Canada, My Home

ELIZABETH BANFALVI

O Canada!

Our home and native land!

True patriot love in all of us command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,

The True North, strong and free!

From far and wide,

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Canada, my country and home so free and beautiful. We have twenty percent of the world’s fresh water here. There are so many things we need to be grateful for in our wonderful country.

I was born in Brantford Ontario beside the Six Nations Indian Reserve and was raised in my teen years in Azilda, close to Sudbury, Ontario. Talk about beautiful cold landscapes and watching the planes landing on the lake in the summer and watching dog races and sail gliding on the ice on the same lake in the winter.

So many happenings are going on now here in Canada with the Indigenious residential schools and all that has happened in our country. Let us discuss it and remember all countries have something in their past just like we do. Born in Brantford beside the Six Nations Reserve, my children went to high school with the bused-in Reserve students. In Brantford are the Mohawk Chapel and Woodland Cultural Centre. Both are a tribute to our Native neighbours.

Of Hungarian heritage, I remember being told that Canadians weren’t that good with new people coming into the country. Ask anyone who is Irish. Many were called names like wops (Italians) and hunkies (Hungarian).

Trust me when I say denying our history isn’t the way to go. Knocking over statutes, setting fires and spending millions of dollars changing street names (Dundas in Toronto), beating Chinese people because we suspect them to have started COVID-19 and running over Muslims in the street aren’t the way either. Those who do such things – what are they thinking will be the result of their actions? They are going to spend the rest of their life or a good portion of it in jail.

Our history is still there and we need to look at it and learn from it. No country in the world has been perfect in what they believed and did. Times have come and gone and so has variations of racism and hate. Even here in Canada, our home. The Japanese Canadians after Pearl Harbour – there is history there too. Their forcible expulsion and confinement during the Second World War was one of the most tragic events in our history. Some 21,000 were taken from their homes on Canada’s West Coast without any charge or due process. Beginning in February 1942, around 12,000 of them were exiled to remote areas of British Columbia and elsewhere. The federal government stripped them of their property and pressured many of them to accept mass deportation after the war. Those who remained were not allowed to return to the West Coast until April 1949.

“In 1988, the federal government officially apologized for its treatment of Japanese Canadians. A redress payment of $21,000 was made to each survivor, and more than $12 million was allocated to a community fund and human rights projects.” – Canadian Encyclopedia.

First, we need to acknowledge what happened in our country and learn to heal. How do we think we would have acted if we were alive at those different times? Would we have been a part of what was going on or would we have made a point of changing it.

Our country needs to heal its people. There are still so many doing damage to our past and causing destruction. It doesn’t help but they think they are making a difference; but they aren’t. I wouldn’t doubt if they were living those years ago, they would have been part of the problem even then.

Love Canada, our home; and let’s make it better. We are still thought of as one of the best countries in the world to live in and we are.

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