Thoughts on Canada Day and Canada’s indigenous peoples

I’ve been thinking a lot about the discussion regarding Canada 150 and indigenous peoples. I’ve been pleased to see the Green Party being perhaps the most vocal on pointing out that Canada’s history dates back a lot more than 150 years and that the contribution of those that are neither English nor French is chronically under-represented.

As a child, I was taught that Canada was a coming together of English and French to create a new country. While not the first to articulate this point (Chief Dan George did it at least as far back as 1967, for example), Preston Manning was the first major party leader to challenge this idea. Manning was the leader of the right-of-centre Reform Party from 1987 to 2000, and not generally thought of as the champion of indigenous Canadians, so this may be a surprise to some progressives. However, under Manning’s leadership the Reform Party argued that the “Plains of Abraham” vision of Canada of being a melding of French and English identities was incomplete, and extremely unfair to Canada’s first peoples and the significant contribution they made to this country. I agree, and I’m glad to see the Green Party continuing to express that narrative.


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