Thankful for diversity

Across Canada this coming weekend, we will come together to celebrate our good fortunes that have united us as a nation.
We very much are a nation of immigrants—welcoming newcomers from across the world who have left their native countries in search of better opportunities here in Canada.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to leave your home, where support by family is readily available, to journey to a foreign country.
I look to my own history knowing my grandparents came to Canada from Scotland with the plan to farm in Saskatchewan. The Cumming family homesteaded near Perdue, just west of Saskatoon.
My grandfather later left the homestead and began a career as a pressman, eventually finding his way to Yorkton and then here to Fort Frances.
On my mother’s side of the family, the Kleven came to Canada from Norway.
Each family brought traditions of food and faith to Canada. We have adopted those different food types and they have become familiar to us, enriching our lives and adding more and different foods to our tables.
We began as both a Catholic and Protestant nation. But immigrants from Europe, India, Pakistan, and the Far East introduced Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. Those religions also have created a great understanding of acceptance of differences between Canadians.
More recently, we have begun to recognize the religious cultural contributions by First Nation peoples in Canada. Bannock reflects the exchange of culture between Scottish fur traders and First Nation people who were brought new food sources.
Former prime minister Joe Clark reflected that when we look at our table, we discover a smorgasbord of food choices that have been adopted from around the world.
Peoples of the world always have relied on the foods that were grown or harvested nearby. As people immigrated, they introduced those foods native to their families and former countries to their new countries.
Each migration has brought new foods. Across the western prairies of Canada, we can see the influence of Ukrainian, German, and Polish cuisines. Around Waterloo and southern Manitoba, the influence of Mennonite cultures and foods are popular.
In the mid- to late 1970s, the immigration of 50,000 Vietnamese brought new tastes to Canada that were experienced first-hand when restaurants here were owned and operated by those new immigrants.
Given the current crisis in Syria, and the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing to Turkey and Europe, Canada eventually will gather in those peoples and experience their types of foods, adding to the smorgasbord of flavors found on our dinner tables.
Our good fortune and richness of our Canadian life is not owed to one ethnic or cultural segment of the population, but to the multitude of peoples who have come from every corner of the world to make a home in Canada.
We should celebrate this Thanksgiving our diversity of cultures, languages, and religions that are found in our great land.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail