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Canada Day 2019: A Time to Celebrate, But Also to Reflect

June 29th, 2019 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, as we approach Canada Day 2019, can we address some of our fraying edges?

There is much to celebrate about this land we call home as it approaches its 152nd birthday. On July 1st, our hearts will swell as we take pride in our great nation.

We have the second largest land mass of all the countries in the world. This translates to the unique geography that we so treasure – from the West Coast mountains and old-growth rain forest, the wide-open spaces of the prairies and the rocky face of the Canadian Shield to the rugged shores and windswept beaches of the East Coast.

We are one of the most culturally diverse nations on the planet. In the province of Ontario alone, over 25% of the population is foreign born.

Canada is a secular and tolerant society. All religions are free to worship as they wish.

We have a global reputation as one of the world’s safest, most affluent countries with low crime and a clean environment.

And, of course, our very own Toronto Raptors are the reigning NBA champions!

But it is not all rainbows and butterflies. There are ways in which we fall short as a nation. It only takes a few minutes of web surfing to reveal them. We need to open our eyes to these realities and commit to addressing them.

235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year – 35,000 on any given night. 50,000 Canadians experience hidden homelessness such as couch-surfing, sleeping in a car or other precarious housing.

1 in 7 (or 4.9 million) people in Canada live in poverty. Precarious employment has increased by almost 50% in the last two decades.

Our treatment of Indigenous People – First Nations, Metis and Inuit – leaves much to be desired. Indigenous people are overrepresented in the homeless population – 1 in 4 people experiencing homeless identify as Aboriginal or First Nations.

An estimated 1,200 Indigenous women or girls have been murdered or gone missing – a sobering fact that some characterize as “race-based genocide”.

Many First Nations lack access to clean drinking water. 400 of 618 First Nations were under at least one water advisory between 2004 and 2014.

I am not saying that we should not be proud of our country. On July 1st, we should sing its praises loud and clear and unabashedly wave the flag. But we should also carve out some time to reflect on what we can do better.

Our well-known Canadian politeness is a metaphor for who we are. But this Canada Day, let’s commit to addressing some of the fraying edges of that metaphor so all can share equally in it.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at

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