It has been a shocking and emotional week for all of us in Canada. I’m still working to process all that has happened in Ottawa with the shootings on Parliament and the tragic attack on Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Perhaps I will write down my thoughts on this horrible attack in the days to come but for now, I choose to remain positive, not to give in to fear or intimidation and I will focus on who we are as Canadians.
On Friday, October 24, 2014, I was honoured to be invited to take part in a roundtable discussion with Minister Kellie Leitch, MP Stella Ambler and Senator Yonah Martin alongside fellow leaders and advocates in Vancouver. We addressed many important concerns in Canada, with a specific focus on ending violence against women, mental health resources, economic development and encouraging women to run for political office.
Participants spanned many generations, ethnic and religious backgrounds; as I looked around the room I was so grateful for the vibrant mosaic of women that were represented and being heard. This is my Canada. We are not a perfect country but it is days like these that we step forward to becoming a better nation that values all voices and is constantly seeking to do its best to serve the people who live here with integrity and justice.
It is easy for people to criticize what they do not know and I want people to realize these roundtables take place all the time, all across the country and for all sectors of our government. As Canadians we have the right and the ability to speak directly with our elected leaders and it is a right that I encourage all of you to exercise. Whatever you believe in, whatever you are passionate or concerned about, you can be heard.
In a world where many women’s voices are withheld from public spheres, I am very thankful to live in a country where everyone’s voice has a place at the table and where our elected leaders actively seek out the thoughts, comments and ideas from the people. We are strongest when we work together and I am proud to raise my son in a country that lives out these values.