It’s Canada Day. A day that normally is filled with parties, fireworks, carnivals and outdoor entertainment. A day where we take time to celebrate our Country, the true North, Strong and Free, from far and wide.
But this year, I don’t feel like celebrating anything.
Canada has been in the news over the last month or so, not for the good it has accomplished in the world, but for the atrocities it has perpetrated towards indigenous people.
Because of the pandemic, things were already looking bleak for celebrations before all this happened, but now, I, like many other Canadians, are not in a “Cheer up Canada” kind of mood. Not at all.
I am enraged, actually. Enraged that hundreds of defenseless children have died at the hands of government and churches. I am furious that this part of history was hidden from me and not taught in school when I was growing up. But I’m especially mad at myself for not digging deeper. How is it that I just now learn about this? Why did I accept what they fed me as the truth? Why didn’t I research more? I did see red flags, but I ignored them. A hand full of times, I have witnessed Native-Canadian conflicts. I have see first-hand how tense they can be, but instead of questioning the white man’s actions or motives, I sided with him by my silence. I was complicit. And I am ashamed.
As I saw the growing movement to ban Canada day take off, I wondered if this was all just a way for white people to make themselves feel better, a way to try and shut up the critics. Now that things are truly in the open and there is nowhere to hide, now that the truth can no longer be swept under the rug, a big gesture was needed. I work in Marketing, I know how you spin a situation. This definitely feels like a spin. And it’s a spin that is too little too late. It doesn’t do much else than giving white people a semblance of peace of mind. They did good. They boycotted Canada Day. Now they can return to their privileged lives and forget about all this. Am I right?
For things to change, you need action. Real action. Not bogus hypocritical pretend action. You need to take a stand.
I’m not saying that the protests and marches planned for today are not real or needed; I’m saying that taking out your orange shirt today for the march, to show your support and make yourself feel better, then returning it to the drawer to be stored for the rest of the year won’t work. You need to wear that shirt everyday!
I have nothing planned today. I’m not partaking in any celebration. I’m taking this day to reflect on Canada. The good. The bad. The ugly. I refuse to celebrate while my brothers and sisters are mourning so many of their own. I am showing the respect they so much deserve and need. I will stay silent. Today. But then, I will make noise, every other day. I will advocate for history to be taught the way it should. I will lobby for not only reconciliation but restoration.