Friday, 29 December 2017

CANADA DAY 2017

TODAY WE ARE CELEBRATING THE 150TH BIRTHDAY OF OUR COUNTRY – 150 YEARS SINCE CONFEDERATION.
WE ARE A YOUNG COUNTRY.
 BUT IN OUR SHORT TIME AS A COUNTRY WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED A GREAT DEAL.
WE ARE A COUNTRY THAT HAS CHOSEN DIVERSITY RATHER THAN EXCLUSION. AND TODAY THAT IS DEFINITELY ONE OF OUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTES AND STRENGTHS.
WE HAVE MADE MISTAKES IN OUR PAST, AND DOUBTLESS WILL MAKE MORE IN THE FUTURE.
THERE ARE SOME MISTAKES THAT CARRY GREAT SHAME AND GUILT- FOR EXAMPLE: THE KOMAGATA MARU INCIDENT IN 1914; THE TREATMENT AND INCARCERATION OF JAPANESE CANADIANS IN WW 2; AND PROBABLY THE WORST OF ALL – THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM .

I AM TRULY GRATEFUL TO HAVE CHIEF HARLEY CHAPPELL HERE TODAY TO DELIVER HIS BLESSING AND HIS TEACHING, AND TO WELCOME US TO THE SEMIAHMOO TRADITIONAL LANDS AS WE CELEBRATE CANADA DAY.
ON APRIL 25, 1999 TWO TOTEMS WERE RAISED IN WHAT IS KNOWN AS TOTEM PARK. THE POLES WERE COMMISSIONED TO ACCOMPLISH 2 THINGS : FIRST, TO COMMEMORATE THE 125TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE RCMP, AND SECOND, TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND APOLOGIZE FOR THE WRONGS THAT WERE VISITED UPON THE FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE BY THE RCMP IN EXECUTING THE MOST WRONG – MINDED LAW WE HAVE EVER HAD – THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM , WHICH BASICALLY TRIED TO DESTROY A PEOPLES CULTURE AND CULTURAL MEMORIES.
IN ESSENCE, THE RAISING OF THESE TOTEMS WAS THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS RECONCILIATION – 10 YEARS BEFORE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDERTOOK THE SAME CAUSE, AND 18 YEARS BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT REMOVED THE NAME OF HECTOR LANGEVIN, ONE OF THE ACKNOWLEDGED FATHERS OF CONFEDERATION, FROM THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING IN OTTAWA, BECAUSE LANGEVIN WAS ONE OF THE STRONGEST ADVOCATES OF THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM.
CONSEQUENTLY, THE TOTEMS HAVE A SHARED VALUE – THEY  HONOUR THE CULTURES OF BOTH OUR COMMUNITIES, AND THEY HONOUR THE ROLE OF THE RCMP – WHO ARE HERE TODAY PROVIDING US WITH PROTECTION AND SECURITY.

SO, WITH THAT IN MIND TODAY, WE ARE CELEBRATING AND ACKNOWLEDGING OUR SHARED HISTORY.
AT TIMES IT HAS BEEN DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING TO REFLECT UPON, BUT IN OTHER INSTANCES IT IS INSPIRING AND EXEMPLIFIES THE VALUES THAT DEFINE US TODAY AS CANADIANS. SUCH VALUES PROMPTED FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. , BARRACK OBAMA TO DECLARE “THE WORLD NEEDS MORE CANADA”.
WE ARE TRULY BLESSED TO LIVE IN SUCH AN INCREDIBLE COUNTRY.
IN 2017, THE U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT RANKED CANADA NO. 1 OUT OF 80 FOR QUALITY OF LIFE , AND WHEN ALL OTHER FACTORS INCLUDING CULTURAL INFLUENCE, ENTRPRENEURSHIP , AND BEING OPEN FOR BUSINESS, WERE FACTORED IN WE CAME SECOND ONLY TO SWITZERLAND.
THERE ARE OTHER ATTRIBUTES THAT MAKE US TRULY GREAT:
DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW.
A RELATIVELY PEACEFUL AND UNIFIED POPULATION.
AND RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND MULTICULTURALISM.



WE ARE A PEACEFUL COUNTRY, BUT THAT PEACEFUL DEMEANOR DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE CANNOT STEP UP WHEN IT COUNTS AS WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY SHOWN AT THE SOMME, VIMY, DIEPPE, JUNO BEACH, THE SCHELDT, KAPYONG IN KOREA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, AND KANDAHAR.
AND THEN WE HAVE THE SNOWBIRDS.
SO YES, WE HAVE A LOT TO BE PROUD OF.
DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH, SO LET US ALL STRIVE TO ENSURE A BETTER FUTURE FOR SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS OF CANADIANS OF ALL ETHNIC ORIGINS. TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER.

HAPPY CANADA DAY , EVERYONE

No comments:

Post a Comment