Love is stronger than hate

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - OPINION -

Jag­meet Singh, the newly elected leader of the fed­eral NDP, cre­ated head­lines by bat­tling racism with love. When a heck­ler goaded him with an­tiIs­lamic lies, he coun­tered with, “Love and courage.”

“We be­lieve in an in­clu­sive Canada where no one is left be­hind. We be­lieve in all di­ver­sity. We don’t want to be in­tim­i­dated by hate…

He ad­dressed the pro­tester, “We love you and sup­port you. We all be­lieve in your rights.”

He as­sured sup­port­ers at the Bramp­ton meet­ing: “You know, grow­ing up as a brown-skinned, tur­baned, bearded man, I’ve faced things like this be­fore. It’s not a prob­lem, we can deal with it.”

The rise of overt racism in the United States con­trasts with Singh’s mes­sage of love. Canada seeks to be a com­pas­sion­ate so­ci­ety.

Our of­fi­cial pol­icy of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism rec­og­nizes the strengths of our in­dige­nous cul­tures and those that have ar­rived in Canada from around the globe.

Rather than a “big­ger is bet­ter,” or a “me first” at­ti­tude, most Cana­di­ans pre­fer to smooth over dif­fer­ences. Our at­ti­tude tends to be, “We’re all in this to­gether, so let’s make the best of it.”

I think the sever­ity of Cana­dian win­ters is re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing us to­gether in the face of ad­ver­sity. We stop to help push a car out a snow­drift. We spend a lot of time talk­ing about the weather be­cause it holds the power of life and death over us.

I see two ma­jor rea­sons that a cul­ture of love and ac­cep­tance is spread through­out our frozen na­tion. One is CBC Ra­dio, reach­ing Cana­di­ans from coast to coast to coast with news, sto­ries and in­ter­views that re­flect the di­ver­sity of our vast coun­try. The other ma­jor pos­i­tive force for com­pas­sion is the pub­lic school sys­tem. From Kinder­garten up, Cana­dian stu­dents are taught that love is stronger than hate. They learn how to take care of each other. They learn the skills of mak­ing friends with “the new kid.”

Jag­meet Singh is the first vis­i­ble mi­nor­ity per­son to lead a fed­eral po­lit­i­cal party. In the man­ner in which he han­dled a heck­ler he has shown us how to take the higher moral ground. He could have sim­ply coun­tered the heck­ler’s state­ments about Sharia law by telling her that he is Sikh. But Singh doesn’t want to pit one group against an­other.

In a later in­ter­view he said: “I’m fa­mil­iar with racism. It’s some­thing that I’ve faced be­cause of my iden­tity,” he said. “My mom al­ways taught me that we’re all one and we’re all con­nected. And to see that con­nec­tion, that shared con­nec­tion in all peo­ple.”

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