A discussion – Who are We as Canadians?
On my father’s side of the family, I am 3rd generation Canadian. On my mother’s side of the family, it is believed ours is a line that reaches as far back as the first French settlers to come to Canada. I am an amalgam of European heritage – Scottish, Norwegian (Scandinavian both from maternal and paternal sides), Dutch, and Metis. That’s part of my genetic makeup, but certainly does not make me uniquely Canadian; just one of the millions of Canadians with a similar family history. We’re a nation of immigrants and, before that, a nation of usurpers.
The face we like to present to the world is one of kindness, morality, and equality. Good Canadian values include being respectful, peaceful, nature-loving, and well-mannered. I think we have, as a nation, always hoped that that is, in fact, who we are. I just can’t personally reconcile that as being true as I sit safely in my large home on my thirty-some acres of land, watching the morning news on my needlessly large tv. I am a privileged, white, Canadian woman.
I have always prided myself on being compassionate, intelligent, and hard-working. I wonder now if that pride has been misplaced, because of my privilege. Simply being born white automatically gave me an edge, nothing that I’d earned, simply inherited with no real merit. Added to my ingrained GenX self-loathing, guilt is often my close companion, as I mostly feel deserving of what I have and entitled to seek more. I envy people who have more, and look down on those who have less. That’s just…gross.
What I’ve been seeing on my tv the last few days is probably what has me in such a state of self-reflection – something that I’m both grateful for and saddened by. I’m grateful that, as Canadians, we are afforded the right to peaceful protest. I’m saddened that people can no longer seem to differentiate between peaceful protest and illegal occupation. I’m ashamed that there are Canadian citizens who feel so empowered or emboldened by their WHITE PRIVILEGE that they expect that they should be allowed to bully, harass, and denigrate citizens of our Capital city with impunity. That fellow Canadians feel entitled to inflict hardship or suffering on a population already struggling after years of pandemic restrictions.
I am disappointed, so disappointed, that the word FREEDOM is being used to mask bigotry, inflict hate, and derail months and years of hard work to put ourselves in a better position to survive a deadly disease. It is a slap in the face to those of us that have done all the “right” things, made the hard choices, and tried to recover from devastating economic hardships and skyrocketing inflation.
Further, I’m sad. It never occurred to me that the Capital of Canada would ever, EVER need to be occupied by a massive police presence to ensure the safety and continuity of our democratic process. That a year on from seeing an insurrection in Washington, DC, we would have our own illegal occupation. That our international bridges would be under siege by a fringe segment of the population who just simply refuses to comply. A small percentage of our population feels that they have endured too much and will now work to “fix” Canada. They actually feel that we should not only thank them, but support them in their nefarious endeavors.
I feel that we are not the Canadians we have long thought we were. I would say that we do a disservice to our forefathers, however the mass graves of deceased aboriginal children we continue to discover say that perhaps we are simply furthering the dream of our forefathers. Maybe it has always been Canada’s destiny to do only for ourselves and to hell with anyone who stands in our way. Why better ourselves, if we were born better to begin with? Canada has an identity crisis.
Upper Montague Township