Happy Canada Day 150+! Today we recognize the birth of a nation and the much longer history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit across this land.
This Canada Day we celebrate our 150th year since the Confederation of 1867.
This is not only a time for celebration. It is also a time for reflection–a time to reflect on the history upon which this country was built.
The Indigenous origins of this land predates 150 years — by many thousands of years. The Indigenous story is an enduring one that predates and includes Canadian history. Ours is a land of many nations.
We have much to be proud of as a country, such as opening our doors and hearts to welcome Syrian refugees. Over time, Canada has welcomed people from around the world. We’ve become a better, stronger nation because of our diversity.
In celebrating our past and our diversity, we cannot afford to be blind to our history. In this province and across Canada, Indigenous people continue to lack access to basic human rights like clean water, decent housing, and quality health care. We must recognize that in building this country, treaties were broken, land was taken unceded, and rights not respected. Government programs like Residential Schools and Sixties Scoops have had terrible repercussions for generations of people.
Today, we take the opportunity to reflect on this history, and look forward to the country we want to be in the next 150 years. Most importantly, we ask what we can do today to shape that future for present and future generations?
Today is a time to confront the truth and continue the conversation about how to foster reconciliation among the nations of this land. Canada can be a place that honours Indigenous rights and learns from the wisdom of Indigenous elders on how to be stewards of this land for the next 150 years–protecting it for the benefit of the next seven generations.
I sincerely hope that Canada 150 is a moment in history to celebrate the shared values that bind us–respect, truth, compassion, justice and a deep and abiding love for this land and the people who share it. In the spirit of reconciliation, we have hard work ahead of us as we try to achieve these values in action. I’m confident Canada is up for this challenge.
With this as our starting point, on behalf of the Green Party of Ontario, we wish everyone a Happy Canada 150+!