The Future of Canada's Day


Convivium, 19 July 2017

Indigenous accusations of genocide made our 150th birthday a day of repentance with sporadic fireworks, says Father Raymond J. de Souza. That's not good for Canada. It's even worse for Aboriginal Canadians.

I certainly enjoyed this year’s festivities for Canada 150 in Ottawa, mainly because I spent my time at the inspiring events put on by my Cardus colleagues for our Faith in Canada 150 project. But as I watched those taking part in the official ceremonies, I wondered if they’ve thought of Canada Day 2017 as the last one.

There will of course be observances called “Canada Day” in future years on July 1, though the calendar is rather chock full of national observances at that time, from gay pride month to National Indigenous Day. Marking Confederation might prove to be a bit of an anti-climatic bother. In any case, it won’t be marked in the same celebratory way.

Canada 150 was ostensibly about the Acts of Confederation in 1867. But there were objections that to celebrate 1867 implied that somehow nothing of value took place beforehand. In particular, it was suggested that the whole affair negated the presence of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples before Confederation, and therefore Canada 150 was an aggressive act, the latest in centuries of European aggression toward Indigenous Canadians. These voices grew to the point that by the time Canada Day 2017 rolled around, the brutality of Canada toward its Indigenous inhabitants was actually the dominant news story.

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