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Misconceptions of Canada:

by Kristina Livingston - Managing Editor

a wrongfully named utopia

Mon, Apr 17th 2017 09:10 pm
Photo taken from WestJet Magazine on Twitter

In light of President Donald Trump taking his place in office, many Americans have hoped to find refuge on Cape Breton Island (above) in Canada. However, while Canada may seem like the epitome of safety and equality, the country has a bloody history of its own and there may be much more misinformation on the north side of the border than Americans realize.
Photo taken from WestJet Magazine on Twitter In light of President Donald Trump taking his place in office, many Americans have hoped to find refuge on Cape Breton Island (above) in Canada. However, while Canada may seem like the epitome of safety and equality, the country has a bloody history of its own and there may be much more misinformation on the north side of the border than Americans realize.

 Oh, Canada. The idealized, over-glorified nation of neighbors to the north. It seems we've all gotten quite comfortable relying on the idea of a Canadian utopia complete with everything the United States doesn't have every time a political leader goes awry or a specific group gets increasingly nervous about their safety.

The idea has become ever so popular post-election, with a flood of inquiries to Canadian citizen Rob Calabrese, all attempts to take up his offer to populate Cape Breton Island, which he had displayed proudly on a website he reportedly designed in 30 minutes.

According to The Washington Post article, "Americans Adrift" by Chico Harlan, the "Canada Purity Myth" (as I have decided to coin it) is still alive and well, as 4,780 emails and counting have requested sanctuary in the little island town. One email he received read, "I am heartbroken seeing our America be torn apart . . . by one, out-of-touch billionaire" as the individual's reasoning for a desire to relocate. 

This entitlement to other nations brings to mind just a few thoughts, so stick with me: with refugees from Syria risking their lives to cross the ocean in hopes of survival, being met with indescribable amounts of rejection and xenophobia, it gives me a good giggle whenever I'm reminded that many Americans, what with terrible conditions that are by no means comparable to that of a life-threatening civil war, have the means to just up and move with no critique.

If you're not tired of Canada being flaunted as the holy land for well-off Americans to flee to, you probably should be, because Canada— not unlike other nations has been complicit in genocide, imperialism and more—has blood on its hands.

Somehow despite having committed genocide against its aboriginal, native peoples, its image has remained pure, so long as your leader has a white handsome face.

According to The Huffington Post article, "Canada Just Confronted Its 'Cultural Genocide' Of Native People. Why Can't The U.S. Do The Same?" by Julian Brave Noisecat, Canadian natives have been put through endless tribulations, much like those whose land Americans now reside on and have for centuries. 

In a recent self-exposé, Canadian government has admitted openly to having moved Native children around like cargo, pushed into Native American-specific boarding schools. Reports have found the schools, which operated between 1883 and 1996, to be responsible for the deaths of over 6,000 of the 150,000 enlisted children, as they were subject to nutritional experiments and subject to untreated, disregarded disease.

According to The Huffington Post article, "This is slightly higher than the one in 26 rate at which Canadians died in World War II. In the early years of the program, half of all children who attended the schools perished."

The United Nations has been urging Canada to declare its past treatment of its aboriginal peoples as genocide, in regards to not only its residential school system, but also, "the forcible removal of aboriginal children from their homes for the purpose of adoption by white families, a practice known as the "Sixties Scoop," according to The Huffington Post article, "UN Urged To Declare Canada's Treatment Of Aboriginals 'Genocide'" by Michael Bolen. First Nations people were starved to make way for settlers, indigenous women are murdered and kidnapped at alarming rates ...  oh I could go on and on.  

This part of Canadian history is but one buried truth which has tainted its image, yet we still speak of it as a healthcare haven, a diverse land of acceptance — a nation that has everything we lack, when in fact, Canada is infected with rampant gun violence, racism and poverty just as we are in the U.S.

It turns out, though, the popularization of Canadian real estate focusing on Cape Breton primarily comes from those very Syrian refugees who have fled a war-torn country. And so, the majority of people seeking out shelter on Cape Breton are doing so because they have nowhere else to go. According to The Washington Post article, "These were the people moving to Cape Breton: refugees from the Syrian war who not only left their country but had to flee it. 54 had come so far."

I hope these refugees are welcomed warmly in their new Canadian residences, but to those who joke around about their ability to both afford and adjust to a lifestyle change whenever they wish, brush up on reevaluating your priorities. 

If America is too tainted of a nation for you to stay in and learn to accept its faults and work towards righting its wrongs, Canada may not be your best second choice.

brockport.editor@gmail.com

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