my name was Melo then), Mother Teresa and of course dirty rotten porkchop was ever present. You would think it would have made me be introverted, quiet, shy and unable to speak up but no for me it always had the opposite effect my mouth got larger when it was to defend others. This town it was safe though, I went places with my dad, the old Co-Op was a favourite with all the seeds and farmers in and out, sometimes they even had animals and everyone was always so great, friendly and kind to us.....I loved it here as a kid, I grew up here, I got married here, bad things happened to me here but never by the people of the town, when my kids were young we finally moved here and now have lived here for almost 17 years.....I left for a bit but my heart remained and I came back.......and this year I celebrate a 40 year history in this town....and it took till this year for my love for this town to really take a hit. 

Yesterday it was a long day, I drove 3 hours each way to go and get some health news, more poisons to feed my body and then back home, it makes for a long day, yesterday I made it back to town by 3:30 I was amazed thinking it was my lucky day that now I could make it to the mail to finally mail out that box that I have for my sister out in Calgary.....dropped my eldest son off at the pharmacy in town to pick up the poisons and off my seven yr old and I went....again getting there I thought it was my lucky day there was only one person in line, I always feel so bad making people wait when I send packages, no worries today. I walked into a conversation that was already going on, about a local person that I knew already didn't start well for me, but I went up to the counter to a familiar and friendly face behind it.....the conversation between the man and the other employee of the Post Office ~ oh yes this was in a Canada Post location ~ their conversation turned to security measures at the airport, to then he brought up a current bill in the House of Commons here that prohibits Islamophobia, in light of the recent attack in the Quebec Mosque they introduced this bill....let's really think about what that means Islamophobia, a phobia is an irrational fear of something, so Canada saying collectively that they do not support an irrational fear of Islam is what it really means, but not to these two, no to these two it means that somehow they are trying to pass Sharia Law.....it started with me saying that is not true, I looked at the employee the one engaged in this conversation with this man spreading ignorant, hateful, untruths so openly and told her you should not be allowing this to happen in a Federal building. This was met with more hate but directed at me, as he kept going with his tirade on Islam, I asked what he actually knew about it, he knew enough....the employee of the Post Office said I don't care as long as they don't make me have to learn about it, so I asked her but it's ok that I am a Pagan and I have to learn about your Christian values? she had no response but this of course piqued the man's interest because then he took a good look at me and asked me what I was,

"What are you? you don't look Canadian." yep there it was......

I told him I was just as Canadian as he was and in case he didn't realize it was a country built on multiculturalism that means I am just as Canadian as anyone else......this made me look at the employee again and tell her that now she was allowing me to be racially attacked as he continued his tirade at me as I was speaking to the employee, I was called a dirty rotten liberal, a fucken liberal and he leaned in to me and told me we would lose in 2019, as he finally listened to the one employee that was helping me with my post and had asked him 4 times to leave.....he left and I was left standing there shaking, angry and upset......with two employees of Canada Post, one who was apologetic and tried everything within her power to make me feel safe and the other that had encouraged first the conversation, standing in her uniform, behind a Federal counter in a Federal building paid for in part by my taxes and every other Canadians and residents of Canada and she had just allowed and ENCOURAGED this to happen to me a fellow Canadian......she defended him as it being just an exchange of opinions, harmless like as she said all the other opinions they hear in there.....I told her she had just allowed hate speech, racism and xenophobia in what should be a safe space for all residents of Canada to enter into, it should be a safe space for everyone residents or not.....her response to me was to walk up to the one that was helping me and tell her "Good Luck with this one, I am out of here" as she walked out I told her this won't die here, I will report this to Canada Post, this should never ever happen in a Federal building by a Federal employee......I asked the kind woman that was still helping me for pertinent information for my complaint she provided it, she tried to calm me and I asked her 

"When was the last time you faced racism directed at you?" she answered me honestly with "never"

I thanked her and turned around another woman had at some point come into the room, I am not sure when but what I do know is when I turned around and looked at her she could only look down.....it was a sad moment......my son who had done what he does when he is upset had tried to get me focus on bubble wrap his most favorite thing, but even though I hoped he wouldn't be uspet by what he witnessed, he started with his methods to decompress, deal with stress in the van, with Aspergers it is difficult for him to process ugliness, especially directed at his mother. I picked up my other son and drove out of town pulled over on the highway, handed my phone to my son and asked him to get Canada Post on the line for me, he asked me why and a little voice said from the back "a lady and a guy were really mean to mom at the Post Office"......he got someone on the line and I just cried my eyes out to the lady that answered, I told her I was so upset....I went through it all, she told me how sorry she was and that please understand that Canada Post does not condone this behaviour, she thanked me for my courage to stand up for others, she told me literally to "Rock on" to go home and give myself some self care and that they will handle this they will not just sweep it under the rug....I told her I was going to write this, I was going to make sure that at least in my town I am not going to sweep this shit under the rug, pretend its ok or that it is just someone else's harmless opinion, IT IS NOT AN OPINION it is HATE, RACISM and XENOPHOBIA and it does not stand in my Canada!

I was a mess, I cried to my husband, my friends and my kids, my daughter from Timeless Attic Craft started a post that I am so proud of #whatacanadianlookslike
this is me I am a Canadian and this is what I look like! Join my daughter and share what you look like as a Canadian on social media....let's show everyone that Canadians we come in all ways so let's be proud of that and make sure that we support each other and not allow those that think now is the time to let hate take over our country that NO WE DO NOT SUPPORT HATE! 

DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH!

5 comments:

  1. I hurt so deeply for you. And I'm sorry that 45 is causing and encouraging this type of behavior all over the world. Thank you for standing up for those who are fearful to do so, thank you for being you and thank you for being a voice when others would hide. I love you!

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  2. Sending you much love!!������

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  3. I am so sorry for what you experienced. I had the same thing happen in a post office 25 years ago. My son was with me, too. Stand strong baby girl.

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  4. Thank you for standing up for diversity. Yes, I agree Diversity is our Strength whether Canadian, US Citizen, Mexican, or any other. You are a shining example of the true Spiritual Warrior, a beacon of hope. Standing together, walking our walk, maintaining our own boundaries. With outstretched hand I take yours and stand with you!

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  5. I totally understand your grief and trauma. It's shocking, especially when you thought you had found a haven where you felt reasonably safe.
    I've faced this kind of nastiness almost every day of my life, here in the US, but I thought it was different in Canada. I thought it was better. I'm so sorry that the poison building up here is spreading, and making it seem acceptable to the bigots in your part of the world too. Now that we have a monster in power, all the bullies feel like they can rear their ugly heads and get away with showing their true natures.
    Let's never surrender to the hatred, no matter where we are.
    Blessed Be.

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