With WE Day underway in New York City today (Toronto’s event is slated for September 28), we wanted to share a Q&A with Mental Health Advocate and Canadian icon Margaret Trudeau, who’s in New York for the event sharing her inspiring message and thoughts on shaping Canada in the next 150 years:
Why is “we” stronger than “me?”
The movement, for me, is a continuation of the revolution that we started in the ‘60s, and Craig Kielburger said the same thing. It’s a beautiful evolved hippie movement that is inclusive and loving and kind and trying to educate and bring people in to understand that “me” is small; “we” is big and strong.
What is the kindest action you’ve been on the receiving end of, and what about the gesture touched you personally?
The kindest thing that has ever happened to me was when I was doing my own water work in Africa. I was in Uganda, in a very poor village that we were bringing access to water and sanitation, and this old wise woman came up to me and gave me three fresh eggs in a very thin plastic bag. I knew that these eggs were the most precious thing in the world—they didn’t have enough food in the village; the women were almost starving. Being there to try to help this village, I got the biggest act of kindness given to me. Mind you, it was very difficult to go through the crowds, holding this little bag of eggs without breaking them!
Fill in the blank: Moving forward into the next 150 years, our country needs [blank] in order to build a more caring and compassionate Canada.
More Justins, more Craigs, more Marcs! More people with forward thinking that have a human essence. If we can continue WE and can continue this idea of “it’s us together that is making the difference,” then we’ll have peace in the world.
Describe the core values of your ideal Canada.
We have to understand how blessed we are in the world because of our extraordinary universal health care and our educational systems. We are in a wonderful, unique position of being healthy and educated. Canada has the potential to be the most peaceful and mediating country in the world. I think that’s one of the roles my son will play: mediating. And that’s what we need, we need to have a country that goes back to its roots of being very open.
As we work to make Canada a better country, what is one action you would like people to take?
Any time you have a negative thought about anyone, immediately in your mind find a good thing to think about that person. Everybody has worth and it’s terrible to be a bully and to be denigrating to other people. Try never to say mean things about other people—even if it’s very hard and their behaviour is not good, there is still worth in them. The kindest thing you can do is listen to people—find in them their good self and encourage it.
For the accompanying article, head to WE Day’s page.