In­jus­tice still ex­ists in Canada

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

RE: Sesqui­cen­ten­nial more som­bre than cel­e­bra­tory (June 27)

I was pleased to read Mar­garet Shkimba’s ed­i­to­rial about the dark stain on Canada’s sesqui­cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tions as a re­sult of our gov­ern­ment’s ap­palling treat­ment of In­dige­nous peo­ple as out­lined in the Truth & Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Act (TRA).

As Cana­di­ans, we pride our­selves on liv­ing in a so­ci­ety which is his­tor­i­cally less racially di­vided than our Amer­i­can neigh­bours. How­ever, racism and in­equal­ity con­tinue to ex­ist on both sides of the bor­der. The cur­rent liv­ing con­di­tions on some re­serves, the mur­dered and miss­ing in­dige­nous women and high sui­cide rates in north­ern in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties are just a few ex­am­ples of the on­go­ing dis­par­ity. In ad­di­tion, the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment’s in­tern­ment of Ja­panese Cana­di­ans dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and its re­fusal to ac­cept 907 Jewish refugees seek­ing sanc­tu­ary from Nazi Ger­many are also low points in our his­tory. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by The United Na­tions Work­ing Group of Ex­perts on Peo­ple of African De­scent “Canada’s his­tory of en­slave­ment, racial seg­re­ga­tion, and marginal­iza­tion, has had a dele­te­ri­ous im­pact on peo­ple of African de­scent which must be ad­dressed in part­ner­ship with com­mu­ni­ties.”

A sur­vey con­ducted of 80 coun­tries by the U.S. News and World Re­port ranked Canada the sec­ond best af­ter Switzer­land based on eco­nomic in­flu­ence, cit­i­zen­ship and qual­ity of life. How­ever, in­jus­tices, both past and present, def­i­nitely de­tract from its high rank­ing. Cana­di­ans must con­tinue to ed­u­cate them­selves on the unedited version of our his­tory and have open con­ver­sa­tions. By do­ing so, we can move to­ward a blem­ish-free Canada Day cel­e­bra­tion in time for the bi­cen­ten­nial. An­drea Rado, Hamil­ton

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