President Obama’s speech to the Canadian Parliament yesterday was inspirational. He extolled the values of tolerance and equality and said these weren’t just Canadian values or American values but needed to be universal values. He warned of the danger of a brand of politics that scapegoats others- immigrants, refugees, those who seem different from us. He complimented Canada in this regard and said the world needs more ‘Canada.’
President Obama talked about standing up for our Muslim neighbours, about ensuring true equality for LGBTQ citizens, and creating a society where women are paid equally, treated equally and given the same opportunities as men. His speech received thunderous applause and numerous standing ovations from members of the Canadian Parliament of every political affiliation. Some were even chanting ‘Four more years!’ They wish President Obama did not have to leave office.
No American president has addressed the Canadian Parliament in two decades and Mr. Obama made the most of his only chance to do so. His message of tolerance and equality resonated with Canadians. The rhetoric of some American politicians aside, the President’s words no doubt echo the sentiments of the majority of citizens in his own country who too long for a world where tolerance and equality are the values that guide all our interactions with one another.