LEVY: Canadians should be proud on Canada Day

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I’m very proud of this country of ours.

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Each of Canada’s provinces has its own special beauty. I’ve been to all of them and the people I’ve met have been immensely friendly, even to those of us from what they laughingly call the “centre of the universe” (meaning Toronto).

But this Canada Day I think we should be particularly proud of the resilience of Canadians from coast to coast who endured 16 months of recurring lockdowns due to the COVID pandemic, job losses, bankruptcies, isolation from their families and friends, shifting rules, death and loss — all with strength and grit.

We were forced to endure weak leadership at all levels of government by politicians who were far too slow to lock down the vulnerable when the pandemic arrived in Canada, even though they had ample warnings from Europe.

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To make up for their indecisiveness at the outset last March they continue to instill fear in some Canadians with punishing rules, even as many have been vaccinated.

The vaccine rollout was a giant hot mess at the federal level when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put far too much faith in a Chinese vaccine trial, which fell through. We became the laughing stock globally for lagging so far behind.

  1. A street sign for Dundas St. W. in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday June 10, 2020.

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  2. A man waves a flag during a Canada Day parade in Montreal, on July 1, 2018.

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  3. A memorial on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School is seen in Kamloops, B.C., June 5, 2021.

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Let’s not forget the nearly 4,000 seniors whose lives were cut short when the pandemic raged through Ontario long-term care homes that were not given proper cohorting or infection control plans and who were dangerously short-staffed.

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Trudeau — who refused to shut the border to air traffic until well into the new year — suddenly issued draconian and costly hotel quarantine rules in February, which largely punished those who’d already been vaccinated. Border security guards were given the power to harass and fine Canadians like we were living in a communist country.

As of this writing, Ontario is just emerging from a long and highly unnecessary lockdown that has essentially shut restaurants, small business, nail salons, hairdressers and gyms for seven months — instilled by a panicked premier who took his marching orders from the pollsters and “health experts.”

But we all endured the ridiculous edicts, the abuse of power by lowly bureaucrats, administrators of seniors homes and at times, the police, the loneliness, the loss of loved ones and the sheer laziness of our government officials and those operating publicly funded construction projects who used COVID as an excuse not to do their jobs.

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It is for this reason I have refused to cancel Canada Day, as many politicians would have us do out of guilt for the treatment of the country’s Indigenous.

I respect those who have — but my concern is that government doesn’t care and won’t listen.

The discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves of Indigenous children on the grounds of residential schools — as has occurred in the past three weeks — is horrific.

It breaks one’s heart.

But why are we forcing Canadians to feel ashamed when the blame lies squarely at the feet of government?

For heaven’s sake, how many promises did Trudeau make to the Indigenous in this country to get elected — all of which have been broken or unfulfilled.

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Let’s start with his pledge in 2015 to remove safe drinking water advisories by 2021. Now that may not occur until 2023-24 at the earliest, COVID being one of the excuses for the delays. Unacceptable.

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We can’t forget his unfulfilled promise to establish meaningful nation-to-nation reconciliation and improved post-secondary education opportunities. Unacceptable.

But perhaps most telling of his lack of respect for the Indigenous was his decision to throw Jody Wilson-Raybould, his first Indigenous Attorney General, under the bus for doing her job. She now sits as an independent. Highly unacceptable.

The bottom line is that we as Canadians should be immensely proud of our country, in spite of its flaws, and should not feel like we need to cancel Canada Day.

What really should be cancelled are politicians who make promises they have no intention of keeping.

SLevy@postmedia.com

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