Today is Canada Day. Because in 1867 the British North America Act took effect, creating the nation of Canada. Just after the US had finished our Civil War and despite the fact that twice the US had tried to take part of Canada for ourselves – in the Revolution and in the War of 1812. Like the US their national anthem did not become officially recognized until way after it was composed and was being sung regularly.
The Star Spangled Banner was written in 1814 during the War of 1812 but was not officially adopted as the national anthem until 1931.”O Canada” was composed in 1880 but was not formally adopted as the national anthem until 1980.
Unfortunately, the US and Canada have other similar experiences. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in the US and in 1923 on this date, the Canadian Parliament suspended all Chinese immigration, which lasted until the laws were repealed in 1947. And over the recent years, there have been more and more revelations about the treatment of First Nations tribal members, including abusive treatment of children in residential schools. This includes taking children away from their homes, denying culture, and even forbidding children from speaking their mother tongue. And there were kids who never left the schools but were buried there.
We are tempted to chide Canadians, but we have much history in the US with some of the same behavior. We both have much to atone for, as both our histories have shown. And on this date, Canada Day, we should stop and ponder this and think about what we as individuals can do to pursue equal treatment and plow the way for those who have borne the scourge of discrimination to have more opportunities. Those who were not born into the dominant culture of their nation. We owe it to all of them.