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Canada celebrated its 156th birthday on July 1
Happy Birthday, Canada

Los Angeles, July 05, 2023 Sanghera
Ramesh/ A.Gary Singh

Canada has just celebrated its 156th birthday on July 1. Only a few days ago, it reached a landmark of 40 million population. Canada’s colonial past often overshadows its present, numerous positive attributes and accomplishments. There is no doubt that Canada has a lot of dark chapters as part of its history. Treatment of the Indigenous communities,Chinese Head Tax, o Exclusion Act , the Komagata Maru tragedy , treatment of Japanese Canadians during World War 2 are just some of the unpleasant and unfortunate events that caused a lot of pain and suffering to the affected minority communities. However, successive Canadian governments of all stripes must be commended for their efforts at righting these wrongs. To-day’s Canada can be proud of its policy of inclusion, fairness and social justice.

                              Canada continues to be the most favoured country for potential immigrants. We are experiencing record levels of immigrants to Canada. During the past few years, record number of international students,temporary foreign workers, visitors and immigrants  from all over the world has greatly enriched this country. Canada is one of the most open, inclusive, welcoming multicultural and multilingual countries in the world. This country’s natural beauty, natural resources, vast and diverse landscape are unmatched in the world. Canada is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. The degree of freedom we enjoy in this country is envy of many. Despite all of these very positive attributes Canada is also facing a lot of challenges.

                              Sky high housing prices, inadequate support for seniors, crumbling infrastructure, lack of resources for the vulnerable people and reconciliation with the Indigenous communities need immediate attention. Misuse and abuse by unscrupulous elements of our rather compassionate and lenient laws have made Canada a safe haven for criminal elements. All of this needs immediate attention of our law makers and decision makers at every level. Our fast growing population needs major improvements and upgrades to our infrastructure. Internationally, Canada needs to assert /reassert itself as a peacemaker and peacekeeper. Our national leadership needs to recognize that peace and good government are as essential today as they have been in the past.

                              Finally, we need to work on our identity. Each one of us needs to respond to the question: What does Canada mean to me? What are our traditional values? How do I define myself as a Canadian? Answers to questions like these would be helpful in defining our identity as citizens of this great nation. As Canada reached its 40 million population landmark on June 16 this year, Canada’s chief statistician, Anil Arora put it very well in these words: “This is an exciting milestone for Canada. It is a strong signal that Canada remains a dynamic and welcoming country, full of potential. As we head into Canada Day, this is certainly cause for celebration. “

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Balwant Sanghera
(Balwant   Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist)