“Canada, eh?” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Eh? Pronounced “ay.” This word is used in everyday Canadian vernacular to indicate that you don’t understand something, can’t believe something is true or want the person you’re speaking with to respond.
Canada is conflicted.
Today, July 1, we celebrate Canada Day, 154 years as a nation. We look forward with anticipation of success from what we have done right; we look back with shame at how we have failed with our historical actions.
We marvel at the reality that we are leading the world in the race to get vaccinated. We are #1 in first shots, rapidly gaining in the percentage of the population with 2nd shots, and still show no signs of broad vaccine hesitancy within the population. The chart demonstrates that we continue to shatter records each and every day in terms of the number of doses administered, and it is showing no signs of slowing down. Just last weekend, in Toronto, Canada, our healthcare heroes established a record for the greatest number of vaccines administered at one location in one day.
On the other hand, recent news around what is known as the ‘residential schools’ system continues to reinforce the fact that as with many nations, we too carry a shameful history with our indigenous population. As more information continues to emerge of mass unmarked graves of young children, casualties of a callous, inhumane, and appalling system that failed in every single way, all of us wonder what we need to do on a personal level to help with a path of healing. Many of us feel out of control – we were not a part of the system that resulted in this horrific situation – and yet, know that we must be a part of the process of moving forward from looking back.
The conflict plays out with my own personal emotions.
As a futurist focused on what comes next through science, I am excited for the potential that our massive vaccine uptake presents.
As a Canadian looking back, I am conflicted in knowing that I was raised a Catholic by the very same religion that has so horrifically failed our indigenous people and our society. I left that religion long ago, and indeed, hold in low regard most forms of organized religion – one must simply look to our southern neighbor to understand that it continues to play a major role in fomenting hate, racism, and death. (Which is why I have found a path to a relationship with my own form of a Higher Power.)
With all this in mind – to my fellow Canadians, Happy Canada Day!
We should be proud of who we are, but cautious in our joy.
As our history shows, we are always only one decision away from following the perilous path of hate that exists in all too many locations in the world today; one demagogue from losing our democracy; one step away from losing the humanity in our soul that makes us special.
Let’s use these unique moments in time to carefully mark our way forward into the future, and learn how not repeat the mistakes of our past.