Canada Day started out quite surreal as I did my morning yoga in a tiny spot on the floor of our Ottawa hotel.
Sweaty and unshaven from his early morning workout, Jeremy spoke with talk radio while taking in the view of the Ottawa River out our 24th floor window.
It was surreal because, as I held my pigeon pose, he was articulating the vital importance of Canadian expertise to solve problems in space and on Earth. As I stretched and did my deep belly breathing, he shared global vision with fellow Canadians.
Those moments are so typical of our travel days lately but in that instant, I had new perspective as I balanced my body and listened to his wise words.
He was sharing about how Canadians bring incredible gifts to the science and technology sector and how specific areas of Canadian expertise have been informing advancements in robotics and food insecurity for decades. He offered that there is untapped potential in healthcare, a sphere that I am intimately familiar with. I have experienced Canada as a world-leader in the provision of medical care to all people, regardless of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and privilege and this is not the case in many countries.
Canadians should be very proud and protective of their healthcare system.
Canada is known to deliver excellence in robotics, and we are learning to leverage the expansive usages of these technologies beyond our borders and without limits.
He summarized that, with Canada’s expanding collaboration in space, Canadians can bring their genius into robotics, growing food in harsh environments and the provision of healthcare in remote areas and, by doing so, they will be solving problems for all Canadians while making an essential contribution to orbital developments beyond our planet. It’s a win-win-win. It’s a highly effective use of commercial, government and defense spending and a valuable direction for human potential over future generations.
As I rose from my downward dog, I felt re-inspired by this vision. I took a deep breath and expressed a silent prayer that others who heard his words that morning, or the similar messages amplified in his speech on Parliament Hill, would share my inspiration and embody a deep belief that, together, we can do hard things. In fact, we MUST do these things if we are to feed, heal and protect Canadians in the harsh, remote regions of our country.
Photo credit: Sean Costello @SeanInMotion
As Canadians, we are the first generation to have all our needs met and the ability to rapidly and impactfully influence change with our lives and within our lifetime. Generations before us were managing the economic devastation of a depression and stabilization after two world wars.
We have the issues of our time to overcome like racialized trauma, inclusivity, gender equity and climate change but we have achieved so much. Yet, we sit at the precipice of do or die.
This message was loud and clear on the Hill as Indigenous leaders, elders and knowledge keepers shared their fear about the ways we are exploiting Mother Earth and continuing to harm each other.
Our Governor General was poignant in her words that reconciliation is not something we achieve and complete, it’s embedded in the moment-by-moment interactions we have with our fellow human beings.
Prime Minister Trudeau spoke confidently about the ways Canadian immigrants are expanding our population and growing our economy and that Canadian borders are open to all nations, keeping with our strong Canadian values.
Minister Pablo Rodriguez, upon arriving to Canada from Argentina with his parents at a young age, has lived his dream of shaping our nation through his political contributions. In his unique, charismatic way, he shared emphatically that the possibilities for Canadians, natural or new, are endless.
Judge Suzanne Carrière, Canada’s first Indigenous citizenship judge, presided over the swearing in of 17 new Canadians and, as I stood to speak the same words they did, I became very emotional and deeply grateful for my Canadian roots.
From our morning ritual to a night cap with our kids, our day was a beautiful reminder of the things that matter most to us. Being with family and friends and holding strong to the deeply rooted values that inform our conversations and prioritize our time.
Canadians, unified toward a shared vision, have real potential to solve some of the world’s biggest problems and, by doing so, will impact all humans, the world over.
Canada is uniquely positioned to be a positive driving force for change. I hope Canadians can see that as clearly as Jeremy and I do.
Ultimately, we (you and I) have the option to use this one precious life for the greatest possible good. And that feels really nice!
Bonne fête Canada!