By: Surjit Singh Flora
After wrapping up Christmas celebrations, everyone is turning their attention to New Year’s Eve.
And from now until Monday night, we begin the countdown to the end of 2018 and the start of 2019 and look forward to spending time with our near and dear friends and family members as we take a glimpse back at the year.
A lot can happen in a year between the good, the bad and the ugly. But let’s not do silly things as we celebrate the arrival of 2019. We all want to welcome the new year with joy and happiness.
This means no drinking and driving, taking care with fireworks, no drinking and fighting at parties, no shootings — nothing but simply enjoying the occasion.
Obviously, many people want to have a memorable time and alcohol often plays a big part in the activities during New Year’s Eve. Drivers must remember the R.I.D.E check and police advice: “Don’t drink and drive.”
While in a safe environment, make a toast with champagne while fireworks explode in the sky.
In 2019, we’d like to see governments and politicians not only declare their conflicts of interest but also do everything in their power to cancel such conflicts. There is a clear choice for these people: they can either be in public service and serve the public or go back to private business and serve themselves. There is no space in the middle.
People should be told the truth about the controversial NAFTA and government immigration as well as cannabis and carbon tax policies.
We’d like to see more people taking part in social activism and speaking up against corruption and bad governance. Against family violence and gun violence. Against harming our environment, and other social issues. We would particularly like to see our students be more active and vocal. Free speech counts for nothing if we do not uses our voices.
Also, we’d like to see balanced immigration policies, because it is important to welcome new team members, but we also need to create a stronger sense of belonging, promoting Canadian values and culture. Immigrants seem to lack a sense of culture and it’s the fault of our government, not the people who come here. All Canadians want Canada to retain our own distinct culture and keep it alive. Everyone could be a part of a whole, all together, in unity, and peace.
Also, we’d like to see the Constitution change The Amending Formula, make access to health care and a clean environment charter rights and ditch the notwithstanding clause. And none of our government officials or special interest groups should increase their salaries by voting it in themselves.
Also, we’d like to see minimized smoking. It’s hard to breathe out there even with a single smoker within a few steps’ distance. And now cannabis will make things even worse.
Also, we’d like to see better old age security and senior care. And Canada Pension Plan programs, which are designed to provide financial support to workers after their retirement.
Today old age is dividing children and parents in the name of modernity. Let us feel the sadness of our elders, respect them and take advantage of their lifelong experiences.
Today the sense of meanness, jealousy, hatred and arrogance has increased so much that there has been a stagnation in relationships. The mentality of throwing away the feelings of others drives the mind. We will endeavor to light them with love.
Today there is talk of drugs in society. Some people have lost their lives to drug addiction; young people are wasting their bodies and their futures.
Humans are dying due to pollution, which is causing chronic disease. Let us resolve to keep our surroundings clean.
The new year is celebrated by many, regardless of politics or class. If we attempt to follow the aforementioned pursuits, then the real purpose of celebrating New Year’s will be fulfilled. If we break down our narrow-minded walls, create an atmosphere of love, affection, truth, kindness and generosity, we might see the happiness on people’s faces.
So, let’s remember the reason for the celebration — starting 2019 with a clean slate and a whole new set of possibilities, hopes, desires and dreams.
Have a happy and safe New Year celebration.
Surjit Singh Flora is a journalist and freelance writer based in Brampton.