I am Canadian. It’s a beautiful privilege to be a member of this vast country and I recently grew to understand that it comes with a huge responsibility. The task is this – to help make our community a better place for our children.
Where I stumbled for many years is my interpretation of community. To me, community was where I grew up, where I used a skipping rope for the first time and delivered the local newspaper. When you consider your community to be contained within a short distance of familiar street signs, making a positive impact is still no small feat, but manageable.
However, as I matured as a person, my understanding of community grew. Early on, I still had the limited belief that my community was the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. With more awareness, my belief of community grew to include all of Cape Breton. Then I read the One Nova Scotia report, and my important task grew again. I understood that I urgently needed to be a part of a solution that benefitted all of Nova Scotia.
When I had the fortune of being a member of the 2015 Governor General of Canada Leadership Conference, my understanding took a monumental leap. Following an aggressive research tour across the southern portion of Ontario by bus with 16 fascinating fellow conference-goers, my community grew. On that bus, through extensive information sharing and deep insights, my new family of impressive Canadians gave me the greatest gift of all – the understanding that my community is Canada.
Before I move on to the knowledge that my community spans North America and the globe, I’m getting comfortable with my current challenge. Never again will I limit my view of community and confine my contribution. Our children in British Columbia are as important as our children in Newfoundland. When we work together, we all benefit. I can do better and will do better.
Happy Canada Day.