EDITORIAL: A unique identity worth celebrating

Canada's multi-cultural landscape – and sometimes unsavoury history – meant to be remembered

This past long weekend, Canadians coast to coast celebrated the 146th anniversary of our nation’s founding.

There is much to celebrate. Earlier this year, Canada was ranked the third-best country to live in by the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD), and we are consistently ranked high in the United Nations’ Human Development Index.

By any yardstick you choose, Canadians enjoy a standard of life far above that of the rest of the world. However, sometimes it seems we don’t realize how good we have it. For the majority of us, our claim to citizenship is merely an accident of birth – we are the lucky few who started life in a society that values peace, education, and public welfare, as well as prosperity.

If you ever want to truly understand how good we have it, talk to one of the seven million Canadians who immigrated from around the world.

For Canada’s immigrants, being a part of this great nation was a choice, one that may have brought some hardship, but also great reward.

Canada has always been an immigrant nation. The first people to settle in what we now know as Canada came not on a boat, but via the Bering Sea land bridge more than 20,000 years ago.

The French and English were the first European immigrants to arrive on our shores in the 1500s. By the late 1800s, Eastern Europeans were recruited to help expand Canada westward across the Prairies. As B.C. established Canada’s presence on the Pacific Rim, so, too, has it opened its doors to Asian immigration.

It hasn’t always been an easy transition, however.

In the past, when cultures clashed in Canada, what resulted was unjust and often violent. And while it is important to celebrate the great achievements of our forefathers each Canada Day, it is equally important to remember the many dark chapters in our history, so that we learn from them and ensure they are never repeated.

Episodes such as the the Chinese head tax, the Komagata Maru incident, the residential school system and the shameful confiscation of property of Japanese-Canadian internees during the Second World War still resound today.

Today, as always, Canada is a nation of immigrants. It is what makes us unique, and what makes us great. Each culture that has come to Canada has brought with it its own customs and traditions, and in so doing, has added to Canadian society and to the Canadian identity.

And we are all the better for it.

Just Posted

Accused Surrey transit cop shooter’s bail hearing set for April

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, is accused of shooting Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27

House fire in South Surrey

Emergency crews seen racing towards 160 Street and 28 Avenue

White Rock’s Cliff Annable ‘lived a life that mattered’

Hundreds gather to remember affable 71-year-old

FOCUS: New arena, more ice in Surrey – but will it be enough for everyone?

With both rinks to close at North Surrey rec, the result is a net gain of one ice sheet this fall

Pair of men charged in three robberies in Surrey, Delta

Charged are Karmal Singh Grewal, 26, of Vancouver and Gursimran Sahota, 21, of Surrey

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Chilliwack grad says modest dress codes don’t protect girls from assault

Sardis alumni was ‘catcalled, harassed, and groped by my male classmates’ despite modest clothing

Most Read

l -->