I am Canadian. I’m not A Canadian or THE Canadian. I am Canadian, in the same way I am brown-eyed and I am right-handed. I am Canadian. I take great pride in this attribute, not in the sense that being Canadian makes me superior to any other, though it certainly makes me more fortunate than many. What is it about being Canadian that gives me an identity to stand tall in?
Certainly being Canadian is our sense of acting in a role of a peacekeeping nation, though that seems to have taken on a different tone as of late. Being Canadian is our health-care system that strives to care for all Canadians evenly and swiftly, allowing us the confidence to seek out medical assistance without worry of the cost. The system isn’t perfect but it is envied and copied. Being Canadian is our sense of standing with our neighbours who most likely will be of every colour and creed and we belong together, fit nicely in beside one another. The recent community support of a mosque in Alberta, a mosque targeted by a few desperately distraught and not thinking clearly individuals, and I was grateful for the sense of fair play and respect that these community members displayed while cleaning up some very disrespectful graffiti. Being Canadian is our ability to handle violent madness and terrorism without giving the power and attention to those who try to strike us down. Being Canadian is our not being Hollywood, but instead we are real and grateful and perhaps thankful to a fault, which can never really be a fault as faults go.
We don’t always get it right, no community does, no society is without flaws and errors in judgment, but we care about getting it right. As a Canadian I can wear just about any uniform and belong, but the uniform I love to wear, perhaps used to love to wear, was my beloved CBC Radio. It has been the CBC Radio that I have held up as my flag of being Canadian, taking great pride in the institution of it, of its example of inclusion and fair play. I learn something every single time I tune in to CBC while it shines the light in happy celebration and in the dark hard to see corners. I felt proud and I fluffed up my feathers when I listened and I felt a connection to all I have yet to learn as I tromp down this path of getting older. I claimed CBC as my own, have claimed it as my own since I was very young.
CBC Radio was Peter Gzowski and Barbara Frum and Kevin Sylvester and Bill Richardson and Anna Maria Tremonti and the countless voices that came into our homes and cars and offices, voices that we trusted and leaned on and voices we came to consider friends though we had never met. And for me, CBC Radio has been Jian Ghomeshi, whose voice I trusted, whose skill as an interviewer made me proud, whose intelligence and enthusiasm for getting to the heart of what matters and whose commitment to being Canadian earned my trust and faith.
Now I feel a bit lost, a bit adrift on the global sea, without my Canadian anchor, having had it cut from its rope, and I am reminded that having heroes is a tricky business, though sometimes we can’t help ourselves in our search to lift ourselves up.
The evidence is mounting that casts a very dark shadow on my beloved CBC, on management who let the actions of who they considered their elite mistreat and abuse those they should have protected, certainly have cared for with equal responsibility.
I have been compelled to lean into the complaint that CBC has been a group of elitists not interested in serving the common among us. I consider myself common, ordinary even as long as I am doing an extraordinary job at being ordinary, being the best version of myself. I have winced and felt anger at the what feels like constant attack of conservative higher-ups on how CBC does its job and what funding it can rely on to do the very job that we need it to do: objective reporting on all issues that are Canadian.
Read Linden MacIntyre’s essay in the Huffington Post. You will be better for it.
I am a nostalgic fool; I can make no apologies. Is there a way to recapture the magic of CBC that the will calm the worries of this nostalgic fool?