Canadians are in a difficult spot as their national birthday comes up on Thursday, July 1.
Is it “politically correct” to still proclaim that one is proud to be a Canadian? Will Canadians be deemed as racist or insensitive if they celebrate Canada Day?
With the tragic discoveries of unmarked graves of children on the grounds of (so far) two residential schools, in Kamloops and more recently at Cowessess First Nation here in Saskatchewan, many people are struggling with how to approach this topic.
One certainty is that there are more unmarked graves yet to be found, here in Saskatchewan and in many other locations across Canada.
There are so many questions, and so much is not known about the how and why these children died and their remains disrespected in such a shameful way, with no records of names in some cases.
Canada’s First Nations peoples want answers, and they want accountability, something they have been asking for a very long time but have not been getting from government or church officials.
Now the talk has come up about laying of criminal charges in these cases, but that will be difficult when the people responsible for these atrocities are no longer with us. So is it possible for the federal government and the Catholic Church to be charged? That’s something for legal minds to wrestle with.
In the meantime, there is a need for efforts at reconciliation to continue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
Perhaps a good step would be to celebrate this land on July 1st. In political terms, this would be a “compromise”, where both sides give a little bit.
The celebration isn’t of colonialism, as detractors would like us to think, but it’s of the uniqueness and beauty of this country as it is today. We can’t rewrite history, or cancel it, as many people would love us to do, with symbolic cancellations like the removal of statues of those who have offended us.
Cancelling Canada Day will not accomplish anything, but celebrating it can accomplish a lot, in a positive way.
Canada, like all countries, has issues that need to be addressed and problems that need to be solved – but this is still a great country that people all over the world aspire to emigrate to. This is a multicultural nation, and all who come here are looking for opportunities and freedom to live as they wish, to pursue their dreams.
The natural beauty of the land, and of the people, are worth celebrating, and we all should be looking to live together in a better way, with more understanding and respect between all cultures.