Today is the day we pause to give thanks.
First, I’m thankful that in 1957, the Canadian government set aside the second Monday of October to acknowledge the “bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.”
Last month I visited the Institute for Global Solutions at Claremont Secondary School in Saanich, BC. It is an important program that engages 51 high school students who are ready to change the world. The class is preparing to take an 11-day adventure called Rails to Relevance. They will ride the train across the country seeking answers to a central question, what does it mean to be Canadian?
One of the students asked what being Canadian meant to me. I said, “Thankfulness.” As the Interim-Leader of the BC Green Party I have been deluged with the problems, the endless list of things we can do better. Sorting through the issues and seeking solutions is hard work and often troubling, but Thanksgiving reminds me that is okay to pause and acknowledge my blessings. We live in a good place.
Thanksgiving also makes me reflect on my responsibilities. Everything is not perfect in our cities, towns, villages, First Nations communities, province or country. There is a wide gap between the fortunes of peoples and places and that is not okay in a country with such great abundance. But I’m thinking simple today—about the things we all can do:
Be good to each other. Take care of our neighbours.
Look after the earth. We live with abundance. Don’t take it for granted.
Respect the future. Our inheritance is turning into our children’s burden.
Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to think about our privilege and remember that many people are less fortunate than we are both in this country and around the world. It’s a time we can also think of way we can improve our society, not with short-term political band-aids but with long-term solutions.
The leadership shown by the teachers and students at Claremont inspire me this Thanksgiving to renew my commitment to give a little more, take a little less and work a little harder to make the world a little better.