I was born and raised in Canada. I am an incredibly proud Canadian. It perplexes me to hear anyone suggest that we should "cancel" Canada Day. How the concept of cancelling Canada Day can help, in any capacity, the Indigenous children who died at residential schools is illogical in the extreme. Yes, in hindsight, Canada should never have set up residential schools. No sensible Canadian could argue any different. But does that somehow besmirch Canada as a whole and everything that is wonderful and worth celebrating about Canada? Absolutely not.
Canada deserves celebrating for countless reasons. It is a safe, happy, industrious and kind place to live. Canadians are known worldwide for being nice. We have some of the safest cities in the world. We have a low unemployment rate, offering everyone the opportunity to make something of themselves with hard work and sacrifice. We are a tolerant people, welcoming people of all races, religions and creeds. We have universal health care. We have the most beautiful topography in the world with our vast mountains, our low valleys, our wheat fields, our whale sightings, our craggy coastlines, our abundant Great Lakes, our shoreline, our fresh air and our abundant space. We produce the best hockey players in the world. And our walleye fishing is internationally renowned. And that is just the beginning...
No country is perfect, but ours comes damn close. One of my boys' Grade 9 teachers immigrated to Canada from Iran. Very few people in the civilized world would call Iran a good country. Yet that teacher had the gall to tell my boys that they should be ashamed of living in Canada because of our Indigenous history. That comment is offensive. Judging Canada based on one aspect of our history, namely how we treated our Indigenous people in the 1880s forward, is neither fair nor logical. No reasonable person would argue that residential schools were a good idea. But the decisions made then in that time were made when society was less enlightened and more prejudiced. They have to be looked at in the context of the time. Thankfully we in Canada have evolved since then. That is one of the reasons Canada is such a great country, because of our evolution and constant improvement. As a result, no reasonable Canadian today would suggest that we continue the residential school model for Indigenous people. We now know better.
The Cancel Culture that has developed lately is dangerous. Humans are not perfect. Far from it. To hold every person to the standard of perfection and to "cancel" that person if he or she says something that "the powers that be" deem offensive creates a superficial culture of automatons. Sanctimony is an ugly trait. I don't know one sanctimonious person that I like. Extreme political correctness creates a culture where everything on the surface is perfect yet underneath there is an ugly underbelly seething with resentment and anger at the hypocrisy on display. The reality is that everyone has prejudices. Everyone has biases. That is what makes humans different, unique and interesting. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone of a certain age has regrets. No one is perfect. If the sins of the mother are visited on the child, then I pity my children. I believe the key is to try to continually improve, to work on becoming kinder, more compassionate, and more helpful. Self-righteous people like to tell everyone else what is right and what is wrong. Those are not my kind of people. If you believe you are already perfect, then there is nothing to improve. I like the people that recognize they have many problems but work to improve themselves and resolve those problems without becoming smug.
I intend to celebrate Canada Day today and every July 1st. I intend to continue to be immensely proud of my country. I will encourage my children to celebrate Canada Day. Canada is the best country in the world. That being said, celebrating Canada Day doesn't mean I don't feel pity for the Indigenous children who died at residential schools. To the contrary. I embrace Desiderata. "With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." Even though mistakes were made by past Canadians, Canada is still a beautiful country. Happy Canada Day!
Entrepreneur and mom to four amazing kids
Q: Why did the can crusher quit his job?
A: Because it was soda pressing.