We all have a part to play in repairing our politically fractured nation: Sask. farmer
There is no question that our nation is divided, the election results made that blatantly clear
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday in response to the federal Liberal Party winning a minority government.
It was not a congratulatory letter.
It was a call to action. It was a reminder that under Trudeau's leadership over the past four years our nation has been divided.
There is no question that our nation is divided. The election results made that blatantly clear.
Looking back to the way seats were distributed four years ago, the Bloc Quebecois only held four, and talk of Western separatism was a fringe conversation.
Fast-forward to the other night, and we saw the Bloc take 32 seats (the most they've ever held was 54). You cannot turn anywhere in my part of the country without hearing talk of Alberta and Saskatchewan wanting to separate.
Four years ago we had a stronger semblance of a unified country. Now, looking at the election map, we have three distinct, fractured political realities.
'We all need to ask more'
Is it fair to lay the blame for our nation's divide at the feet of one man? I think not.
I think the time has come for us all to step up and acknowledge that we all have a part to play in this.
We all need to ask more from ourselves, more from our media, more from our elected officials, and ask more from our party leaders. We need to understand that this will take compassion, understanding and wanting more than just what is best for "me, my industry and my province."
Saskatchewan and Alberta are frustrated, and that was reflected in the election results. The Conservatives took 14 out of 14 seats in Saskatchewan and 33 out of 34 in Alberta (the NDP took one), leaving two provinces without Liberal representation.
But the rest of Canada is also frustrated. We need to understand that there has to be give-and-take on all sides to fix things.
As a frustrated grain farmer in Saskatchewan, I applaud Moe's letter to Trudeau. But here's the thing: I am more than just a frustrated grain farmer.
I am a Canadian citizen with friends and family spread across our incredible country. I am a Mom who wants to see the most amazing future for my little girls, a future that involves a healthy climate and environment. I am that person that believes in policy and our ability to come together to work on that policy, to leave our personal biases and beliefs at the door and truly work on what is best for our communities, our industries, our economies, our provinces and ultimately our country and world.
If I am to be all of those things, I also need to be accepting.
I need to accept my neighbours. I need to accept those who have different viewpoints and need different things from government. I also need to be supportive and understand that to get what we all hope for and want we need to come together and give a little.
We also need to extend a little grace to each other. This road forward will not be easy, nor will it be without bumps. As humans, we are imperfect beings. We are also emotionally driven. We need to be respectful and understanding of these truths.
'We have so much potential'
Over the past four years I have noticed growing discord and alienation, manifested in frustration with how the media chooses to cover stories, in a lack of trust between friends and family, and in the way our elected officials choose to interact with each other.
I also see alienation in the extreme polarization of how we approach issues, our daily social media feeds, and how we choose to respond to each other. Polarization of left versus right, of West versus East.
It feels like we have lost the middle ground. Where is the room for open conversation?
Can we salvage our country's relationship with itself? Can we find a way to create unity and instill a sense of belonging throughout our very large and very diverse country?
I believe we need to.
We have so much potential as a country, and I truly believe we are stronger together than divided. In order to fix the rift in our country we need to find the strong leader that exists in each of us.
We need to give Prime Minister Trudeau's words — "I've heard your frustration. I want to be there to support you" — a chance. Like it or not, he is our democratically elected leader, so let's come together to allow those words to be achievable and, in doing so, hold all our representatives to account, including our prime minister.
We also need to work on policies that support our industries, our economies and our businesses, so that we can create the revenue needed to take care of our own, contribute globally and push forward with environmental stewardship.
As a nation, we must work together to accomplish the policy items all Canadians came to the polls to address.
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