Letter: Canada rightly celebrates our differences


I agree with Paul Corcoran’s letter of Dec. 10 (‘Diversity is our strength’).

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There are three experiments in democracy within North America.

I can’t speak to the Mexican experiment as I have no first-hand experience with it.

To the American experiment, I can speak with intimate knowledge as I have lived more of my life in the U.S. (40 years) than I have in Canada.

I went to the United States in 1968, joined the Army, became a Green Beret and served in Vietnam. I married a woman while attending Michigan State University and stayed in Michigan for nearly 40 years.

In many ways, I love the U.S. — or, more to the point, I love my family and friends who reside there.

In the U.S., they like to say they are a melting pot. That’s fine, but what most people mean is that when you reach into that pot, you come out with something resembling Dick Van Dyke.

No offence to him as I am sure he is a fine man, but no longer do old, white males represent the majority.

I came home to Canada for a very specific reason — Canada celebrates our differences and the ties that bind us together as human beings.

The breaking point came for me in 2008 while campaigning in Michigan for Barack Obama.

I can’t recall how many times we (two canvassers) had the door slammed in our faces with the accompanying remark that they would never vote for that (insert racial slur here).

The town, St. Joseph, was all-white, across the river from Benton Harbor, which is all-black.

For me, it was the end.

My best buddy in Vietnam was an African-American from the south Bronx in New York City. He saved my life twice and I wouldn’t be here without him.

What makes Canada home for me is that it doesn’t call itself a melting pot.

Instead, it is home because it asks its citizens to accept and, indeed, celebrate our differences, be they religious, cultural, economic, ethnic or racial.

I want to live in the one country in North America where government and the people accept each other for who we are.

I want to celebrate that this is for what my country stands.

Doug Prentice


© Kamloops This Week


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