A wonderful country

Coming back from the cottage we stopped at a restaurant for ice cream. To kill time while the kids were eating, I picked up one of the papers. It had an article about a Muslim actress who, after becoming famous in her own country, had come at the the west and appeared in public bare-headed. Her home country was ruled by a religious group that had been duly-elected, according to the rules of that country, and never voted out. They’re calling her all sorts of uncomplimentary things. She thinks she may not be able to go home.

Today I voted. There were women there in headscarves. There was a man who was missing arm. It was in the basement of a Lutheran church. There were lines all throughout the city: at the fire station, a grade school, and the recreation centre.

No one told me I could not vote because I was female, because I was the wrong age, because I was not of the right religion, because I did not express my religion in an approved manner, because I did not have enough education, or because I could not do the job they assigned. All I needed was to have told them where I live and confirm my citizenship before the deadline, and the identification I always carry in my wallet.

I’m grateful to be a Canadian.

This summer at up the family reunion, my 10 year old son got to stay up late and listen to the old geezers talking. They talked about politics. He heard Grandpa and his brothers say this politicians a liar, and that one made some good but tough decisions, and this one couldn’t find…. The only thing they agreed on was that cousin Liz should organize the food again next year.

This weekend we had the cottage neighbours over. We discussed the election, in a vague and non-offensive sort of way. Oma said she didn’t understand the carbon tax. My son had been chosen to represent the Liberal party at the school debates, and explained the tax to her. I don’t think she understood it, but at least he was paying attention in class. I asked him later who he’d vote for and why, and he gave me a clear, reasoned, forward-thinking answer, that showed he had looked at more than the Liberal platform.

Eight years from now, when he votes for the first time, I’ll be even more grateful to be a Canadian.

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