Canada’s 150th birthday an opportunity to showcase diversity of country’s citizens

Published: January 14, 2013

BALWANT SANGHERA
VANCOUVER DESI

In this 2011 file photo, a small group representing the Head Tax Families Society of Canada gathers at the Monument to Chinese Railway Workers and War Veterans in Vancouver, B.C. Friday, July 1, 2011 for the sixth annual Canada Rally. The group seeks an apology and redress from the federal government for head taxes imposed on Chinese immigrants from 1885 to 1923. Jason Payne/PNG files

Canada will be celebrating its 150th birthday in 2017.

The federal government has done the right thing by getting the process started well ahead of time. Planning for this big celebration throughout Canada is going to be quite complex and time-consuming. It will be a major milestone in this country’s history.

Canada’s 100th birth anniversary celebration that concluded with the Expo in Montreal in 1967 is still fondly remembered by Canadians. It gave a big boost to this country’s profile around the globe. The celebration in 2017 would give Canadians another opportunity and excuse to reflect and celebrate this country’s history, natural beauty, cultural diversity and a lot more. This year-long celebration will be an opportune time to encourage Canadians Рyoung and old Рto appreciate what a wonderful country Canada is.

In this context, the Canadian Museum of History will be a great setting to showcase Canada’s past. This museum is reported to already have a very large number of historical documents on display. However, there is one important document still missing from the archives. It is the 47-page British North America (BNA) Act of 1867. This is the document that gave birth to Canada. Thus, in a sense, it is Canada’s birth certificate. A birthday party won’t be complete without it. Let’s hope that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government, with the support of Canadian people, will prevail upon David Cameron and his government in London, to repatriate the BNA Act of 1867 to Canada as soon as possible. It will be a great gift from Great Britain to Canada.

Another thing that needs to be kept in mind while celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial is the drastic change in its demographics that has taken place during the past 50 or so years. Canada of 2013 is totally different from Canada of 1867 and even that of 1967. For the first 100 or so years of its existence, this country was made up mostly of the Aboriginals as well as people of European heritage in general and British and French heritage in particular.

The Aboriginal population, despite being the first settlers in this country, were marginalized to some extent. They didn’t even have the right to vote till 1949. They were joined by people of Chinese heritage in the 1850s. Later on, immigrants from Japan, India and few other countries called Canada their home. Unfortunately, along with the Aboriginals, immigrants from Asia had to suffer a lot of institutionalized discrimination, harassment, abuse and racism.

The Chinese Head Tax, residential schools for Native children, the Asian Exclusion Act, the Komagata Maru tragedy and treatment of the Japanese citizens during the Second World War are just some of the unfortunate chapters of Canada’s past.

However, this is all in the past.

All of these communities have moved on and contributed immensely to the growth and development of Canada. Today’s Canada is a great model of multiculturalism, multilingualism and intercultural harmony. Today, 35 million people belonging to more than 200 communities and speaking more than 200 languages from every corner of the globe proudly call Canada their home. This is what we should celebrate. 2017, Canada’s 150th birth anniversary, will be a great time to celebrate all of this from coast to coast to coast.

In order to do so the federal government should ensure that all of these communities are well represented in these celebrations. It will be an excellent time to showcase what Canadians have been able to achieve in every sphere during the past 150 years.

In this regard, a recent Ipsos-Reid poll of 1,021 Canadians conducted exclusively for Postmedia News and Global Television found that a vast majority of Canadians would like ordinary citizens, business leaders and private groups to plan the activities for the sesquicentennial. Of course, the federal Department of Canadian Heritage, along with the provincial and local governments, can greatly assist and support the citizens in making the festivities a truly grassroots, historic and memorable celebration.

Balwant Sanghera is a retired school psychologist and community activist.


Tags: , , , , ,





Featured

carleton-university-phd-student-selvan-mohan-is-trying-to-ra

International student in Ottawa launches campaign to raise money for new prosthetic leg

MEGHAN HURLEY OTTAWA CITIZEN A Carleton University PhD student from¬†Malaysia has launched¬†a fundraising campaign to replace his worn-out¬†prosthetic leg. Selvan Mohan, 24,¬†was born without a…
Continue Reading »

File photo: A nurse loads a syringe. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody

South Surrey clinic places public ‚Äėat risk,‚Äô says document filed in Supreme Court

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A South Surrey clinic has ‚Äúplaced members of the public at risk‚ÄĚ by falsely claiming to be naturopathic doctors and administering…
Continue Reading »

jail sex

B.C. Supreme Court to decide if Kamloops Mountie watching women have sex in jail is a crime

THE CANADIAN PRESS KAMLOOPS, B.C. ‚ÄĒ A judge wants to hear arguments from lawyers about the legality of the charge against an RCMP corporal accused…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

carleton-university-phd-student-selvan-mohan-is-trying-to-ra

International student in Ottawa launches campaign to raise money for new prosthetic leg

MEGHAN HURLEY OTTAWA CITIZEN A Carleton University PhD student from¬†Malaysia has launched¬†a fundraising campaign to replace his worn-out¬†prosthetic leg. Selvan Mohan, 24,¬†was born without a…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Sept. 13

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Sept. 13: On this date: In 1503, artist Michelangelo began work on his “David,” which would become…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Sept. 11

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Sept. 11: On this date: In 1541, Jacques Cartier reached the Lachine rapids above Montreal on his…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Elephant headed god

Gallery: India prepares to welcome elephant-headed Lord Ganesha

VANCOUVER DESI Preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival marking the birth of the elephant-headed god, have taken off in India as Hindus prepare to welcome…
Continue Reading »

India-Khatav-Akola,Maharashtra

Baby born with two faces in India fighting for life (Warning: Graphic content)

VANCOUVER DESI A baby born with two faces and four eyes is fighting for her life at a hospital in western India, according to Ruptly….
Continue Reading »

PRV0826-SOCIETYEVICTED_217653098

City of Vancouver gives multicultural society the boot

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Vancouver Multicultural Society‚Äôs 40th anniversary celebrations have hit a major snag after the city issued the group notice of eviction…
Continue Reading »

Mystic India: The World Tour takes the PNE stage Tuesday and runs until Sept. 1. Submitted photo.

Bollywood dance group Mystic India takes stage at PNE for one week only (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Internationally acclaimed Bollywood dance troupe Mystic India will be transporting Vancouver audiences overseas as it takes the PNE stage for one week only….
Continue Reading »

cen main.jpg

Woman in India survives hour-long battle with leopard, armed only with small agricultural tool

CEN NEWS A 54-year-old woman has astonished wildlife experts in India after she survived a terrifying hour-long battle with a hungry leopard. Widow Kamla Devi…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

hot photos desi actress bollywood sex

Gallery: Deepika Padukone photo shoot

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone, who is creating a lot of buzz with her upcoming film Finding Fanny, poses for the camera. Related Stories:…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood desi boobs sex

Bollywood’s bold babe Sherlyn Chopra strips for Playboy

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood actress Sherlyn Chopra marks the first-ever Indian model to pose for Playboy magazine, according to eonline.com. While the 30-year-old announced she‚Äôd be…
Continue Reading »

Imam Siddique

Imam Siddique excited about Bollywood debut

IANS Mumbai – Imam Siddique, best remembered for his appearance in reality show “Bigg Boss 6″, is making his Bollywood debut with a film titled…
Continue Reading »