We perceive our reality from our life experiences. Only then can we conclude that knowledge is a consequence of experiences which supports empiricism.
Canada is a large country populated with people from a wide range of backgrounds. I was taught that Canada is fondly known as the ‘salad bowl’ because of the diversity of races, cultures, and religions that supposedly coexist in balance.
The title “salad bowl” is indicative of a country that personifies ideological equality through its multiculturalism. Hence, from this perception, Canada is a safe haven, advocating peace, justice, and tolerance with citizens irrespective of their racial, political or religious affiliation. The “salad bowl” metaphor is our bubble. Tolerance arises from knowledge of a particular subject matter. Hence using empiricism, being educated about a foreign matter could yield tolerance and eliminate ignorance. Sadly this is not the state of Canada presently. Canada’s bubble is fragile.
A soap bubble has a thin lining of chemicals that contains weakened hydrogen bonds with hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions. This prevents the bubble from morphing into different shapes thereby maintaining its spherical shape. Canada’s bubble is not much different. In Canada today, there are individuals who are slowly merging into mainstream society but face significant amount of injustice and intolerance resulting in a very painful assimilation process. The irony is that they were here first. These individuals are the First Nations of Canada (“FN”). FN’s are subjected to discrimination and inequality stemming from a deep rooted suffering inflicted upon them from injustices ranging from mandatory residential school to the assault of their culture and land. This has led to generations exposed to immeasurable suffering that we so naively believe exists only in other parts of the world. The United Nations issued a report in 2013 stating “… Canada needs to change direction urgently towards a new, collaborative partnership with Aboriginal Peoples to achieve progress and shared prosperity.”
This sad awakening led to my analysis of my peer’s perception of the FN’s. When I spoke to students across the GTA, I was perplexed as to why some did not realize that FN’s are an existing group of people living in remote parts of Canada. The pictures that I shared with them were perceived as images depicting a village in a remote African country. They were alarmed to learn that the photos reflected the conditions of FN’s living in deplorable third world conditions here in Ontario. This level of ignorance has yielded the dire consequences such the lack of inquiry into the murders and disappearances of FN women, lack of medical care on-reserve, wholly inadequate education, lack of clean water or proper housing and countless more. The integrity of the Canadian bubble could potentially be preserved if the truth about the harsh reality of FN existence is made transparent and repaired.
If Canadian citizens are unwilling to end suffocation of the FN livelihood, then how will this paradigm shift occur that is needed to preserve Canadian integrity? If the recognition of the indignation of the FN’s people and the desperate need for unification and cooperation amongst all Canadians fails to materialize, then the Canadian bubble virtually pop. Consequently, Canada will be left with an intolerance that will rip apart the fabric of the metaphoric “salad bowl”. We will be forever shamed with the legacy of “them” and “us”.