July 1 is Canada Day, commemorating the founding of the Canadian state. But what does it mean to be Canadian? In the traditional Canada that existed before the 1960s the answer was clear: Traditional Canada was defined by the culture of its founding peoples—the British and the French—the latter mostly centered in the province of Quebec. The founding document of the Dominion of Canada, the 1867 British North America Act, included aboriginal peoples insofar as they were traditionally considered to be under the special protection of the British Crown.
Today, the celebration of Canada Day is under a permanent black cloud after the discovery in 2021 of 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School, in Saskatchewan; 215 unmarked graves of children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, in British Columbia; 182 unmarked graves at the former St. Eugene’s Mission School, near Cranbrook, British Columbia; and over 160 unmarked graves near the former Kuper Island Residential School, near Vancouver, British Columbia. The treatment of these bodies have been used to indict Canadian history and the former Indian residential school system, which was run, during different periods, by both the Catholic Church and the Canadian government.
“There may be reasons why they wouldn’t record the deaths properly and that they weren’t treated with dignity and respect because that was the whole purpose of the residential school … to take total control of Indian children, to remove their culture, identity and connection to their family,” University of British Columbia historian Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond told Canada’s CBC broadcast network.
The several weeks between June 2021 and September 2021 marked an apogee of negativity and hatred towards traditional Canada. As of August 2021, two dozen mostly Roman Catholic churches had been burnt to the ground or damaged by arson, and dozens more churches had been vandalized. The losses have included numerous churches on aboriginal reserves, a historic Polish Roman Catholic church in Saskatchewan, and a Coptic Orthodox church in British Columbia. The official federal government response was muted and dilatory.
And, on Canada Day 2021, statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II located on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature were torn down. Only one person was arrested—a counterdemonstrator who had tried to stop the destruction. On that same day, the statue of Captain James Cook in Victoria, British Columbia, was toppled and thrown into the harbor.
Even before Canada Day 2021, a howling mob had torn down the statue of Egerton Ryerson in downtown Toronto. Ryerson, a 19th century reformer and public education pioneer, has been latterly identified as one of the villains of the Indian residential school system. The statue was decapitated, and the head was placed on a pike at “Land Back Lane,” as the CBC reported. The major downtown Toronto public university, named after Ryerson, has decided posthaste to change its name.
There have also been calls to remove statues of Canada’s illustrious founding Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, who has also been latterly identified as an anti-aboriginal villain. Some of these statues, for example, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and Kingston, Ontario, were removed at the order of the municipal authorities. On Aug. 14, 2021, a woke mob toppled the statue of Macdonald in Hamilton, Ontario after the city council voted to let it remain standing.
In January and February of this year, the truckers’ Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, among other protests against vaccine mandates, was met with the unprecedented declaration of the Emergencies Act by the current Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The demonstrators had been characterized as “far-right,” and “white supremacists.” Masses of police were unleashed against the mostly peaceful demonstrators, and the government authorized the freezing of bank accounts of those who were part of the protest or had contributed to it, either through Go Fund Me or Give Send Go crowdfunding. The Emergencies Act was revoked on Feb. 23, 2022, as the demonstrations had been suppressed and many of the demonstrators arrested. It was also remotely possible that the Canadian Senate would refuse to pass the Act.
Trudeau has now cemented his minority government by way of an alliance with the socialist New Democratic Party (NDP), giving him a comfortable majority in the Canadian House of Commons. By offering over C$600 million to the legacy media, C$1.4 billion to the CBC, and by bringing in a raft of legislation to monitor and take down “hate speech” on the Internet, Trudeau has assured himself a friendly media environment.
The upholding of current-day multicultural and gender-politics orthodoxy is policed by various quasi-judicial tribunals, including the so-called Human Rights Commission, which can sharply punish speech deemed critical of various minorities or current-day political arrangements. As Trudeau has said, there is no longer a “core identity” in Canada; it is a “post-national state.” Canada today is an archetypal example of a late-modern, so-called liberal democracy.
In practice this means that any existing right-of-center tendencies are being continually ground down by Canada’s predominantly left-liberal institutions, which include: the Canadian media (especially in the taxpayer-funded CBC); the education system (from daycare to universities); the judiciary and justice system; the government bureaucracies; its so-called high culture and pop-culture; the big Canadian corporations; and most of the mainline churches in Canada.
The ambition of the woke left, which is the driving force behind all of this, appears to be to move Canada to “Year Zero” —where everything from Canada’s past is discarded as worthless.
Image: Statue of John A. Macdonald, first prime minister of Canada, by the Victoria City Hall entrance in 2018, a few months before it was removed (Michal Klajban / via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)