Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Retroactively, Happy Canada Day

Yes, yes I’m late. I didn’t announce Happy Canada Day on July 1. I was out of town, away from my computer during Canada Day. Since I’m late I might as well add something of substance to this announcement.

Canada was founded 140 years ago. Immigration was encouraged and the underground railway had brought many seeking freedom to Canada. Canada was not, however, an equalitarian country.

Wealthy British men had the most rights and women couldn’t even vote. The government was officially racist and adopted a naively assimilationist attitude towards First Nations people.

Gradually, however, Canada became one of the most multicultural, tolerant, and progressive nations. This was a gradual, cumulative change, though the Canadian Multiculturalism Act accelerated this.

Multiculturalism is officially confined only by human rights in Canada, as it should be. There are still some grievances for past actions and the government needs to accommodate First Nations more for past injustices. There are also still some discriminatory ceremonial institutions, like the Monarchy.

The social safety net has expanded, not doubt in large part because of CCF/NDP efforts.
A lot has changed, for the better. There is still a lot to do. But Canada is better than it was before. It’s more tolerant, democratic, and pluralistic.

That is why I say Happy Canada Day and am proud to live within the borders of Canada.

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