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by John Paul Gomez February 15, 2015
As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Canada's Maple Leaf flag, I think about how being here have changed me.
It has been more than a decade ago when my foot landed on Canadian soil yet I still get a strong mix of feelings of gratitude, extreme humility, and pride each time it comes to mind that I am now a part of this great nation that I have come to deeply and truly admire.
As an immigrant from a third world country, I am still in absolute awe of how everything seems to work well here in Canada. Being here is like being a part of an efficient and well-oiled machine where each part is as important as the whole- and the machinist (the government) really do care about the well being of the parts. I hate to compare but back when I was in my native land, I hear about Equal Rights and Equal opportunity all the time and I thought that I get it- but landing here made me realize that you don't know the meaning of equal rights and equal opportunity until you experience it- I had my first taste of that right here.
It is here where you can get free education and have access to world-class healthcare without breaking the bank (all six of us in my family have experienced this first hand); the politicians here do not distribute instant noodles to the poor and needy with their faces printed on the packaging in hopes of a better election results; journalists don't get killed en masse; the media is not polluted with stories of killings, useless trivia, and corruption; the color of your skin is not a topic; women have their voice; and there is a refreshing religious tolerance.
Some Torontonians like to complain about the traffic on 401 and the DVP- as someone who lives literally right next to the DVP, I just laugh at them and carry on with my quiet meditation amidst the gentle hum of hundreds of engines passing by- the loud horns and people yelling, typical cacophony of third world traffic, noticeably absent.
W. Bro. John Paul Gomez (aka Paul, JP, JPG) is an artist by trade and a full-time father-of-4. He currently serves as the W.M. for Doric Lodge No. 316 AF&AM in Ontario, Canada. He is a Senior DeMolay and an honorary member of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 F&AM in Buffalo, New York. He enjoys cooking, gardening, boxing and skateboarding.
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