I love this country and I love being Canadian. And today I want the fireworks to fly, the music to blare, and the barbecues to fire up. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate! We’re one of the most respected countries in the world and, according to some polls, the most respected.
We’re also a diverse family with unresolved problems and a lot of hard work to do. The Indigenous people of Canada were displaced and subjugated through violence and deceit, and that is how Canada transformed from their homeland into their prison and crucible. To celebrate Canada demands a recognition of the many miles left in our journey to create a united and peaceful nation… and the enormity of suffering that takes place until we make that journey.
In Canada, suicide rates among Native youth between 15 and 24 is six times higher than that of non-Native youth.
Canada’s last residential school closed in 1996… just one year before my daughter was born.
Native women are five times as likely to be murdered or go missing than non-Native women.
I’m sharing a song I wrote called “1,000 Red Dresses” today because I believe the only way to mark this historic Canada Day is to be grateful for the good and to open our eyes to the remaining, persistent challenges of helping this country reach its potential greatness.