Canadians from coast to coast are prepping to celebrate the 150th anniversary of their country’s Confederation this weekend.
To this point, it has been a half-year of reflection as thousands look back on the events that have transpired since Canada officially became a country in 1867.
There are no doubt plenty of highlights to be celebrated, many of which have made Canada the country it is today.
Of course, nothing is more recognizable than the ultimate sacrifice paid by hundreds of thousands of members of the country’s armed forces. That was the case during both the First and Second World Wars, and a handful of other military engagements.
There has also been advancement in medicine, most notably Frederick Banting being one of the co-discoverers of insulin.
Heck, the country has also been on the world’s stage for its global peacekeeping initiatives, and Canada’s place as a haven for those seeking refuge from their wartorn homelands.
Dundas County owes its history to the hardscrabble immigrants who toiled in the wilderness for so many years, and ultimately worked to create towns and villages that exist to this day.
Again, there are countless things to be proud of, and thankful for.
Canada really is a great place to call home, and we didn’t need the federal government to spend $500 million (yes that much) to prove it.
Of course, Canada isn’t immune to foibles and poor decisions, and there is a great many in the country’s history, both past and present.
The same country that has been roundly championed for its multiculturalism, forcibly relocated Japanese Canadians to internment camps in the 1940s. This same country placed a head tax on Chinese immigration to Canada, seeking to prevent the more than 15,000 immigrant labourers who had arrived to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway from overstaying their welcome after the great nation-building project was finalized. More than 1,000 labourers died during the cross-country railroad’s construction.
Canada also carries a sorry record of turning away Jews fleeing the Holocaust in Europe, including refusal to admit a ship carrying 900 German Jews in 1939.
A great atrocity continues to this day, and that’s the ill-treatment of the country’s Indigenous population. To many, Confederation served only as the beginning of an ongoing betrayal and exclusion, and acts bordering on genocide.
The last 150 years are blackmarked by residential schools and the Sixties Scoop, not to mention murdered and missing Aboriginal women, and unequal healthcare and education.
Indigenous cultures have walked this country for millenia, greatly pre-dating the official creation of Canada as a country. These people are the true forebearers, and should be respected and treated as such.
Yes, there is plenty to be proud of from the present 150 years.
But, let’s strive to make the next 150 fair for all.
Oh what a Canada that would be.