There’s been a horrendous amount of hate being spread around the world, made all the worse by the election of Trump, with his ill-conceived and ill-thought out Executive Orders. The backlash in the world makes you wonder if anyone will admit to actually voting for him. He has hit the nerve on immigration, refugees and general intolerance of those who are “different”. Oh, wouldn’t it be a much more peaceful world if we were all the same, all descended from the original all white Adam and Eve, well, if that’s in fact what they were.

Although we Canadians are smug in admitting what we love diversity and we are proud that we are the melting pot society to be admired, that’s not quite true. Things have changed a lot and not necessarily for the better. Back in the day, yes, when I was a child, decades ago, we had a fair share of immigrants, mostly people from England, Germany and Italy. There was no problem with the British because other than having an accent they looked and acted pretty much like we did. Those from Germany sometimes kept a little to themselves, probably more a little hesitancy because of the war, but they also melted into Canadian society well. Then there’s the Italians. We accepted “little Italy” in places like Toronto and they were treated much like Chinatown, readily accepted into our society as well. But then things changed rather drastically as people from other countries started arriving.

Soon we started getting people from other countries like India, Pakistan, Middle Eastern countries, Korea and more and more Chinese and Japanese. Some readily adopted our culture, learned English and got jobs and contributed to our society. I don’t think we’ve ever had anything like the States has as far a black people were concerned. Many of my friends growing up were of colour and I didn’t treat them any different than anyone else. My very best friend was, in fact, German. His parents didn’t speak a word of English but we never had any problems getting along and he was just another kid on the block. No different.

This is where it all changed. A lot of those immigrants concentrated in certain neighborhoods where white people or anyone who wasn’t from their country were not welcome. Real Estate agents would tell people they didn’t want to move to that neighborhood because it was East Indian or something else with only people from a certain country, not Canada. Soon the commerce in the area started catering to the immigrant population, carrying foods traditional to their culture, which was no different than any other specialty store; but, then came the big change and one that was not welcome. The store signs that were previously in English and the foreign language were soon only in the foreign language. English was gone. I remember driving miles in area like Markham where I didn’t recognize a single sign. Wait! Isn’t this Canada? Aren’t our official languages English and French? How dare these foreigners suddenly turn our neighborhoods into something foreign to we Canadians. What happened to adopting our language and our culture? The attitude shifted from one of welcoming diversity to “if you don’t like my country then go home!”.

Before you knew it we were dealing with overt meddling with our culture and traditions. People wanted to wear turbans as RCMP officers. What? That’s not Canadian! Then we started having the gang violence in places like Toronto and Vancouver, importing the conflicts from their home country. Nothing to do with Canada. In places like Brampton, where I lived for many years, Anglo Saxon white people became the minority. Wherever I went, from shopping malls to the airport, I was clearly not the same as most of the people. I could have just as easily been in New Delhi.

As is the case with most of the problems in the world it’s all about religion or rather religious freedom. My parents were never what you would call religious fanatics, although they did take us to Sunday School and we did go once in a while to a United or Presbyterian church. We knew that there were Catholic churches around but that was mostly for Italians and those who were a lot more religious than we were. That was what we would have called “religious freedom”. Again though, it was never in anyone’s face so to speak. Observance of different religious holidays was okay, but we all celebrated Christmas, right? You never once thought anything about wishing anyone a Merry Christmas. That you might be offending anyone? Not a chance.

Back then if you had asked me what a Muslim was I wouldn’t have had a clue. The Koran? Again, never heard of it. Islam? Not likely. For me it was simple. You had people who were religious and went to church on Sunday and you had people who might have been religious in that they believed in God, but they rarely went to church. So be it.

Soon you had more mosques than churches. These were fanatically religious people who looked a lot different than me and they got down and prayed to someone called Allah five times a day! Holy cow! Were they at all like the Canadians I had grown up with? No way! They were changing Canada to be just like where they came from. That I didn’t like. It was as if everything I cherished about being Canadian wasn’t good enough for them. They wanted to force their culture on us and change everything about Canada. Soon they were running for office just to gain acceptance for the changes they wanted.

I do not consider myself racist in the meaning of the word, which, from the Urban Dictionary, is “a label given to a person, or group of people who hate/dislike those who belong to a different race. This typically applies to hatred based on skin-colour.” No, I do not have any negative impressions of people based on their race or skin colour. I treat everyone the same. What I do object to is someone, anyone of any race, creed or colour, who doesn’t like the way we do things here in Canada and wants to change it to be like the country they came from. Hey, if you find so much wrong with our country then don’t come!