In many ways Canada is an amazing country, but it’s very important to remember that we are not immune to the ugliness of the world. Just because time passes doesn’t automatically guarantee that we progress. Progress and improvement take effort and we have to work to build bridges and understanding. I love my country, but I am also a student of history and I am not blind to the atrocities that have taken place here. Canada has committed genocide against Natives and confined them to reservations, stripped them of their rights and systemically ignored their hardships. Canada has engaged in eugenics programs and forcefully sterilized people against their will. Canada has interned immigrants based on their country of birth and forced them into hard labor camps. Canada arrested and executed homosexual people. I repeat again, we are not immune to hatred.

I keep seeing posts on social media where people comment that they’re worried the hate will spread to Canada. It’s already here. It has always been here. The same bloody formation of a nation, the same intolerance and hatred, is woven into our history.

*Since writing this post there has been a terrorist attack on a mosque in Quebec City. A white Canadian gunned down innocent people in their house of worship. Even as I wrote this post, knowing that all of the above things have happened, it’s still a shock when it occurs. The gunman was a Canadian, a white supremacist, a terrorist, and he took the lives of six people. To those who were lost and those who grieve for them; Innalilahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon; To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.*

I think the difference between Canada and America in this case is more that we ignore a lot of it. The last residential school in Canada closed in 1996 and more than half the people I’ve talked to about residential schools had no idea they even existed and of those that did know, thought it was from “a long time ago”. Non-white women go missing and no one knows about it. Canada’s problems are not often broadcasted. We sweep them under the beautiful carpet of national parks and politeness.

I don’t bring all of this up to bad mouth Canada. I bring this up because the only way to combat these issues are to know about them. The world is polarizing and we can’t go into these conflicts uninformed. The best way to remove prejudices is to get to know the real story, the real people. Educate yourself so that you can educate others and every day we can move a little further from Canada’s dark history.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Erin

You can check out a little more here:

Park Prisoners  by Bill Waiser

Half-Breed  by Maria Campbell

http://www.tiff.net/films/we-were-children