Terence D’Souza

The term “country” is defined as a nation with its own government that occupies a territory (Oxford Dictionary). Some might doubt the importance of the definition, but to understand our Canada, we must understand the reasons why this great nation was formed 150 years ago, by smart and innovative leaders.
In today’s world, with all our distractions, we overlook what this country has given us. We forget that Sir John. A. Macdonald fought to unite our provinces together and for our freedoms. Our right to post on the internet is because of the freedom of speech; our right to meet publicly is because of the freedom of peaceful assembly. Also, something as simple as reading the news is made possible because of the freedom of press. We have progressed significantly, debated many issues in the Supreme Court and tested the boundaries of our justice system. Our founding fathers united us because they believed that a united Canada was a stronger Canada. They made rules for us, established the simple fact that no one person is above the law, and created an excellent constitution. Men like George-Etienne Cartier set up a system of government that until this day remains irrefutable. With three levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal, they realized that there was always accountability and no one person was in charge. BY aiding allied nations, the values of diplomacy were introduced. In 150 years, this system has grown from what it was, and will continue to grow with the times we live in. As the world evolves, so does our government, our laws and our values. However, one thing is for sure, these cornerstones of our nation will evolve for the betterment of society.
From time to time, we tend to forget where our country began. Long before anyone could remember, Canada was inhabited solely by Indigenous Peoples who lived off the land. Before industrialization, or the wars between First Nations’ tribes was the peace and tranquility of Aboriginals and their spiritual care for this Earth. Aboriginals have been an integral part of this Canadian identity. They’ve helped with the shaping of our land and have been an asset in sharing their medical knowledge with early settlers. Amongst all the support they have provided, there are also setbacks because of what the settlers had done to them. They hurt the relationship between the Crown and the Aboriginal peoples in many ways. A major example of this would be the unfair treaties that the Canadian government put forth towards the Aboriginals regarding ownership of land. The Aboriginals were offered the idea of reserves which they found to be adequate, but soon after, they realized that it wasn’t a fair deal.

Another immense example of their unfair treatment is when Aboriginal children were taken out of their homes and put in residential schools, which did much harm to the relationship because those children were taken away for a long part of their life and all of this just to further the government’s goal of assimilation. Over the years, Aboriginals have received much unfair and discriminative treatment. Aboriginal women have a high rate of abduction and many have gone missing (NARINE, 2016), and Aboriginal children are most-likely to drop out of school because of the conditions they live in (MCCLURE, 2014). Reserves are faltering out of control, with over-crowded houses and poor quality of life (COMMISSO, 2013). However today, Canada is starting to repent and apologize for its mistakes. In 1992, a Royal Commission on Aboriginals was created, to understand and acknowledge the problems that faces Canada’s indigenous peoples. Under the leadership of our prime minister, our country is starting to rebuild our relationship with those that were here before us. Just recently, a commission was created by the Canadian government called the Truth and

Reconciliation Commission of Canada completed in 2015. This document encompassed all the needs, concerns, and appropriate steps needed to be taken to fix our relationship with the Indigenous Peoples. These first steps to help the community are essential to continue working on this problem and repair the damage done to the connection between the settlers and the Aboriginal peoples.
In regards to diversity, our founding fathers would be very proud. We became everything they envisioned and more. Today, Canada is known for being a diverse nation that partakes in the global objective of peace and development. Diversity often divides countries, whether it be the diversity of culture or religion. Yet, Canada is the exact opposite, our diversity unites us in a common cause. That cause is a better life, a better future for the generations after us and the endless opportunities that we can provide them with. Most of all, we are an accepting nation, that let many Europeans settle in the 1900s and the refugees from Syria in 2015. We did all of this simply because it was the right thing to do. If I were asked today to give this nation a motto, I would answer “unity in diversity”. That motto doesn’t just speak to diversity of culture, but diversity of religion, beliefs, work, industry and gender. The real Canadian identity is that we can always bring people in to be part of something greater. This is who we are, Canadians that care.
In 150 years, our nation has grown to be strong with peacekeeping missions in many countries from Rwanda to Sudan. Amongst other reasons for our nation’s pride we have cultivated a strong economy. When it comes to education, we rank as having the 7th best educa-tion system in the world (CHATIN, 2016) (SHEPHERD, 2010), with expertise in the sciences and literature. We have an effective and im-pactful presence in the U.N. that pushes for an agenda of peace. Our love for the rights of equality and justice has brought together agreements like the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the decision to make same-sex marriage legal far before our neighboring countries. As a nation, we have grown to be so much better, and that is because of our laws and our policies that uphold our values of peace, justice, equity, and democracy. Our accomplishments, our memories, our failures and successes will continue to stay with us because that is who we are.
Works Cited:
Chatin, Johnny. “20 Best Education Systems In The World.” MBC Times. MBC Times, 09 Feb. 1970. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Commisso, Christina. “Canada faces a ‘crisis’ on aboriginal reserves: UN investigator.” CTVNews. 25 Jan. 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
McClure, Matt. “Aboriginal students twice as likely to drop out in Alberta.” Calgary Herald. 03 May 2014. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Narine, Shari. “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.” Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls | Windspeaker- AM MSA. AMMSA, 3 May 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Shepherd, Jessica . “World education rankings: which country does best at reading, maths and science?” The Guardian. Guardian News and Me-dia, 07 Dec. 2010. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
TRC Secretariat. “Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.” Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.