It has not been a great few weeks in Canada, for those who value tolerance of all people.
Last week, Statistics Canada reported hate crimes in Canada increased by five per cent in 2015. According to the report, the largest increase saw hate crimes targeting the country’s Muslim population increase from 99 incidents in 2014 to 159 incidents in 2015. The total amount of reported hate crimes in that year was 1,362, 67 more than reported in the previous year.
About a week before Statistics Canada’s report was released, the Durham Regional Police put out a press release, which stated, a 47 year-old Oshawa woman was arrested and is facing multiple assault charges for acts the DRPS reported had “targeted Muslims.” Police reported their investigators were in contact with the Ministry of the Attorney General regarding possible hate crime charges.
As Canadians, I think we all should be quick to condemn these dismissive intolerant actions. Personally, I think people should live by the Canadian ideals of equality, respect for cultural differences and peace.
People should not be judged based on their religion, but rather the actions they take as an individual. I believe every person is unique, and should not be thrown into any one category and judged on what people think that category represents.
Especially today, with a President in the United States preaching extreme protectionism with a proposed travel ban, it is important in Canada we are all role models for kindness and tolerance, and give everyone a chance to show us how unique they are as individuals.
A good example of kindness in a small community of North Durham has been how this community has rallied to support Syrian refugee families.
The recent news of hate crimes is unfortunate, but it does not need to be a trend, if we can all learn from it and find a way to make this country an even more welcoming environment than it is presently.
A recent trip to my old elementary school, Grandview Public School, has me reminiscing about my time as a young student.
This past Saturday, I went to the school to photograph a cheque presentation. Looking around the school grounds led me to remember what life was like for me when I was a young student, and reminded me how far I have come in life.
I remember the good times of playing on the playground equipment with friends, participating in school outdoor activities, such as track and field, playing with toy cars in the sand and playing games using imagination.
The trip also reminded me of the amount of work I have put in, from my two years of kindergarten, eight years of elementary school, four years of secondary school and three years at Durham College.
I do admit, I was not always a big fan of school, but now that I am no longer a student, I can appreciate what I learned, as well as the memories and the friendships I made there.
I remember when I was a kid, the outlook for the future was based wholly on what I could imagine. When I was young, some of the things I dreamed of being one day included a television show host, an optometrist, a video game creator and, like a lot of hockey fans, a general manager of an NHL team. The only limit to the future was what I could imagine.
It wasn’t until I was in high school that I decided I wanted to pursue journalism.
It is interesting for me to think about how my life’s journey has taken me from being a kid who dreamed about what the future would hold to now being a reporter for The Standard.
I look forward to making many more memories as a Standard reporter and making my mark on the world. As well, I encourage every young person to dream big, because someday your dream could become a reality.
Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy