There’s been uproar in Canada over what’s happening to our neighbours – the almighty and powerful United States of America. What their new president is doing is abhorrent and nonsensical and as my husband paraphrases Trudeau (Pierre, that is), “We’re the mouse beside the elephant.” However, it’s bothering me that many Canadians are taking an active interest in politics stateside while there are issues in our own country that need voices. Now.
The local Calgary news, my Facebook feed, Twitter and so on are full of anti-Trump rhetoric, calls for protest and moves to avoid the U.S. – all by Canadians. It’s valid to be upset by the megalomaniac living beside us and concerned for our American friends. But why not focus some of that energy on issues at home? Here are two major challenges Canadians should be speaking out about.
Some First Nations and Inuit communities are in the midst of a suicide crisis: it’s a catastrophe for Canada. An investigation done by The Toronto Star found the federal government has done little to help. Federal, provincial and territorial governments should be offering ongoing support or solutions – rather than simply reacting during emergencies. Say something about this, Canada.
Homelessness still exists in our country. According to The State of Homelessness in Canada 2016 (Stephen Gaetz, Erin Dej, Tim Richter, & Melanie Redman (2016): The State of Homelessness in Canada 2016. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.), 35,000 Canadians are homeless on a given night. 235,000 Canadians are homeless at some point every year.
These are men, women and children who are our neighbours. A national housing strategy could help end homelessness and one of the recommendations is for our government in Ottawa to adopt a national goal of ending homelessness with clear and measurable outcomes, milestones and criteria. Let’s make the call, Canada.
Of course there are issues beyond our borders that are important and require attention and immediate action. But a danger of turning our thoughts away from home is allowing a Trump-alike to sneak past us and into the lead of the federal Conservatives. If you’re wondering what I’m doing about the above concerns, ask me. If you’re Canadian and you raised your voice about Trump – raise your voice for Canadians too.