Covid Journal, July 2, 2020
Canada Day – A Day to Celebrate, A Day to Reflect
We Canadians live in an incredible country. I admire how we’ve handled Covid-related issues.
Can we do better? Absolutely. I’ve gone into rants about all kinds of things Canadians can do to embrace the change that we want to be: renewable infrastructure, better education, jibes about our health care system being run by ‘Big Pharma’, improved non-car commuting paths and lanes and so on.
I took yesterday to reflect on these wonderful aspects of our society and then dove into this piece on Rabble.ca concerning our past genocide and general mistreatment of so many communities, especially those who are part of the ‘First Nations’ roots of the tree of our nation.
Since 2017, I have refused to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of Canada, because Canada, and many Canadians, continues along a path that fails to acknowledge our history of genocide, systemic racism and the dearth of meaningful remedial action that’s needed for true reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
This year is different because COVID-19 has shown Canada to be a country that is inequitable to Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC); 2SLGBTQIA+ folk; disabled folk; the working poor and those living in poverty, as well as the migrant workers who grow and harvest our food, take care of our children and elderly, and do the work Canadians refuse to. All of these folks are more vulnerable to the coronavirus and generally have more serious outcomes, especially when experiencing several intersecting oppressions.
It’s imperative that voices from all marginalized communities are included in designing the post-pandemic vision of Canada. However, these voices need support from privileged Canadians who often have more import with representatives at various levels of government. So, in order to be ready when called upon to be an ally, here are some resources that will help you see life through a Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) lens to better inform your allyship.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has put together a booklet called “Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.” The booklet is divided into three sections: the ten principles of reconciliation; the 94 calls to action; and the 46 articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
These documents are essential to repairing relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. The calls to action are specific actions that need to be undertaken to redress the residential school legacy and promote reconciliation. UNDRIP establishes and maintains mutual respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
Resources suggested in the article include the following:
- Spirit Bear and Children Make History.
- Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada: Truth and Reconciliation; First Nations; Inuit; Metis
- Future History, a hsitorical review of First Nations people in Canada
- UBC’s #MuseumsAreNotNeutral: White Supremacy in Museums and Calls for Immediate Action
Dig in and be prepared to feel a little uncomfortable. I know I will be.
Yesterday, a referendum was held that would allow changes to the Russian constitution that would in turn allow the current President to run the country … pretty much as long as he wants.
The opposition accused the government of rigging the vote.
Russia’s constitution had required Putin to step down after his current six-year term expires in 2024.
The amendments to the constitution up for the referendum vote had been passed weeks ago by Russia’s parliament, but Putin had insisted that they be approved by voters to give the changes legitimacy.
In addition to a reset of presidential terms allowing him to run twice more, the referendum includes some 200 other amendments, including guaranteed minimum pensions, a ban on same-sex marriage and an affirmation of the Russian people’s belief in God.
This is grim news for the world.