Pride and Prejudice: Canada's International Legacy Created By: Arash
Nowadays, Canada is common for its abundant culture, free health care, and wealth. In the modern world, if you lived in Canada, you'd hear many people say "I'm proud to be Canadian."
Its hard to believe, but our country was not always the free and righteous democracy it is now. There were a lot of situations in the 20th century that made me ashamed to be Canadian but here are my top three: the immigrant rejection of Jewish people into Canada during Hitlers vicious reign, the internment of Japanese-Canadians, a lack of willing men to volunteer for the army. In my opinion all these things are more than enough for us Canadians to feel ashamed.
Canada had a pretty big problem in 1917; a lack of willing men to volunteer to fight in the army. There were many causes for this but the main one was because of men who had already volunteered before. Also, an abundance of people began realizing and understanding what life is like in the trenches as well as the cruel reality of war. Prime Minister Borden was really disappointed in 1917 when the lack of men volunteering for the army was low. Quebec's argument was strong because they stated they had no ties to Britain or France. Ignoring the protests made through out the country, Borden still made up his mind to establish the Military Service Act, creating the conscription law. This continued to cause stress between English and French in the 20th century.
The internment of Japanese-Canadians was another startling and atrocious Canadian event that occurred in the twentieth century.
When Japanese forces launched their attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, there was conspicuous tension between America and the Japanese allied with Canada. In Canada, fractious racist public sentiment caused enormous waves of accusations upon accusations that were directed towards the innocent Japanese-Canadians. With the allegation of act as a companion with the enemy country, the federal government, motivated and influenced by Ian Mackenzie, also supported by the announced War-Time Measures Act of 1914, decided to intern the so called "enemies". Despite having lived in Canada for years and years with no contact with Japan, over 23000 people were sent off to internment camps while their belongings were impounded by the hands of the government. For about three years the basic necessities such as food, shelter and things were poor. Later, when further investigation was happening, not a single case of spying or treason was committed by the Japanese-Canadians.
Last but not least, the Jewish refugee refusal. I found this event really devastating considering the pessimistic conditions that brought a lot of the Jews to Canada. Kristallnacht (night of the broken glass, 1938) was a hideous time when business and synagogues were demolished. Jews were battered to death by mobs and over 2000 were taken away to concentration camps. This event frightened many Jews so they started off to other countries to find refuge. But back then, Canada didn't have the multiculturalism the country is known for today. Prime Minister Mackenzie King was scared that if he allowed Jews into the country, riots would break-out in Quebec. Therefore, only about 5000 Jews were accepted into the country while the others were forced to return home to their affixed deaths. Canada's acceptance number was the worst among the western nations.
The Canadian conscription was a frightening moment in Canadian history where unwilling citizens were forced to take their last breaths on bloody battlefields. This was a dark time for Canadians. After this came the Japanese-Canadians issue of which innocent spectators were thrown into unknown lands after being shoved out of their houses under immoral accusations of spying for the enemies. But, Canada wasn't quite finished with the prejudice just yet, as they had the arrogance to refuse sheer entrance to the distressed Jews knowing they would be sent back and killed. I chose these three defining Canadian moments that made me ashamed to be a Canadian because I think they revolved around discrimination, forced actions, cruelty and other forceful acts before the free country its well-known for today.
Finally, The good..
Canada isn't perfect, but its definitely not the worst. There were many great events that caused a throbbing sense of pride in hearts of many Canadians, such as when Canadian armies conquered at Vimy Ridge, when women were given equal rights, and finally Canada received its independence and autonomy from Britain. These are the three defining moments we'll be talking about and that make me a proud Canadian.
America actually had their own war of independence (1775-1782) but Canada was still under Britain's wings. This meant Britain controlled our major decisions, laws, and tradition. Canada's first Constitution, in 1867, the BNA act was put into effect by the assurance of Britain. In 1931, the country had the power and right to establish its own Supreme Court and lastly in 1931, a British law (Statue of Westminster) which stated that Canada as well as other Commonwealth Dominions were to be given freedom.
The battle at Vimy Ridge was truly one to remember as the Canadian army was honoured for their bravery, strength, determination. In a bloody battle between Germany and Britain. Germany had a very big advantage of clear enemy view. Despite that, the immaculate planning of General Arthur Currie using air reconnaissance to understand German barricades, replica battlefields, strategies to practice coordination and timing, as well as maps handed to soldiers which some thought was silly. But, despite the causalities, by using the creeping barrage tactic, Currie led the Canadian army to Victory.
The last event but not the least, the honourable historical occurred when women were finally given equal rights in a male-domineering society. Canadian women had to go through a lot and had did have quite a struggle, particularly when it came to voting since they were all expected to have the same outlook on the different matters as their husbands. Women weren't even allowed to vote in federal elections until 1921. Can you believe that? And guess what? That didn't even include ALL of the women. Believe it or not but Aboriginal, African, and Asian women were not allowed to vote. Each province gradually gained rights and freedom until all women (even those of colour) were finally considered people. Throughout the history Canadian women have been quite fascinating because they were looked upon differently and they fought for their rights and now look where we are now. A great big world!
Of course there are many positive and negative sides to our history. There are events that make me proud and ashamed to be Canadian. But you can't deny all our struggles lead up to our diverse and free country. I am a proud citizen of Canada!
- "The Internment of the Japanese during World War II." The Internment of the Japanese during World War II. http://www.histori.ca/peace/page.do?page ID=279 (accessed July 25, 2014).
- "Activity 5: Vimy Ridge." CHC2D1-81-Canadian History since World War I-Schmidt. https://tcdsb.elearningontario.ca/d2l/le/content/4151039/viewContent/44165037/View (accessed July 27, 2014).
- "Activity 6: Changing Status of Women, Aboriginals, and Minorities." CHC2S1-81-Canadian History since World War I-Schmidt. https://tcdsb.elearningontario.ca/d2l/le/content/4151039/viewContent/44165199/View (accessed July 27, 2014).
- "Activity 6: Conscription and the Home Front." CH2D1-81-Canadian History since World War I-Schmidt. https://tcdsb.elearningontario.ca/d2l/le/content/4151039/viewContent/44165037/View (accessed July 27, 2014).
- "Activity 7: Jewish Emigration and Immigration." CHC2D1-81-Canadian History since World War I-Schmidt. https://tcdsb.elearningontario.ca/d2l/le/content/4151039/viewContent/44165086/View (accessed July 27, 2014).
- http://www.bookmice.net/darkchilde/japan/japan/sign.jpg. 2014. Image.