I’ve never been a nationalist, pedant or servitor to a cause. Even my efforts in activism usually stall when confronted with zealous ideologies. But I’ve never been more proud to be a Canadian.
I didn’t vote for Trudeau for his second term; I went NDP, which wasn’t the ideal choice but had at least some of the values in which I believed (and some of the zealotry I abhor). When Covid-19 hit, you could say that Justin and I were on the outs, at that point in the relationship where you say to yourself, “is this really working?” Even as the pandemic began unfurling its invisible tentacles across the globe, I was still finding fault with the man for his blackface-fiascos, to his not being protectionist enough—close the Goddamn borders already—to his chief medical officer cautioning against the use of face masks as they’d make people feel racially profiled and singled-out. First, this is a racist notion, since it presumes that the people would be wearing masks around Asian-Canadians, and therefore that those persons should feel subjected upon, scrutinized and marginalized. Second, a virus doesn’t give two shits for political correctness and neither should we (more on that in my latest v-log).
However, the true test of a person’s character is how they behave under pressure. Here, Justin Trudeau has revealed himself as strong, confident and capable of uniting a nation. Within a week, even while in self-isolation with his covid-positive wife, he and his cabinet managed to craft a series of bipartisan policies, tax breaks, credits and mortgage rules to forestall/ stymie the economic fallout and stress the pandemic had brought: a catastrophic domino effect of job loss, market contraction, businesses closing, rent and mortgage debt due. A disaster that we see unfolding in countries with less capable leadership. Canadians have been somewhat appeased during a truly unappeasable time with a “no questions asked” (for now, but if you scam the system they’ll catch you later) universal income, with breaks on their mortgages for homes and businesses, and with a competent, well-staffed universal health care system that so far is keeping up with the demand. One very telling stat that I tend to look at in the pandemic trackers is the rate of death to survival in each country’s “resolved” cases. So far, our ration has remained around 1: 10, which means that of all cases critical enough to require care, 90% are surviving. It’s a testament to our health care system, it’s a testament to our preparedness, and it makes me glowingly proud that I was born in a country that cares so well for its citizens.
Do I like Justin Trudeau? Not really, I still find him smug and overly pandering and virtuous. Though putting aside his personality quirks and lip-service, we should always ask ourselves: can this person lead? And the answer, emphatically, is yes. He can, he has, he will continue to do so for as long as we grant him leadership.
Moreover, he has earned my respect, which is a begrudging affectation to give and is separate from our feelings about an individual. He has earned my respect, and I’m cautiously optimistic about the outlook for our country in the hands of a government that knows how to unite and support its people. All sides of the aisle deserve accolades for their compassionate and quick decision making. All of us staying indoors, or working grueling “essential” service jobs (especially them) are deserving of our love and adulation, too. We are united. We are strong. We are Canadian.
I am so proud of who I am and of all of you.
All my love,