Nearly four decades ago my mother and father packed their bags, kissed their loved ones goodbye, and left their motherland to begin a new life in Canada. Like so many newcomers to Canada, my parents were thankful for the safety and opportunity that Canada offered. They reminded my siblings and me of the privilege we had been given to pursue a better life.
On Canada Day, I am especially proud to be the son of successful immigrants to Canada. What I have accomplished is only possible because I have been lifted up by so many Canadians around me.
As a proud son of immigrants, I hold the responsibility to remember my family’s history. Violence, as a result of colonialism, made their homeland too unsafe to stay. I similarly hold the responsibility to name colonialism as I see it manifest in Canada. This is why today, as we mark 150 years since Confederation, I am also moved to reaffirm my commitment to decolonizing Canada’s relationships with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
On Canada Day we have the privilege to celebrate a country that has been good to so many. We also have a responsibility to acknowledge and commemorate how colonial structures continue to leave Indigenous peoples behind.
Tomorrow and for the next 150 years, let’s aspire to be better by revisiting our history. Let’s aspire to be stronger by building relationships with one another and with our land. We must work toward reconciliation and a meaningful nation-to-nation relationship, so that we can all prosper, together.