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Letter: Spread the love this Canada Day

May we all treat every person with honour and respect. Go ahead and throw in a little love too. It will make you feel so much better.
love Canada
'Our great, wondrous country needs each one of us to uphold the values, beliefs and behaviours that have made us the envy of the world.'

As we get ready to celebrate 155 years of confederation, it may be appropriate to look ahead to where we might be headed as a nation and do what we can to help maintain the values and beliefs that have made Canada special and Canadians the envy of people the world over.

I was born in India and chose to emigrate to Canada after living in England and evaluating a handful of countries—and am I glad I did.

In Canada I have enjoyed a life that has exceeded my wildest dreams. People all over Canada, yes from coast to coast to coast, have been really warm, welcoming and sharing.

Yes, they have shared the beauty of our country, business opportunities, and introduced me to sailing, skiing, the great outdoors and First Nations’ culture.

Lately, though, the genuine warm, welcoming friendliness of Canadians to all, including those different to them, has changed.

A malaise drifting north from our neighbours to the south?

Let me give you a couple of examples:

Last February while in the line for the Harmony Express, a guy behind me, who I had never met, said “Hey do you want to go?”

I turned around and asked “go where?” He said fight. I looked at this 20-something and suggested he better first fight with his grandfather because he would probably be younger than me.

In Mountain Square, around two in the afternoon, on a May long weekend, a few years ago when I was 75, I asked two RCMP officers how they were and if they were having a pleasant time in Whistler.

Their response? We want to see your ID.

How many white 75-year-olds, sober, properly attired, speaking civilly to the police have been carded?

Yes, I did produce my card despite my reluctance, as their altered stance and their demeanor had gotten more threatening.

The officers, yes, there were two of them, refused to give me their “business card.”

Surely every person the police stop should receive a card with the reason why they were stopped, the date, time and the officer’s name and ID.

Furthermore, the incident, recorded by those with body cams, should be available for public viewing on the police website.

This should reduce the harassment of First Nations’ people, non-whites and those that, according to the police, do not conform to their norms. We must at all costs avoid a future as depicted in a PBS documentary “Driving while Black.”

Oh yes, like many others, I have been told to “go home.”

Fortunately, Canada has given me a home that I built.

Our great, wondrous country needs each one of us to uphold the values, beliefs and behaviours that have made us the envy of the world.

May we all treat every person with honour and respect. Go ahead and throw in a little love too. It will make you feel so much better.

Happy Canada Day!

Keith Fernandes // Vancouver and Whistler