I love my country. really, I do… but there is a lot going through my mind as #Canada150 fast approaches.
While there are a thousand reasons to celebrate the Confederation (Charter of Rights and Freedoms, poutine, breathtaking landscape from coast to coast, Margaret Atwood, IMAX, Trivial Pursuit, Ryan Reynolds, universal healthcare and so much more), I think this upcoming Canada Day weekend is the ideal time to take stock of our failures & weaknesses.
Let's stop being so self-satisfied.
Sure, if I break my leg I can go to the hospital and not worry about remortgaging my home cover the medical costs.
Sure, our Prime Minister appointed a gender-equal cabinet "because it [was] 2015".
We have so much to be proud of, but we also have a lot to work on.
Like reconciliation with Aboriginal people - most of us celebrating #Canada150 are settlers living and prospering on their land, while they are relegated to reservations on which the living conditions are, well, barely liveable. They suffer because of the oppression through assimilation they have endured : residential schools, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and the suicide crises in the reservations, to name a few.
Like gender equality - women still have work to do to have the same opportunities as men. The pay gap has not closed. Women still have to worry about how they dress and how they act because "clearly, a drunk can consent" and women should just "keep their knees together" according to our courts. And this is worse if you're a woman of colour, even in Canada.
Like racism - most Canadians are not be overtly racist (though some are), and we smugly attribute that quality to our neighbours south of the border… but there is racism present in Canada. From "not seeing colour", to crossing the road rather than walking by a person of colour, to assuming that a woman wearing a hijab is being oppressed, to the systemic racism destroying our Indigenous population.
Like rights for gender minorities. Like the environment. Like the housing market (ok, I know that one is perhaps a bit less poignant, but it's still a huge problem leading to increasing personal debt and homelessness in some areas).
I'm not saying everyone should collectively shake their fists at the Canadian flag on July 1st. Go out, celebrate what makes Canada amazing, be thankful to be living here, be proud. But as the fireworks light up the sky and the national anthem is sung proudly, take a moment to think about how we can improve as a country. There is nothing worse for a nation such as ours than complacency.
Let's check ourselves before we, as a country, wreck ourselves.