Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Much to Celebrate, Much to Protest

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Much to Celebrate, Much to Protest

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Much to celebrate, much to protest

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An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published June 29:

On Canada's 150th anniversary, there is much to celebrate and there is much to protest.

In 1967, as Canada marked its centennial, there was little protest because there was, at least on the surface, only one Canada.

It was white and mostly English.

Critics of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms blame its adoption for the fracturing of Canada but those forces were already at work long before 1982.

During the 1970s, Rene Levesque and the Quebec separatist movement introduced the rest of Canada to French nationalism.

At the same time, the Cree were winning court cases against the Quebec government for the James Bay hydroelectric development, the first time Canada's aboriginal community had successfully made a legal case for settlement rights.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the idea of "two founding nations" took hold with Canada's two official languages enshrined.

As Canada has moved deeper into the 21st century and its 150th birthday approached, that vision of Canada has also evolved, in recognition of the multiple nations of indigenous people that lived in this country long before Samuel de Champlain and the wave of European settlers arrived.

While First Nations stories and voices have been increasingly heard during the last 50 years, there is much work to be done before Canada's bicentennial.

The last residential school only closed 20 years ago and there are numerous other issues, from missing and murdered women to reserves to the scourge of substance abuse to the lack of treaties, to confront.

The last half-century has seen some progress in how indigenous peoples in Canada are treated but it will take at least another 50 to address the damage done to their culture by racism and colonialism in the first 100 years of Canada, as well as the previous 350 years of European settlement.

This process is happening simultaneous to a broader recognition of many groups that have experienced discrimination over Canada's history, starting with women and extending to those of different religion, race and sexual preference. …

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