I have an immodest proposal.
2017 is the 150th birthday of Canada. It will be a time of celebration, of street parties, cake and fireworks.
Many of us also are working to have it be a time of cementing our shared values and committing to acts of citizenship framed as “gifts to Canada” on her birthday.
In that spirit there could be no better 150th birthday gift than to welcome 150,000 refugees to our nation. Such radical generosity would foster massive co-operation between individuals, governments, business, faith groups and volunteer organizations.
To pay the bill, which could be in the region of half a billion dollars, we might have dig deep and to divert money from traditional forms of celebration but, frankly, most of us are not suffering from a shortage of fireworks and cake.
Such a birthday gift to Canada would honour the legacy of the First Nations peoples who welcomed and protected the first settlers, reinforce our shared values of generosity and inclusion, endow the nation with the energy and diversity of 150,000 additional immigrants and show Canada as a beacon of civility to a broken world.
It would be a birthday present which would be a blessing to both the givers and to the receivers.