For much of my life, when I thought of Canada Day and what it means to be Canadian, I always felt proud that I am part of a great nation that has much to be celebrated.
In recent years, however, some voices are being heard that call this position into question. Is Canada truly a place to be proud of?
There have been questions raised, for example, about our First Nations people and how they have been treated, and continue to be treated.
They have a long and proud tradition and history as the original residents of our land, and they were badly treated by the governments that arose as immigrants arrived and began settling the lands.
There were good and bad aspects to what happened in the growth and development of Canada, and as history, these events and actions cannot be changed.
We can, however, learn from our history, and we can work towards correcting those things that have carried inequities and injustices forward to the present day.
There is a lot of upheaval going on right now in this country, and indeed in many countries, around issues of racism and equality, and around the actions of some police officers. This was all compounded around the restrictions and lockdown that everyone has been experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In my opinion, some of the restlessness and fever caused by being laid off and locked down contributed to the explosion of passion and anger and everything else that’s been spilling out onto the streets lately.
I would liken it to a fuel that has been leaking and pooling, and was just waiting for the right ignition to set it ablaze. When a shameful and abusive act by a police officer was broadcast in relation to the death of a black man in Minneapolis, there was ignition and the flames exploded out from there across the U.S., spilling over into Canada. We are not a perfect country by any means, but we do have much to celebrate in Canada. The thoughts and attitudes of many people are adjusting and people are looking within to see what we can do and how we might change so that everyone is equal and respected.
I feel we are a tolerant and patient and kind nation, and I am still proud to be a Canadian.