Uutena Torontossa ?
kaupungin perinteinen suomalaiskenttä voi
tarjota tulokkaalle? Kaupungin "vanhat suomalaiset" varmasti
yllättävät nykysuomalaisen, mutta kokemus voi olla kiinnostavakin.
Mikä ihmeen Vapaa Sana?
Sana on riippumaton viikkosanomalehti, joka ilmestyy kerran viikossa Torontossa.
Lehden nimi periytyy 1930-luvulta.
Nimi johtaa joskus lehteä tuntemattoman pitämään Vapaata
Sanaa ns hengellisenä lehtenä. Sitä se ei kuitenkaan ole.
sivuilla tarjoamme poimintoja sisällöstä,
emme koko aineistoa. Vapaa Sana on tilauspohjainen lehti. Vuosikerta maksaa
Kanadassa 100 dollaria ja GST-veron, nopeammin kirjepostina 150 dollaria.Tilaukset
numeroon 1(416) 321 0808, klo 10-13 Toronton aikaa arkisin.
Vapaa Sana Press julkaisee viikkosanomalehtiä Vapaa Sana (Toronto)
ja Canadan Sanomat (Thunder Bay). Yhtiön internetsivustot ovat www.vapaasana.com,
www.canadansanomat.com ja www.finnishcanadian.com.
omistajapohja käsittää toistakymmentätuhatta kanadansuomalaista.
johdosta ilmoitamme, että internetosoite vapaasana.net ei liity tämän
2008 ilmestyi Lauri Toiviasen kirja Vapaan Sanan vaiheista. Tämän
linkin takana voitte lukea myös VS:n 75-vuotisjuhlanumeron
reportaaseja ja haastatteluja.
Megan Leslie's Finnish background supports
her political message
since the days of Judy Erola has there been a Canadian MP with Finnish
extraction. As Vapaa Sana broke the news about the election of Megan
Leslie (Halifax Centre and NDP) win October many Finnish Canadians
asked us, Megan who... Megan Leslie was not exactly a household
name on the Finnish Canadian scene, except among the Halifax Finlandia
Club members and her home area in Kirkland Lake.
The situation changed quickly. Megan Leslie is not only the upcoming
face of being of Finnish origin in English (and French) speaking
Canada, but indeed wants to keep her extraction as a part of her
public profile. In early January Vapaa Sana met Megan Leslie in
The Finnish background of this Halifax MP may be something of a
political asset as well. Being NDP and of Finnish origin add up:
In Finland many of the goals the New Democratic Party is promoting
here in Canada are already a living reality, and firmly part of
the national consensus, and have been for decades. Finland is an
example of what Canada could be, in some fields. Megan Leslie is
also enthusiastic about the opportunities of study Finland is offering.
She has herself spent a year at Tampere University.
In an editorial in 2008 Vapaa Sana noted that the New Democratic
Party is the home of Nordic, and Finnish, values in Canada, meaning
the contemporary values of those countries, not necessarily the
values of all the successive generations of Finnish immigrants in
The Finnish scene in Canada is by no means an NDP monopoly, far
from that. Where consensus may prevail in Finland, polarized opinions
are easy to encounter on the Finnish Canadian scene. The small Finnish-Canadian
vote is split fairly equally between the NDP, the Liberals and the
Conservatives. But Megan Leslie is hopeful.
- Most Canadians have social democratic values, she says But they
do not know it. And she elaborates: -They believe in equality, taking
care of the community and in the distribution of wealth The liberals
use a language of equality and a language of justice and that, on
the surface, sounds like social democratic and the people say, ok
that resonates with me. – Of course, one of the reasons for
the situation is that we have had this twoparty system for a long
Megan Leslie notes that her family has been voting liberal, she
became an NDP person as an adult. – Perhaps after looking
into matters a bit deeper, she adds.
- Now, some of your Finnish readers may say that Megan talks rubbish.
The real social democratic parties are in Sweden, Finland and Norway,
and so on. – But we must put all this into a Canadian context.
Education is a matter that comes up in any comparison of societal
values here and in Finland. In Finland postsecondary education is
free, there are no tuition fees. Students must pay their housing
and living costs though and can get financial assistance to that.
Megan Leslie refers to a post secondary education bill that the
NDP put forward last session. – Education is a provincial
matter, of course, but the idea was to do what we do with the health
services, in other words, the provinces would be getting money if
they, say, make postsecondary education more accessible and more
affordable. - I am sure NDP will take it up again this session,
Megan Leslie says.
