Canadian Confederation. An event that shaped Canada’s past, present, and future. An event that had a significant impact on everyone’s lives back then and an event where we still feel the impact today. Confederation is always thought of as something that shaped Canada and helped Canada become the utopia like, peaceful country where everyone is treated as equals. But is that really the case? Was everyone treated as equals during those times and is everyone being treated as equals now?
As a member of a minority and someone who came from an ethnic background, I have always felt the discrimination against myself and others in the situation as me no matter how subtle the discrimination was. This has always been a topic of conversations in my family where it always seems like no matter what field of academics you go into or what sports you play, white people always have the upper hand (the is made by white people, for white people). While learning about confederation this year and learning about the residential schools, I couldn’t help but be intrigued and feel connected to what the Indigenous people were going through.
During the times after confederation, the previous rules and laws that allowed the Indigenous people to keep their lands and were treated fairly (somewhat; treaties were generally made with lots of loopholes and twisted in a way that gave the treaty makers (British, French, Spanish) the upper hand) were all now transferred to the Government of Canada. As the Canadian government had a fiduciary duty to protect the interests of the Aboriginal People however, were the only ones who could negotiate with them (through treaties) there was a conflict of interests. In the end, the need (or greed) for land toppled that duty and many Aboriginal groups were taken advantage of. An example of this is during 1869 (2 years after Confederation), the Hudson’s Bay Company agreed to sell its territory of Rupert’s Land to the new Government of Canada in Ottawa (open a way for settlement in the west). The First Nations were alarmed as the land had belonged to them (the Canadian government later recognized the legality of their land rights by negotiating treaties for the use of their land). Now, how exactly does this relate to present day Canada?
In present day Canada although the discrimination is not quite severe as during the Confederation times discrimination is still an issue prevalent in today’s society. The racial jokes that are now a common integrated daily part of life is a sign of this. Although the connection between discrimination in the past and discrimination in the present is not that clear, there still is a connection.Because of how the Indigenous people were treated in the past and how those actions were deemed ok (residential schools, cheating the indigenous people), this has had an effect on our society today. Because of those actions in the past, discrimination is a problem we have been dealing with for a very long time.
When researching about how discrimination is still prevalent in today’s society and how Canada has made steps towards reconciliation (during in class readings and discussions) I have learned more about Canada’s society in the past and Canada’s society now. I have also learned about the differing morals and ideals and how they have changed over time (evident in how we are now trying to reconcile and how discrimination is not as prominent). I do believe that discrimination against minorities is not right however Canada is slowly taking steps in the right direction.
I believe that my findings are important as they have answered all of my questions (to the point where I don’t have any questions anymore) as well as they have let me have a deeper understanding of the workings of Canada’s society as well as put to ease the ill feelings I had about being discriminated against. I believe the most striking point of my research was how much the amount of discrimination in Canada has lessened over the years.
This source was a source that allowed me to find some background information on how the Indigenous people were treated right after Confederation. Many of the examples in this Document of Learning (the Hudson’s Bay Example) came from this source linked here.
My second source was a person, specifically my parents as they have experienced discrimination in the working world first hand. Many of the stories I heard when I was younger (which perked my interest in this subject) are from first hand recounts. Many of the examples of discrimination in today’s society come from my own experiences as well as my parents.