By Joan Janzen 

“If a Canadian falls in the forest and no one is around, does he still apologize?” Or how about this observation about living in Canada: “In Canada you’re way more likely to be killed by a moose than by a terror plot.”

Even though Canadians enjoy relatively peaceful lives, early in 2017, a radio program presented a discussion featuring a team of Canadian political strategists. One of those strategists commented, “The two most important emotions in politics are hate and fear. And if you can harness those emotions … it can take you a long way.”

There’s no doubt that hate and fear are powerful entities, but should they be utilized to manipulate public opinion? Besides, our opinions and decisions should not be based on fear or hate or any other feelings. The only thing we should hate is evil, in whatever shape it reveals itself.

To prevent ourselves from becoming subject to the manipulation of propaganda, we need to stay informed. In other words, we need to dig for the truth and nd out the whole story, including the beginning, the middle and the end.

For instance, if you like to read, you wouldn’t likely browse through the middle of a book, toss it aside and assume you know what the whole story is about, how it began and how it ends. Yet many of us are prone to listen to a short news clip, read a social media post or a prominent magazine heading and assume that it’s all true.

A good example of this is a recent headline which read, “Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem”, making it appear as though the Palestinians were the victims. But the truth of the matter was the three individuals were killed after they had stabbed a female Israeli police of cer to death. The publishers did nally apologize for the misleading headlines, but only after they had been confronted by their readers. So you see how important it is for media consumers to seek out the truth for themselves.

Here, on the Canadian prairies, we are already practicing the best and most effective way of combating fear and hate. It’s called plain old looking out for the people in our communities. People on the Canadian prairies have a reputation for being helpful, friendly, courteous and generous.

I’ve heard so many people who have moved to the prairies, who bemoan the vast, empty spaces, but have nothing but good things to say about the people who live here. That is one of the highest compliments we could ever receive.

Recently I listened to individuals who were inducted into the SJHL Hall of Fame, and I couldn’t help notice a common thread among their stories. They all related how there was something uniquely special about standing on the blue line with their team mates and singing the national anthem. And the players all highly esteemed their billets for their genuine care and hospitality.

The media is well known for bombarding us daily with a continuous onslaught of fear and hate, and not much of anything else to give us a balanced view of life. But if we consciously live by a rule of life – to care about others as much as we care about ourselves and our loved ones, we won’t be as easily motivated by the fear and hate we hear about every day.

On the prairies there’s more than just moose on the loose; there’s some of the most caring people in North America.

Read more by Joan on her page