GILBERT: Canada Day brings us together; cancel culture tears us apart

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The whole of Canada is reeling from the overwhelming tragedy of Indigenous children who died and were buried in unmarked graves while attending residential schools.

No matter how saddened we are, most of us can never fully comprehend the pain and loss that is being felt by the children’s families, our fellow Canadians.

But now, in the negative spirit of the cancel culture, a significant number of people are using this dreadful tragedy to justify their demands to cancel Canada Day.

That’s a disservice that should be repugnant to all Canadians.

These misguided individuals want to kill the one day each year that joins us in celebration of the good things and the good people who have made this land of ours a great nation.

So when they try to cancel Canada Day on July 1, it’s time for us to stand up and say enough is enough.

There’s no benefit in tearing down something that, for 154 years, has united us, hand in hand.


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It is a time when Canadians from every province and territory rejoice in the greatness of our country.

It’s a rightful day of recognition for this multicultural nation of ours that includes First Nations, Metis and Inuit.

It’s true there was no national celebration of Canada for the first 12 years after Confederation because Nova Scotians thought they had been forced into the partnership.

But in 1879, annual festivities began and in 1917, Dominion Day really began to catch on.

By 1982, with the repatriation of the Constitution, the commemoration became known as Canada Day.

We know that people make mistakes, families make mistakes and certainly countries make mistakes. Canada is no exception.

How many times in the last six years have we seen the Prime Minister stand up and make tearful apologies for some of those mistakes?


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But cancel Canada Day? I don’t think so.

That would do nothing to respect Indigenous Canadians.

It would simply diminish all of us.

Of course, that’s not the way organizations like Idle No More see it, which has said, “We refuse to sit idle while Canada’s violent history is celebrated.”

Theirs is a philosophy that does nothing to ease the pain, nothing to bring us together.

Instead, Idle No More says it will “gather to honour all of the lives lost to the Canadian state – Indigenous lives, black Lives, migrant lives, women and trans and 2spirit lives – all of the relatives that we have lost. We will use our voices for MMIWG2S, child welfare, birth alerts, forced sterilization, police/RCMP brutality and all of the injustices we face.”


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Of course, we should not and will not forget the heartbreaks and wrongdoings of the past, but Canada Day is a time to come together, to rejoice and to celebrate the magnificence that is Canada.

Just ask Paul Michel, special adviser on Indigenous affairs to the president of Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

“I will always celebrate Canada Day,” he told the Toronto Star, “because I know lots of our allies are non-Indigenous and they stand beside us. It’d be tragic if we say, ‘eliminate Canada Day,’ because then I think the ugliness, the negative and the racism rules.”

No country is perfect, but no matter what the cancel culture tries to tell you, our Canada is one of the least racist, most tolerant in the world.

Our multi-racial society is an example to all and is widely recognized as a coveted destination for immigrants from far and wide.

So hands off Canada Day and all the good things it stands for.

Once again this year, I will proudly fly the flag of my country from the front porch for all my neighbours to see.

And woe betide the person who dares to set their hand against it.

— Col. Gilbert Taylor, (HCol. retired) is the immediate past president of the Royal Canadian Military Institute and Ontario branch of the Last Post Fund.


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