I am very proud to be Canadian.
I proudly display my Canadian flag on the outside of my pack when I travel. I am happy to tell people where I am from and encourage them to visit Canada because I believe it is a great place everyone should see. I am Canadian, totally.
However, there was one moment a few years ago while I was living in Oslo, Norway that made me feel ashamed of my Canadian citizenship and the decisions that my country made on my behalf.
While attending the International Summer School at the University of Oslo (a gathering of hundreds of people from nearly 100 different countries for 6 weeks of international learning), I was sitting at a cafeteria table for lunch with another Canadian, a Brit, a Russian, an Italian, two Americans, and 3 women from Palestine.
At one point, the Palestinian women were asked how they felt after the recent UN vote to formally recognize Palestine, and they expressed some of their excitements, but then mentioned some of their disappointments with the fact that not every country voted to recognize Palestine as a country.
And here is where my embarrassment came in.
Canada, represented by our foreign minister John Baird, was one of only 9 countries to vote against recognizing Palestine in the UN.
The other 8 joining Canada in voting no? Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, Israel, and the United States.
It is a decision I strongly disagree with now as much as I did when it happened in 2012. That decision in 2012 even inspired me to write a paper for one of my Sociology classes about the historically unfair and unlawful subjugation of Palestine by Israel and the Western powers.
Then recently, 2.5 years after voting to deny Palestine the right to be recognized as a legitimate country, John Baird went to visit Israel where he further condemned Palestine.
My anger and disgust towards the actions of my federal government were rising.
But then this happened last week…
And it got even better…
I don’t want to say he had it coming, but when you deny legitimacy to an entire nation, you sort of had it coming.
Well done Palestine. I am sorry you have been treated this way by my government. We get to vote for a new government this fall and I will do my best to vote for someone who will right the wrongs that have been made. But you throwing eggs at John Baird made me smile.