A Land of Multiplicities, Jamming, 30/06/2016

I’m sorry there was no update yesterday, but I was ludicrously sick. Having bludgeoned this cold mostly out of me within a day, however, I’ve gotten back to some work.

My most urgent business is preparing for my workshop that I’m giving for the New Democratic Party next Saturday. The time will be 12.30 in the afternoon, and the place will be under the big tree just a few steps away from the corner of Kipling and Lakeshore, in Colonel Sam Smith park.

It's sort of a coincidence, but there can be quite a
significance for our environmental conscience and
awareness that our national symbol is a tree leaf.
I want to host all of these workshops in parks.

Because I’ve taken a lead in hosting discussions of the LEAP Manifesto. Being Vice-President of my district association, I have a little cachet to do this sort of thing. It’s one way that I can have a direct voice in the environmentalist movement of Canada. 

The LEAPing Beyond* workshops are putting into practice the theory of Ecology, Ethics, and the Future of Humanity. My ultimate goal is to lead a conversation across several different electoral districts in Toronto, where participants explore together Toronto’s key ecological networks and relationships.

* Is the title a little too much? I feel like it could be a bit much.

As I assembled my notes for the discussion this afternoon, I thought about what workshops like these would produce all across the country. If you described the most important ecological issues of any group of random electoral districts, it would sound as though they were totally different nations.

Canada is large enough that it has an incredible range of diversity – geographical, ecological, and cultural. That wonderful diversity and size** genuinely makes me proud to be a Canadian. As a Canadian citizen, I have a responsibility to do what I can to protect all these physical and cultural ecologies, and help them all thrive.

** I’m about to sound corny as all hell.

Within a single country – with just as contingent a history and creation as any other – we have such a remarkable multiplicity. Maritime, mountains, tundra, the rocky shield, fertile farmland, dense forests, and sublime prairie. 

The most intense multiplicity of the country is cultural, though. There’s so much wealth and beauty in the interaction of literally hundreds of cultures from around the world in our major cities. Unlike in a lot of other multicultural cities, neighbourhoods are less segregated by ethnicity, so we all interact more often than in lands with more stark separations between cultures and ethnicities.

Canadian identity over the last few decades has drifted
away from a ground in ethnic heritage. Right now, what
makes our identity is indeterminate, mostly to do with a
general ethical attitude. It means the time to begin
building a literally new society is now.
I remember a friend of mine once reflecting that Canada wasn’t even really a country, because it didn’t have a single, unified vision of its own nationhood. There was no pure Canadian race.***

*** Before you ask me about indigenous people, how about I remind you that there are more than 100 distinct nations of people indigenous to Canada. And when we heal the damage we've done to our indigenous people in the name of nationalism and racism, we'll have brought real utopia to the country.

But that’s no reason not to call Canada a real country. Maybe by 19th or 20th century concepts of what a country should be. But we know the kind of violence nationalism and visions of racial purity get you.

That comes down to another reason I’m proud to be Canadian. Because we’re a single country that contains such vast multiplicity, and we don’t lie to ourselves about that anymore, we have the remarkable opportunity to build a new conception of country that goes beyond nationalism.

In that sense, Canada can literally become a beacon for a new concept of country. We can be a leader in overcoming the exclusionary nationalism / racism that’s torn our species apart for centuries. 

And we’re still early enough in the process that we’re still figuring out what that new concept will be. A process I’m glad to join, and push in a direction of progress, prosperity, and peace.

Happy Canada Day, everyone.

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