Opinion: Canada's New Holiday Is Going To Be Horribly Hypocritical
A couple of months ago the government announced the creation of a new federal holiday in Canada. Known as the "National Day for Truth and Reconciliation" the holiday is supposedly to ensure that Canada's past treatment of Indigenous peoples is acknowledged.
READ ALSO: Montreal's Old Port Is Hosting A Giant Holiday Fireworks Festival
TL;DR Despite Canada recently announcing a federal holiday that would recognize and remember the country's dark past and treatment of Indigenous peoples, horrendous procedures were still being performed on Indigenous women as recently as 2017. That proves any type of holiday ensinuating that the country has progressed would be wrong.
The holiday definitely should have been created years ago, and many people were happy that the country was finally showing promise for progression and forward-thinking. It's about time we remember the country's dark past and stop sweeping things under the rug.
It looks like we may have spoken too soon, though. As right now it looks like Canada has taken giant leaps back in history to a time of oppression and racism.
As recently as 2017, dozens of Indigenous women who have given birth in Saskatchewan were not allowed to see their child until they had their tubes tied, cut, or cauterized.
The women would be harrassed by doctors immediately after labour, when their infant was taken from them. They would be coerced into signing consent forms that allowed the doctors to sterilize over 60 Indigenous women in the last 20 to 25 years. The women would not be given their babies until they agreed to the procedure.
Because of the procedure, many of these women have suffered from anxiety and depression. Some have attempted suicide. Last year, the Saskatoon Health Region apologized to the Indigenous women who underwent the sterilization against their will.
But is that really enough to reverse the damage that has been done? How can Canadians justify a holiday in remorse of the acts upon Indigenous peoples when only last year horrendous practices were still being performed on them?
If Canada's new holiday comes into effect (as of now, it looks like it will) in 2019, it will be horribly hypocritical. The country cannot pretend to move toward conciliation if it has yet to come to terms with the atrocities it has committed as recently as one year ago.
In sum, the new holiday represents a false narrative of putting an end to unethical practices. Holidays mean little is they are not followed by concrete action.
When will Canada finally learn from its mistakes?