On Canada

blue-water-bridge-crossing-2008-07-03-james-bow.jpegI love my country. My country is flawed. Both these statements are true.

We've muted our Canada Day celebrations these past few years in acknowledgement of the fact that we're built on a legacy which sadly includes dispossession and cultural genocide, and we still haven't come close to making redress. There are still indigenous communities out there who are forced to boil their water (although this number is decreasing). We still have far too much inequality, with whole classes of people locked out of a meaningful role in our economy and society. We have people who are forced to view our police with suspicion. We have people who suffer racist attacks, denial of their identities or genders, and erasure. As good as my life has been in Canada, it's a privilege that's been built on the legacy of darker things. My country is flawed.

But one of the great things about my country. is that I can say that it is flawed. Nobody is going to throw me in jail for doing so. Nobody important is going to call me names or try to shout me down. A goodly number of people will agree with me. Most of us do not say "Canada, love it or leave it"; we acknowledge the rights of the people who live here to demand better from their government and from society. And because of this, the possibility always exists that these flaws will be identified and fixed, and that Canada will be made better for it.

We have a lot of work to do, and too many of us (myself included) seem too slow to make change happen, but as long as we are open to the idea that change is needed, as long as we are open to the idea that we can make that change happen, change will come.

I love many things about my country. I'm ashamed of certain things about my country. But I most love the fact that there are people here who point out that shame and demand better, and that many of us are willing to listen to them to bring that better world about.

So I celebrate Canada Day, with the understanding that once the holiday is done, we need to get back to work.

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