I have never much liked Canada Day. Oh, the fireworks were a blast but an awful lot of the celebration seemed to me to be less about love of country and more about feeling smug. Last year the celebrations were virtual due to COVID, this year they are to be muted because unmarked graves have been found at the sites of residential schools. Apparently we are to have a day of reflection.
It is precisely this sort of moral preening which put me off Canada Day. I hate to say it but we’ve all known about the residential schools and their failings for decades. “Discovering” the graves of children who went there is horrific but, again, we knew that children died in those schools. But this year we are supposed to “reflect” on this fact.
This is typically Canadian. We’re going to reflect on the fact of the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of children while, essentially ignoring the current, awful conditions on many First Nations reserves.
If this country had any leadership at all, the Prime Minister, the leaders of the Opposition Parties and all of the Provincial Premiers would sit down and figure out how to, in the next year, get potable water to every First Nations reserve in Canada. Never mind the cost. Just get this basic thing done
Reflect on history all you want but start addressing the basic needs of First Nation Canadians as a matter of urgent, national, priority.