I’ve spent some time living outside of Canada, specifically in China. Over that time, I’ve learned to truly value Canada. It is one of the precious gems in this world.

In my Canada, folks stop to pull others out of a snow bank or offer to boost their car. It doesn’t matter what religious garb they are wearing. This is Canada. Helping our neighbour is just what we do.

In my Canada, we are tolerant and accommodating of the different cultures that make up our mosaic heritage. On Canada Day, our parades are features the many cultures that make up our country. In China, in contrast, on their National Day, they parade their big guns.

In my Canada, we eventually try to make up for our past mistakes, where we weren’t as tolerant and accommodating as we should have been, such as with the Chinese, Japanese, and our First Nations.

In my Canada, hockey is more than just a winter sport, it is a metaphor for how we work together and cooperate to achieve our goals. We are the True North Strong and Free. When we see something that needs to be done, we step in and do it. That’s what made us good peacekeepers.

I have, up until now (and that time, when I was in University, I voted NDP to bug my dad) have always supported the federal Progressive Conservative Party. I didn’t like Reform because “Right Wing” and “Religion” are two things that should be kept far apart. I understand how merging the Conservative Reform Alliance Parties would reduce the split in the conservative vote.

Harper isn’t my kind of Conservative. His vision of Canada isn’t my Canada.

My kind of leader would mend tears and build consensus. Our flag is like that. It was born out of consensus and compromise.

Harper seeks to win by tearing us apart. Rather than being the True North Strong and Free, he tells us to be scared, that only he can protect us. His vision of Canada is one where my security is sacrificed for the government’s security. Where we are fearful of our neighbours and are encouraged to report them to the government.

Harper’s Conservative Party isn’t my Conservative Party. Harper’s Canada isn’t my Canada.