Editorial - Racism still far too prevalent in Canada


It was only a few weeks ago this space was dedicated to trying to come, in some small way, to terms with the announcement that the remains of 215 children buried on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk'emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in British Columbia had been discovered. 

Now, even with the passage of some time, the images of children’s shoes left in a local park as a silent memorial, and orange tape hanging from trees and hedges, remain poignant reminders of the horrible discovery and what it means. 

The discovery is another indication of just how divisive the treatment of First Nations people has been in Canada. 

But, there was one small hope with the Kamloops discovery, that it was one that was perpetrated years ago, and that we in Canada had grown to become better. 


Sadly though, it is glaringly clear racism still exists here, and the impact it has on our country is seen all too often. 

Perhaps that should not be a surprise, given our past. 

For example, between 1914 and 1920, thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans were branded "enemy aliens," forced to labour for the profit of their jailers, disenfranchised, and subjected to other state-sanctioned censures. 

The Ukrainian Canadian community has been calling for government assistance in securing, restoring, and properly marking the Spirit Lake cemetery, no action has been taken.

It is another scar of our collective past still far from completely healed. 

And the issues remain. 

It was early this month the Government of Saskatchewan noted its participation in the National Action Plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). 

The history on MMIWG in this country is startling and sadly continues. 

A 2014 report by the RCMP, titled "Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview", found that more than 1,000 Indigenous women were murdered over a span of 30 years.

From 2001 to 2015, the homicide rate for Indigenous women in Canada was almost six-times as high as the homicide rate for non-Indigenous women. 

And the racism is far beyond just focusing on First Nations. 

More than 1,100 attacks against Asian Canadians were reported one year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, and 11 per cent of those incidents contained violent assault or unwanted physical contact, according to a report from the Chinese Canadian National Council - Toronto Chapter (CCNC). 

This is a glaring example of how ridiculous racism is, that anyone could seriously think Asian Canadians has anything to do with the pandemic. 

And most recently we have Nathaniel Veltman, 20, who is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for driving his Dodge pickup truck into a Muslim family walking on a downtown London street. 

How does one become so obsessed with hatred that they even consider such a heinous act? 

No one is born a racist. 

It is a learned thing, coming from family and friends, someone planting the rotten seed and others helping the malignancy grow. 

So the question is how does a society stop the cycle? 

In Canada we like to think we are doing better, but that is questionable. We certainly need to do better at ending hate. We all deserve to live our lives in safety.