As we approach the end of summer here in Canada, for myself and many others, we have had a summer of relaxation and an opportunity to enjoy time with family and exploring new and exciting parts of our vast nation. My wife and I took a two-week driving vacation (over 4500km.) to visit the Gaspe, Quebec region and then to New Brunswick. The scenery and hospitality we experienced was a joy. One of our stops was to Campobello Island, which while being part of Canada is also accessible from Maine via a short bridge. This island was a long-time summer home for President Franklin Roosevelt and his family, and the family “cottage” is now a joint national exhibit operated by the combined governments of Canada and the USA. It is a truly lifetime example of how our two great nations have lived in a friendly cooperative manner for many years. I would encourage you to visit the island and FDR’s summer home.
This summer has once again experienced some very extreme weather due to wildfires, floods and tornadoes. I am always amazed at how my fellow Canadians come together to help one another when such emergencies occur. I know this is also true in the USA. All political and other differences seem to disappear in the face of an emergency or disaster!
I often wonder why we can’t act the same way when it comes to the issues of poverty, homelessness or discrimination. Why must some of us feel compelled to speak or take actions that can only hurt others or prevent every North American from enjoying our great nations and the opportunity to simply enjoy the benefits of living in a place that is democratic and open to helping our fellow citizens?
I believe all Vincentians have an obligation to live and share the basic values we all support and live. Perhaps this coming autumn season can be one during which we can commit to more actions and words that address the injustices that still exist. If you are not currently active in social justice, why not consider learning more about how you can make a difference regarding homelessness, poverty and systemic racism that may lead to solutions rather than short term efforts?
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is a Canadian Vincentian. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.
I respectfully acknowledge the traditional, unceded territories of the Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Metis and Inuit, on which lands we meet, work and live.