Last night in Quebec, four people were murdered in an attack on a mosque.
I... I'm so heartbroken.
This is not the Canada I fell in love with. The Canada I fell in love with is kind, warm, compassionate. They shovel your driveway after a big snowfall if they know you cannot. Their humour is understated; sly and sarcastic. Though not always. Sometimes it's extremely silly. They're open and honest.
But Canada is not without her problems or her prejudices. Just as any of her First Nations people.
Sunday night, the ugly underside of Canada, the one few ever want to even acknowledge exists, let alone address, reared it's ugly head.
Now people are dead.
Here's the thing, Canada, we cannot blame this on our southerly neighbours. This is on us. This blood stains our hands. Those deaths are our fault.
We need to acknowledge our darker side. We need to recognise that there is an undercurrent of xenophobia beneath Canada's pleasant exterior. We need to acknowledge it, and we need to resist it. When people use racist slurs, call them out. It is not acceptable. When people talk privately to you and they say racist things, call them out. It is not acceptable. Do not provide a safe space for them to speak their views. Their views are not legitimate. They are not acceptable. Make it known.
Sure, it might only be a few people causing this problem, but a few is a few too many. We need to stand up. We need to stand together. Or more people are going to die.
And that will be on us, too.
Do better, Canada. I know you are better than this.
Some things do give me hope. Here are a couple of quotes that lifted my heart following the murders in Quebec City:
“We are with you, you are at home, you are welcome at home, we are all Quebecers. Together, we must continue to build a society that’s open, welcoming and peaceful.”
- Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard
"We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge.
"On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of all those who have died, and we wish a speedy recovery to those who have been injured.
“While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.
“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country. Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance.
“Tonight, we grieve with the people of Ste-Foy and all Canadians.”
- Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada,
It's likely that my Monday live stream will be happening later than usual. I'll let you know via my various social media the hour before when that'll happen. Probably around 8:00pm or so.
So, Canada. We have a choice. It's a choice that never fades, even when you've made it. You must make it again and again.
That choice is what kind of country we want to be, what kind of people we want to be.
Choose well, Canada.
History will remember it.