It's Canada's 150th Birthday And Here Are 50 Things We Really Need To Talk About
It's coming up to your 150th Birthday this week. As a citizen of this beautiful country, there are a lot of things to celebrate. Your beautiful landscapes, bill C-16, and fairly great health care (er...I'll get to this later).
But, Canada, I think we need to have a talk. There are a whole lot of things that I can't stop thinking about things that make it difficult for me to feel in a "party" mood. Things like our disproportionate suicide rates among Indigenous youth, or racial profiling, or our cruddy sex worker laws, to name a few.
The historical moment we will commemorate on July 1st is the year of Confederation (1867) — "a bunch of old white guys signing a document that bound a loose collection of provinces controlled by the British Empire into a vague and discontented unity without the slightest consideration of or participation by the First Peoples."
Resistance 150, an indigenous political movement, is planning to disrupt the anniversary itself.
No matter how much Avril Lavigne I blast through my apartment, I can't help but feel a pit in my stomach about this whole Canada 150 thing.
I know that it is hard to think about these things, especially when we are known for being polite and kindhearted. To look ourselves in the mirror and say, "crap, we've been doing this all wrong," is never an easy thing.
But, Canada, I don't think I'm alone when I say that I wish this party was going a little bit differently. Instead of shouting our pride, I want to be the ones who lean over and listen to the quietest voice in the room. So, I've made a list of 37 things that I think we ought to be thinking about, talking about, prioritizing.
This is going to be a tough conversation, Canada, but I hope it will be the beginning of something good.
1. Canada 150 is a lie
Let's get this big thing out of the way. Canada 150 is catchy, sure, but it certainly doesn't do proper justice to our Indigenous population, who have called this land their home for 15,000+ years.
The year we are celebrating, 1867, is the year of Confederation. The day that we are celebrating, July 1st, is the day when a bunch of white settler men signed a document that "bound a loose collection of provinces controlled by the British Empire into a vague and disconnected unity without the slightest consideration of or participation by the First Peoples.
Since then, we have "celebrated" 150 years of cultural genocide aimed at our Indigenous populations.
150 years ago, genocide. Not acknowledged.
2. Support of cultural appropriation in the literary scene
Something I'm proud of: Props to the crew that started the Indigenous writers award to counter the award. http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigen...
3. People just can't seem to understand why uniformed police weren't welcome to march in Pride this year
4. Our corrupt correctional system. Prisons are the new residential schools
5. Our drug problem
Fentynal. Drugs treated like law, not mental health or recreational.
6. Our treatment of seniors
7. our prime ministers ability to charm his way out of responsibility by looking good
8. Racial profiling
Something I'm proud of: The passing of bill ofidofj
10. Our improper way of addressing pedophilia
11. Food waste
(we waste more food every year than is necessary to solve world hunger)
13. Our lassaiz-faire treatment of white collar crime is a testament to our privileging of certain classes of people
14. Cultural appropriation on the commercial level
15. Racism in our LGBTQ community
16. The growing cost of post-secondary tuition and young adult debt
17. Home grown terrorism
18. The number of bankrupt Canadians is rising
19. Our sex worker laws are crud
20. There are over 50 endangered species in Canada
21. Our foster care crisis
22. Gay men STILL can't donate blood
23. A lack of diversity on board of directors (and in leadership in general)
24. We still have a wage gap ...and it's getting wider
25. Our health care that we're so proud of? It's not that great
26. Suicide rates among Indigenous youth
27. Mental health resources for university students
28. Our literacy and numeracy rates are nothing to be proud of
29. Even our best and brightest struggle to find work
30. 4 of our major cities have dangerously high air pollution
31. Toronto is having a housing crisis
32. We treat veteran PTSD as a joke
33. The church is still involved in major decisions about our country
34. We're at a demographic tipping point
35. Tampons and pads are still not government subsidized
36. Many Canadian towns still can't afford to have a recycling program. Most cities and towns don't have a green bin program
37. The 13th month for Canadian refugees
38. Our pipe line
40. The pinkwashing of Pride
corporate opportunism at it's finest!
41. The way our courts handle sexual assault cases (and sexual assault survivors)
42. The exclusivity of academia
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.