A letter writer asks Canadians to make a pledge to be open-minded and ready to learn more about their neighbours and their customs.

Singing the praises of a Canadian Christmas

Canada is a land of opportunity and fairness for everyone.

I was talking to one of my neighbours during my usual walk the other day. She had put up very nice decorations in front of her house for Christmas.

Though she is not a Christian, when I explored further, she explained that she and her family celebrate all festivals enthusiastically.

I was impressed with what she said. A brief conversation with her left me with a significant message, which I felt she conveyed in a simple and subtle way.

Canada – being a mosaic of different cultures and religions – has a unique significance. Canada is a wonderful country and a land of opportunity and fairness for everyone.

Canada is a young country and its people are peace-loving – although Canada has been dragged into wars in the past. During this Christmas and holiday season, let us wish for the best and work towards world peace, even though the world is in great turmoil, especially in the Middle East.

Slowly and steadily that turmoil is creeping into Europe as well. We as Canadians have a role to play to the best of our ability and resources to maintain harmony.

Canada’s leaders and diplomats should work tirelessly – not to promote misinformation, war mongering and hatred – but to  strive to restore unity. During this holiday season, let us celebrate and work towards harmony, love and cohesion. Canada is a distinct multi-racial, multicultural and multi-religious nation.

Regardless of one’s faith, religion, background and origin of ancestry, we should live as Canadians, love as Canadians and strive to maintain good will as Canadians. Above all, let us celebrate this Christmas as Canadians.

At left: Kalwant Singh Sahota

All of us immigrants who made Canada our home and chose to live here have a distinct and special responsibility to contribute;  to make ourselves proud to be part and parcel of this most beautiful country in the whole world. I salute the people who were here thousands of years before the Europeans set foot on this land as well.

A greeting is a greeting – it does not matter how we say it: Hello, bonjour, assalamualaikum, namaste, sat siri akal… to name a few. Let us make a pledge to be open-minded and ready to learn more every day about ourselves, about our neighbours and about new arrivals. Welcome them with open arms, help them to integrate into our system and into our society, and make them proud to be Canadians. This approach will give us inner peace, strength and a sense of pride and solace that we did our part.

During this holiday season, let us also pledge to convince our political leaders of all stripes to work towards improving the lives of our citizens, rather than getting entangled in the wars and conflicts which are smouldering all over the globe. Canada should play the role of a mediator and conflict solver instead of being active partners and compounding the conflicts.

We as Canadians should commit to shed ignorance, prejudice and hatred. Focus on harmony, love and mutual respect.

My neighbour made a meaningful point – in simple words and in a straightforward and pragmatic approach – to show respect and acceptance of true Canadian values when she said that she and her family celebrate all festivals. I wondered for a minute and imagined it includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Vaisakhi, Ramadan, Diwali and Halloween, to name a few. This is a far-sighted message from a true Canadian.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Kalwant Singh Sahota, Delta

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