I finally got around to watching Gord Downie’s interview with the awaiting retirement Peter Mansbridge. While watching, I was saddened by the effects of this cancer but what I was left with, was something so much more empowering. I could feel that his goal with this conversation was the full inclusion of all Canada;s provinces and people, indigenous or non-indigenous. The right to the same quality of life for all people here. I searched, “Gord Downie The National” to see what headlines came up, to see what reporters summed this up as. I really thought the headline here would have surrounded his inclusion of “the secret path” and its message, which is his main focus right now. All of the headlines included things like “Gord Downie talks cancer, mortality and family”, “Gord Downie opens up about struggling with memory loss”, but none of the headlines included what he was REALLY trying to say with this interview.
“This is the best thing I’ve ever done. This is what I wanna do, nothing else really matters to me”, were his words when describing the legacy, he so devotedly is trying to leave behind. That is the equal quality of life for all Canadians, whether they live in the most southern or most northern part of Canada. All he wants to do is piece Canada together. He wants to build an “actual nation”. He said something very profound in, “That’s what’s missing, as we celebrate donuts and hockey, over and over and over again”.
Gord’s words are ones I’ve always had but never said because I couldn’t find them. I’ve always felt that saying “sorry”, and drinking Timmies, and watching our precious NHL hockey every year; it’s not enough to define a country by. There is so much wrong with our wholeness as a nation and Gord Downie wants to fix what has been perpetually on the back burner, indigenous lives and our responsibility for their equal rights.
On August 20th, when most of our country’s attention was on Gord Downie, he did not use that moment to talk about cancer, he used that final moment, with every teary eye directed at either him or a screen with him on it to talk about The First Nations people and his faith in Justin Trudeau with this endeavor. He used this invaluable moment to talk about what needed to be said and he did the same with Peter Mansbridge, who’s name was written on his hand so not to forget it never mind the 25-year relationship they have. This is really, all that matters to him and those headlines did not give that conversation it’s true definition.
His call to action is so vital to the true north strong and free, and I hope that his sit down with Peter on The National was able to communicate what he had hoped, to as many people as he sang to on August 20th in Kingston. Without Gord Downie and all that he is, none of this would have the same tone. He’s a special human being and we care, so I thank Peter and his ability to ask all the right questions and for this platform that Gord used to talk about what means so much to him and every single one of us.
“The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund has a goal of raising 100 million dollars to fund projects that will bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.”
– Taylor Braat