Amongst the students there is general support for the reform, but,
Megan Leslie notes, university administrators do not always share
the view. – They claim the suggested system would give money
to those who do not need it, to those who could afford studying
Megan Leslie points out the negative career impact of hefty student
loans. – If you have, say, 80 000 dollars to pay back
and would be paying 800 a month that is a lot. In the legal profession,
for example, bright young students who are passionate about environment
and poverty go to practice law on Bay Street, as that pays. Now,
I am not vilifying Bay Street law, but you should not have to practice
it just because you are terrified with the 80 to 100 thousand dollar
loans hanging over your head.
At least in parts of primary health care the Canadian systems offer
more than the Finnish municipal services. Megan Leslie is pleased
to hear that. She says she would add pharmacare and dental coverage
to the Canadian system, and goes on to explain situations where
people have to save on health due to other needs. In Finland there
is a national reimbursement system of medicine purchase costs.
- I have worked a lot with energy poverty, she notes. - People have
to save on food or medicine to be able to finance their energy costs.
– Some people, say, on mental health medication may decide
to ration their pills in order to get food.
Printed in issue 3/09 of Vapaa Sana.
Leslie says her childhood was "totally Finnish" in Kirkland
up with a technicolor image of Finland"
by Juhani Niinistö about the importance of her Finnish roots to Megan
Leslie, in her own words.
- In Finland the grass was always greener, says Megan Leslie recollecting
the stories about Finland she heard as a child from her grandparents and
their generation. The story resembles many I have heard here in Canada
and has also the other side of the equation: - In Finland, to my relatives
there, my grandfather was the “one who had made it”. And there
were stories about what a nice house he had built in Canada. Well, says
Megan Leslie, it was a nice house, but nothing so very fancy.
The childhood environment of Meagan Leslie was very Finnish indeed. She
did not quite grasp even the sense of a Finnish accent of English as she
thought that was the way English was spoken. Until a classmate visited
her grand parents place: - Your grandpa has an accent. Where does he come
from, asked the classmate.
- No, he has no accent, had Megan responded. She had failed to notice
the accent as there had been no comparison.
- It was a huge revelation, going to Finland, to realize that it was not
just those few people in Kirkland Lake who liked that sour dark bread,
or making a straw joulupukki (Santa).. It was a whole nation, there. And
all those men with the characteristics of my uncles. I went to Finland
and understood that, my gosh, my uncles are Finnish men, that is why they
were so wonderful - It was not until my year in Tampere that I realized
how Finnish my childhood had been, Megan Leslie says.
In terms of her own behavior Mean Leslie is nothing but Canadian, with
all those how-are-yous and other superficialities. And she was been in
Finland (in Tampere) long enough so that her immediate vicinity was kind
enough to advise about conduct in Finland. - I was greeting people in
excess, too many hellos.
Megan Leslie explained that she did know that you do not say hello to
strangers in Finland, but had not realized there was no need to greet
all the people you know, unless there was a reason. – I know you
know me, you need not say hello to me unless we have not met for a long
time, had a Finnish friend told her.
I ask Megan Leslie how she would see herself on the national Finnish scene
in Canada. Outside the Finnish scene your profile is primarily NDP, but
do you want to be known by the Finns? She pauses a bit and notes that
she was not familiar with any of the national Finnish Canadian organizations
I had been mentioning during the interview. – But I would take a
bit different approach she says. – I am Finnish. If you put my 50
closest friends to a room and asked them about my nationality, they would
all say that I am Finnish. – I talk about it a lot, in my daily
- When I came to Halifax, to study law, I suddenly realized how much I
was missing all “the Finnish things”, she says. And that is
where the Halifax Finlandia Club steps in.
- It is a funny little community, she puts its, with varying degrees of
knowledge about Finland and the Finnish culture. It is a lot of learning.
While here I have tried hard to bring back the Finnish elements in my
- In response to your question, whether I want to be known by the Finnish
Canadians nationally, yes, I do. But I think it is also important that
the people I interact with in Ottawa know my background. You had that
headline “Being a Finnish Canadian just got a new face”. –
I liked it.
Sana takes up the suurjuhlat, the June 27-29 Finn Grand Fest. She knows
the tradition. – Oh, it is in Sudbury this year. She writes the
dates down. And the reporter underlines to her that the culmination of
it all will be kokko and dance at the Wanup Hall. – So do not leave
Sudbury too early.