It’s Canada Day as I write this. And I am a proud Canadian.
I’m proud of how Canadians love their communities, proud of how we take care of each other, proud of how we care for one another in a crisis. The flooding in Alberta over the past couple of weeks has been a fine example of this.
We live in a country where people have the opportunity to engage, to connect with their community, to speak their mind. In Canada, we are free to disagree and in contrast to much of today’s global political climate, that’s quite a privilege.
Even looking next door to our great big neighbour to the south, it’s getting more difficult to feel free to disagree without risking aggression, hostility or worse. As I watch the United States become more and more polarized, I am grateful for Canada’s ability to look at both sides of an issue and search for the common ground in between.
Now, I’m not saying that this rosy view of respected, dissenting opinions and easy collaboration is always present in Canada (it’s particularly absent in Ottawa these days), but more often than not, it’s our go-to approach to problem solving.
A healthy society is rarely fostered by people fighting for what they believe is the only right path, when too often, what they are defending is a narrow divergent road that leads us further apart.
Because the way forward is usually best served by finding the path that is somewhere in the middle. That path may have a few rough patches and isn’t perfectly paved, but it’s often one that can accommodate everyone with enough productive and collaborative input.
So following this Canada Day, think about the path that lays ahead in your community. Is it one that everyone can walk down? And if it’s not, how can you make the path more welcoming? Invite everyone in your community to be part of forging the path to a happier, healthier, sustainable future. And then walk that path together. That’s what being Canadian means to me.
Maureen Douglas, CPF-IAF, is usually in this weekly space. Mo writes, consults and speaks about the power of positive public, workplace and team engagement. Click here for Mo’s FREE e-Guide to Better Public Engagement. Follow her on Twitter.