Proud or Ashamed? | Teen Ink

Proud or Ashamed?

January 17, 2013
By klegault SILVER, St. Thomas, Other
klegault SILVER, St. Thomas, Other
9 articles 61 photos 17 comments

This last century has been a century of immense change, with decisions Canada has made that
are both good and bad for our country and people. As Canadians, we should be proud of our
accomplishments, like having our first female Prime Minister, and the Terry Fox run, and ashamed of
the in just deeds and acts that we have committed like, The Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, the
Aboriginal residential schools and the Dionne Quintuplets. In the end, I am not afraid to say that I am
ashamed of what in just deeds and acts that Canada has performed.

Everyone is the same. An individual’s colour of skin truly does not matter, as it does not define who they are as a person. It does not define whether or not they are a “good” person or a “bad” person. On July 1, 1923, the Canadian government created the Chinese Immigration Act, which is also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act. This Act excluded all, but a few wealthy Chinese people, like diplomats from entering and immigrating to Canada. It effectively closed off immigration to the Chinese people, and only to the Chinese people. Not only did this Act apply to Chinese people from China, but ethnic Chinese people with British nationality were also restricted from entering and immigrating to Canada. This is a clear form of racism. Canada is supposed to be a “mixing pot” country, which means that we are supposed to accept and tolerate all different types and kinds of people with different ethnic backgrounds, cultures, religions, and skin colours. The fact that the Canadian government created and passed the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 proves just how racist we as a country were to the Chinese people specifically, and racism is never, under any circumstances, right.

It is never right to take away an individual’s childhood for gain and or profit. On May 28, 1930, the Dionne quintuplets were born. The Dionne quintuplets were the first quintuplets to ever survive their infancy. A few months after the quintuplets were born, the Canadian government deemed the parents as unfit, and their legal custody was withdrawn “to ensure their survival”. Later, the Canadian government realized that there was a public interest in the quintuplets, and they created a tourist industry from them. The quintuplets were made wards of the provincial Crown, which was planned until they reached the age of eighteen. The Dafoe Hospital and Nursery was built just for them, and the quintuplets were constantly studied, tested, and examined. The quintuplets were behind one way screens, allowing approximately 6,000 people to observe the quintuplets each day. The quintuplets were clearly a tourist attraction. The observation gallery acquired the name, “Quintland”, and the quintuplets attracted in total of about 51 million dollars of tourist revenue to Ontario. This is an absolute disgrace. Initially, the quintuplets were treated like testing animals, and were “used” for the profit and gain of our country. And, taking children away from their families is never the right thing to do because children belong, need, and should be with their families, and everyone deserves the opportunity to just be a child and to have their childhood, but the Dionne quintuplets were clearly stripped from this opportunity. They were stripped from their childhood – something that they would never have the opportunity to get back. Instead of the Canadian government allowing the quintuplets their childhood, they “used” the innocence of children for profit and gain. This truly is such a shame on the Canadian government’s part. Taking away children from their families, stripping them from their childhood, and “using” them for gain and profit is absolutely wrong.

Women and men are equal beings, and they should be treated equality, and not differently because of their sexuality. In the year of 1993, Kim Campbell was the very first female Prime Minister in Canada, and although she was only the Prime Minister for a total of 132 days, having Kim Campbell as the first female Prime Minister was definitely a major step in the right direction for Canada’s legal system, as well as for the rights of Canadian women. Ultimately there is little difference between both men and women. Both a man and a woman were created to be human beings by God.

Not only has Canada made improvements with the Canadian legal system, as well as with the equal right of women throughout Canada, but some Canadians are absolutely amazing. Amazing people can do amazing things, and make amazing contributions to the world that can literally be life-changing, and change the lives of others. In the year of 1980, Terry Fox attempted to run cross-country, with one leg amputated to raise money and awareness for cancer research, since he had been struggling with cancer himself. However, the spread of Terry’s cancer eventually cost him his life. Terry was indefinitely a true, strong, and amazing Canadian. Canadian’s like Terry, who truly desire to make a difference, are what Canada is all about. Amazing people can do amazing things.

Depriving a cultural group of people of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities is never the right thing to do, no matter what the intentions are. In 1920, it was compulsory that all Aboriginal children were to attend the Aboriginal residential schools throughout Canada. These schools were set up by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, and United churches because the Canadian government believed that mainstreaming Aboriginal children into normal Canadian society was the only way for them to lead successful and fulfilling lives. The purpose of these schools, which separated children from their families, has also been described as cultural genocide or "killing the Indian in the child." Children at these schools were away from their families and communities for ten of the twelve months in a year. During the summer, the children would be permitted to go back to their families and communities, but they were taught to be ashamed of their culture. When the children would arrive back into their communities, the children also felt like they did not “fit in”. Children at these schools were taught how to speak French and English, and were taught Christianity. They were prohibited from speaking their own language and practicing their own faith, and were severely punished and beaten if they did so. The conditions at these schools were horrific. The children were not properly fed, clothed, or educated, and many children died of illnesses and diseases. There have also been many cases of sexual, psychological, and physical abuse at these schools. Sending children away from their families and communities, where they have grown up their whole life, to residential schools, and telling them that it was “only for their best” is just awful, especially since these residential schools did more harm than good, and teaching these children to be ashamed of their families, communities, and faith is just awful in so many ways. This act is incredibly shameful, and was most definitely traumatizing for the children who were sent away and for their families. Even though the intentions of the Canadian government was to teach the Aboriginal children the skills needed to live successful and fulfilling lives in mainstream Canadian society, the effects of these residential school were long lasting, traumatizing, and not good. This was initially cultural genocide, and cultural genocide is, under all circumstances, wrong.

In the end, it is clear that even though Canada has come a long way with the Canadian legal system, the rights of women throughout Canada, and with the help of amazing Canadians like Terry Fox, we as Canadian’s, should be ashamed of the in just deeds and acts that we have committed. We should especially be ashamed about the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, the Aboriginal residential schools, and of what has happened to the Dionne Quintuplets. Therefore, I am ashamed, and not proud of Canada.

The author's comments:
My name is Kristin, and I'm a proud Canadian in many ways. But, every country has its faults, failures, and its past. We just need to learn from the past and change together.


Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.