Pride and Prejudice: Canada's International Legacy
To the People, For the People, Helping the People.
By: Arjaye Carlos
Hey guys! It’s Arjaye here blogging to you on the night before Canada Day, so to celebrate, I decided to do a blog about defining moments in Canadian history. Sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it? But these events have honestly inspired me because the three events I’m about to talk about are all examples of living to the people, for the people, by helping the people. The Terry Fox Run, the introduction of medicare, and the Charter of Rights and Freedom all exemplify changes in history, and are great examples of what I think means to be a true, and proud Canadian. These three moments have all defined Canada by encouraging equality and social justice, all the while encouraging those to help others.
The Marathon of Hope makes me proud to be Canadian because it spreads hope worldwide, and brings everyone together with the sole purpose of helping someone else. Everyone knows about the Terry Fox Run, right? In 1977, at 18 years old, Terry Fox was diagnosed with bone cancer, and had his right leg amputated at about mid thigh. On April 12, 1980 Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean, near St. John’s, starting his cross- country run. He ran 42 km a day, through the Atlantic Provinces, Ontario, and Quebec, and was quickly known as a national star. On September 1, 1980, Terry stopped outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, because the cancer spread to his lungs. Although he stopped running, the rest of the world definitely didn’t. His original goal was to raise one dollar for every Canadian, so about $24 million at the time. Terry once said “Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.” And continue they did, because the Terry Fox Foundation, who organizes the annual run, has raised over $600 million dollars for cancer research. This cause alone makes me so happy to be Canadian, because what started with one person now has millions of people worldwide participating. The Marathon of Hope is definitely a defining moment in Canadian history because it gives hope towards cancer patients and families, and brings unity worldwide when people all over the world runs for the same purpose; to save a life.
The introduction of universal medicare is also a defining moment in Canadian history, because it allows everyone eligible to have access to proper medical care, without discriminating people’s importance through wealth. Medicare was originally led by Tommy Douglas, but was then expanded by Lester B. Pearson. What started with three men, all political leaders with the same political ideas, is now recognized nation-wide. It is under the Canada Health Act, which was established in 1984, and ensures that all legal Canadian residents are able to receive insured services without co-payment. 70% of health costs are paid publicly, while the other 30% is paid privately through insurance, or out- of- pocket payments. Living in a country that offers universal medicare makes me a proud Canadian because it means we are all equal. Growing up in a Catholic community, I have learned to believe that we are all equal. No one is more significant than another because we are all children of God. One’s wealth should not define your quality of medical assistance. For example, at 10 years old, when Tommy Douglas needed surgery on his leg, but couldn’t afford to pay the bills, his doctor operated on him without charge. The only part I disagree with on universal health care is that homeless people are not eligible for enrollment. Yes, I understand it is because technically, we do pay for medical assistance, it’s just spread out publicly. Yes, I understand that homeless people can’t afford food or a home, let alone insurance or taxes, but I still don’t like how they’re left out of this. I mean, they’re human too, which means that they get sick, and injured as well. Besides my one argument, I am proud to say I live in a country where I can get the medical attention that I need. Universal medicare has changed Canada’s history, because it encourages equality and is intended to help Canadian citizens,
The establishment of the Charter of Rights and Freedom is a defining moment in Canada’s history because it ensures social justice and discourages discrimination of any kind. The Charter is the supreme law of Canada which guides the government when making laws and holds our common value as a whole nation. The Charter gives society a clearer recognition of human rights and freedom, and ways to implement these rights and ensures that our rights are respected by the government, and allows us to ask the court to address any law that may violate the charter of rights. This makes me so proud to be Canadian because it encourages every single person to be who they want to be without being punished. No one can be left out for being comfortable in their own skin, no matter what their race, religion, or sexuality is. We have the right to speak our minds and have an opinion. We also have all of those legal rights you hear in movies, the whole “you have the right to remain silent. Anything you can and will be held against you. You have the right to an attorney… etc. etc”. But just because it’s our right to be free, it doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t be judged for it. Although it’s the law, there are always going to be people who try to push you down for being different. We see it everywhere, everyday through racism, sexism, etc. and it honestly makes me upset because sure we have all of these rights, but people will still try to make you feel insignificant. But, it’s not really the Charter that bothers me; just the people. But despite that, the Charter of Rights and Freedom encourages others to be able to express themselves however they want, which has definitely shaped Canada into what it is today.
The Marathon of Hope, universal healthcare, and the Charter of Rights and Freedom classify Canada’s history, because our country has learned to turn mistakes into opportunities. These opportunities allow us to develop as not only individuals residing in Canada, but as a whole nation. This strengthens our nations bonds, and inspires us to work for the coming good. To the people, for the people, by helping the people. Goodnight guys, hope you liked this entry, and I hope you all have a great July first!
P.S: Below this is a video of Terry Fox and his journey, the medicare logo, and Channing Tatum in police uniform, to appeal for the Charter of Rights and Freedom. Below those are the sources I used for my research.
"Canadian Health Care: Health Care and the Economy." Canadian Health Care: Health Care and the Economy. http://www.canadian-healthcare.org/page9.html (accessed August 11, 2014).
"Common menu bar links." Canada's Health Care System (Medicare). http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/medi-assur/index-eng.php (accessed August 11, 2014).
"Introduction." Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. http://www.charterofrights.ca/en/28_00_01 (accessed August 10, 2014).
Wikimedia Foundation. "Medicare (Canada)." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicare_(Canada) (accessed August 12, 2014).
Schwartz, Daniel. "6 big changes the Charter of Rights has brought." CBCnews. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/6-big-changes-the-charter-of-rights-has-brought-1.1244758 (accessed August 11, 2014).
"Terry Fox." The Canadian Encyclopedia. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/terry-fox/ (accessed August 11, 2014).