Where, when and how did Canada go missing? If you know where it is, please return it and no questions will be asked. I just want Canada at home safe and sound.
A reward of a pallet of maple syrup, a bundle of hockey sticks and a Barenaked Ladies’ box set will be given to anyone with information leading to the recovery of Canada. Again, this is an anonymous process.
Where has Canada gone? My Canada is a kind, peacemaking, polite and inclusive place. The COVID-19 pandemic and falling dominos of subsequent events have pointed us into the “I’m right and you are wrong” icy ideological terrain which, I find, disturbingly un-Canadian.
People feel they own an absolute truth, which justifies rude behaviour and even violence to defend their self-righteous position.
I love the Canada that would say sorry for apologizing excessively. I want it back and it is my belief, in a collective sense, most everyone else does, as well.
I started my search in the obvious place, wading into the vast digital landscape of information and its psychopathic twin: misinformation. The tiny and fascinating world of subatomic particles known as quantum physics seemed as good as any starting point. The behaviour and makeup of all matter and energy and building blocks of nature might provide a clue or two.
Right away, I bumped into wave-particle duality and I sensed this is a good trailhead to start the search for my kinder Canada. The argument, whether light is made up of a wave or particle, was the source of a longtime disagreement in science. It turns out the answer to the question is yes, light can be both a wave and a particle. Everyone was right, it turns out, two truths can exist at the same time; the duality of everything.
The knowledge of wave-particle duality reminded me of Canada itself in the sense that it’s made up of many beliefs existing simultaneously.
When I was young, we were taught that Canada was made up of two separate solitudes: French and English. The school system of the 1970s neglected to mention the more than 50 Indigenous nations and 50 languages that existed before the French and English even thought about leaving France and England.
Still, there is space for more than one position to be true at the same time and no one is absolutely right or wrong.
Multiple truths, like multiple nations, can exist at the same time within one polite, peaceful Canada.
Once you believe in something as an absolute truth, you exclude yourself from any opposing beliefs and give up your freedom of thought in the process.
For me, a red flag pops up when a group, religious, political or whatever, claims to have a monopoly on truth. It is very un-Canadian.
The uncertainty of the pandemic has created conditions of uncharacteristic meanness and intolerance which can happen when fear thickens the air.
The pandemic will eventually be over and a new society will emerge. Until then, be nice. It is the Canada we all live in.
Robert Skender is a qathet region freelance writer and health commentator.