This year is a cause to both celebrate and commemorate.
As we mark the 150th year of Confederation, we should take this time to reflect on our past and look toward the future.
From Insulin to poutine, there are so many incredible reasons to celebrate this wonderful country. Our linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, our rich history and heritage, our artistic and scientific contributions to the world are all things that Canadians should take pride in. People all across the country are coming together to mark this amazing milestone and our government is ensuring communities have the resources they need to create a lasting legacy of Canada's birthday for generations to come. But for every joyous reason to celebrate Canada 150, we must also take the time to commemorate, to reflect and to continue working toward reconciliation. The impacts of colonization, as First Nations artist Kent Monkman's recent Canada 150 exhibition 'Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience' pointed out, is still all around us. We must acknowledge that for centuries, Canadian governments have discriminated against Indigenous people. We are the country that produced the Canadarm but we are also the country responsible for the disturbing legacy of residential schools. We should celebrate our achievements as a country, but we cannot shy away from our country's dark past. Achieving reconciliation means working with Indigenous people to ensure a more prosperous country. It can be difficult to reconcile, but it's up to us to acknowledge our historical wrongs and move toward a more respectful and inclusive society. Canada 150 is a time to celebrate and commemorate but it is also an opportunity to discuss our past with an optimistic view of our next 150 years. Reconciliation won't be easy, and there will be bumps along the way, but we have to work together and we have to work tirelessly to shape a better future for everyone.
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North