I love people. No matter where they are from, what their background is, their race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class. I have strong personal convictions and am confident in them – but the foundation to my worldview is as the Son of God so eloquently said, “to love my neighbor, as myself,” no matter who my neighbor is.
I have taken a short hiatus from blogging about or being involved with the unfolding Western Separatist movement.
The main reason was because my business is booming and I am finding myself short of time to be able to relax and spend quality time with my wife, 3 daughters or the various non-profit organizations I volunteer with.
To me, this is what characterizes a true Albertan.
When the going gets tough, we get going but we do not lose sight of what matters most – family and community. We do it because like most Western Canadians, we are strong, resilient, independent people. We do not let circumstances beyond our control rule over us nor do we wait for some external force (or government) to bail us out. Rather, we first look for solutions to our problems ourselves because we know other people are counting on us.
What I love about Alberta is that unlike the coastal and Eastern region of Canada, there are few natural advantages to make life easy. The only thing that makes life in Alberta livable is Albertans. The people.
This is why I love people. The more I love, the more livable my life is.
(I am confident in saying this is a shared dynamic among all of us from interior British Columbia through to mid-Manitoba.)
Having lived most of my life all across this great province, I have come to realize that your ability to survive and thrive in Alberta hinges on your ability to integrate and form meaningful relations with the people around you.
I have been blessed in my life to have known many of the finest, most influential, and most successful people this province has ever produced. My father, the main among them. The overwhelmingly common denominator among them is that they knew how to connect with others and they are intentional to develop a character than can be counted on.
That really is what is so special about Western Canada as a whole. We will always foster an interconnected attitude, as opposed to the “Canadian” attitude of interdependence. Nothing can change this.
Interconnection means we are there for one another as individuals – being compassionate to one another’s failures and celebrating and recognizing one another’s successes.
Interdependence means we are equal to one another as a collective – collectively suffering in one another’s failures and collectively reaping the benefits of one another’s success.
In the West, we want one another to succeed and seek to emulate and learn from those who do. Elsewhere, in Canada, they want those who succeed to carry those who don’t.
It is an unworkable dichotomy.
Regardless of these differences, I still love all people.
This is, admittedly, another reason I’ve taken a pause from the Western Separatist movement (but am still an ardent Alberta separatist).
A lot of my fellow Westerners are frustrated, frightened, and angry. I understand and have the utmost sympathy for those who are struggling.
This is one of my prime motivations as a separatist. The people in the community I care about the most are suffering as a consequence of Canadian Federalism. Separation from Canada is the obvious long term solution to that problem.
However, in their frustration, fear, and anger, a lot of my fellow Westerners are gravitating towards hate. Towards anti-love.
I can feel the hate towards Rachel Notley, Justin Trudeau, Ontarians, Québécois, mainland Chinese money launderers in Richmond, Syrian refugees, Liberals, the LGBT community, Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and the list goes on and on.
Hate is infectious and, truth be told, over the past month or so, I’ve started to feel the temptation to hate those people as well. That has created a great deal of inner turmoil for me, as I said, the foundation of my worldview is to love everyone.
To be clear – I am not judging anyone.
I do not claim any of self-righteous moral superiority over anyone. I strive to love everyone, even and especially those who are in a tough situation that has robbed them of their hope, joy, and most importantly love. But I am just a flawed human, tempted like everyone else to succumb to the darker side of my emotions.
What I am saying, is that from a personal perspective, I know hatred and it’s accompanying emotions (fear, anger, frustration, angst, depression) cloud my sense of conscience, reason and judgement. The highest order mental functions and what I would consider the most noble aspects of my character start to shut down when there is a tinge of hatred in my mind.
This is another reasons I’ve recently taken a break from the Western Separatist cause (taking a break, but not giving up).
There are perfectly rational and logical reasons to support separatism. Economic, social, and political. The “99%” in Canada would benefit from the current confederation being abolished and every region starting fresh.
More importantly, there are universally advantageous ethical reasons for the break up of Canada. Perhaps the most important being that all of us in all the different regions of Canada would hate one another less (or not at all) if we were not bound together by the same yoke of broken Canadian Federalism.
Perhaps the greatest irony behind the whole situation is that the rational and ethical reasons for separatism are clouded by the anger and fear that Canadian Federalism unavoidably creates for ALL Canadians. The uniquely Canadian hatred that is consuming many Westerners is what is holding back the Western Separatist movement.
By design, being Canadian means not knowing, not caring about, even despising your fellow Canadian.
Being Canadian means hating the other Canadians who are thousands of kilometers away from you who, by virtue of geography and circumstance, will always think and act the exact opposite as you and tempt you into hating them or them hating you (even though neither of you are at fault).
It is this hatred that holds Canada together.
Love and universal brotherhood is what will break it apart.
I believe that is a truly revolutionary idea.