Thoughts On Canada 150

Posted on Monday, January 29 at 15:47 by JaredMilne
As Canada 150 winds down, I thought I'd give my thoughts on the issue, particularly after seeing the debates on it. For me, Canada 150 was complicated. I consider all the things that Canada has fucked up, both historically and today, and also the things we've succeeded at, the ideals we say we aspire to, and the times when we've actually lived up to them. I think about things like Confederation, and the work of people like Macdonald and Laurier. I think about the things I admire about them, and the sickening bigotry they (and many other people) displayed, bigotry that continues to be reflected today. That, and everything that comes from it, isn't just a part of my heritage-it's who I am. As Laurier said, Canada is my life. So, in considering the important and necessary work that many advocates have done in raising the horseshit of Canada's past and present, I am left wondering. Can I take pride in who I am? Do I have a right to? It's something I have wrestled for years with. I want to, particularly because it's all I have-my only home. The UK means nothing at all to me. I recall, though, that even with all the wrong in Canada both yesterday and today, I still see right in it too. Macdonald had the right idea in supporting Francophone rights, and in finding ground between different goals in Confederation. The problem was his limiting those ideals to other white people. Same with Laurier, same with so many people, both yesterday & today. And then there are Canada's many cultural, scientific and humanitarian contributions over the years. We punch above our weight given our small population by global standards. But again, at the same time I remember everything the critics have said.So, coming full circle, what has Canada 150 meant to me? It has been a time to remember our successes, and everything done right but to also remember our failures, and everything done wrong both in the past and today. More than that, Canada 150 is for me a reminder of my duty, as a Canadian, to make my concitoyens aware of these things, and to work for the better. I have nothing against critics who refuse to celebrate Canada 150. It's their right, and they have every damn good reason not to. But at the same time, I will not-I *cannot*-abandon my Canadian identity, or feel only shame in it. Without it I have nothing. An article in Policy Options contains my further thoughts on the matter: http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/july-2017/canada-150-getting-rough-ride/

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