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November 7, 2012 | Viewpoints | Number 22

Canada enjoys world-wide respect and admiration

As a returning Canadian (having lived in the U.S. most of my adult life), I was very proud to read about Prime Minister Harper’s recent visit to the “Francophonie Summit” in Kinshasa, Congo. In his public summit speech, he left no doubt about the “complete unacceptability of the failures of the electoral process and the abuse of human rights that are taking place in this country.” No pussy-footing around, hiding behind diplomatic language. Harper is not known for “motional outbursts, so I think he got the message across. He also made no secret of meeting with opposition groups in the Congo while he was there.

Sometimes I wonder about Harper and why we need expensive fighter jets. On the whole, however, I think as a economic unit, a people and its leaders, Canada is enjoying world-wide respect and admiration. Some of us who live here lose perspective of this as we deal with our day-to-day lives.

We have gotten here, not through short-term fixes, but through long-term steady growth in our economic and political policies. Our banking system is the envy of the world. Canadian companies are growing everywhere, in spite of our strong dollar. We are doing a better job of managing our very abundant natural resources with local control of potash in Saskatchewan, with Ottawa saying “just a minute” on the Chinese investment in Alberta oil, and by pushing the north pacific pipeline for leverage with our large neighbour to the south.

Contrary to what’s going on in Europe, multi-culturalism is alive and well in Canada. We encourage everyone to bring their religion, their food, their music—as long as they never forget the democratic principles and laws this country was founded upon. Let’s not forget the freedoms and liberties that brought us here in the first place. A poignant memorial on Parliament Hill in Ottawa is a group of statues representing the Famous Five women who championed women’s right to vote in the 1920s. They were five very ordinary women who fought for equal rights all the way to the Privy Council in England.

Now, if we could only get this NHL thing straightened out!

Richard Penner, Calgary

Eight young adults not a broad consultation

Is it not a bit rich for Willard Metzger, Mennonite Church Canada executive director to plainly set the bar and state, “It didn’t seem to make sense to us to try and imagine what the future of the church will look like without including those who will be living out and leading (sic) that future reality,” when under his administrative authority MC Canada “invited eight young adults from across Canada”? And this the Canadian Mennonite (Oct. 15, 2012, page 35) headline underlines as “National church consults young adults”?

Kudos of biblical proportions and hope in the younger generation however for the writer’s sagacity in documenting the noted quote and adding one participant’s heartfelt chagrin that “other young adults were interested in attending, but space was limited and they weren’t sure how they could become involved”!

Eduard Hiebert, St. Francois Xavier, Man.

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As a participant in the conversation, I longed for something deeper, longer and with more young folks across Canada to join in over the weekend. Unfortunately the church is financially strained and it's hard to get us all in on such short notice. This for me was a great step forward, and I am excited about where the conversation will go. The group of us have an opportunity to have a follow-up conversation very soon again with Willard where I think the general concern that you share, will also be shared.

And for any of the readers out there who feel that this is a good thing and want more - I would suggest calling up MC Canada and suggest starting a travel fund to fly young adult voices in to meet and vision with church leaders.

Great idea, Ben! I will be calling MC Canada today with my encouragement to start this fund, and with my initial contribution.

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