In light of American’s electing Donald Trump as the President of the United States, talks of moving to Canada have run rampant all over social media. While these assertions are made lightheartedly, their implications are dangerous. We run the risk of making Canada seem like a place without its own share of problems and it minimizes the real fear that a lot of minority groups have to grapple with when fleeing their home countries.
Trump’s overtly racist and xenophobic ideals have gained the most attention throughout this entire election. As Canadians, we’d like to think that we’re above America when it comes to issues of the sort, however, in Canada, we are in the process of combatting many of our own racial issues.
Paying attention to these flaws and ensuring that we’re taking care of our own country is the utmost important thing to do at a time like this.
We struggle with race issues, particularly concerning Canada’s Indigenous populations. In 2015, Maclean’s published an article that drew many parallels between the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the mistreatment of African Americans in the United States. In some instances, the former was articulated to be worse. This point isn’t to group all minorities’ experiences together in one issue, but rather, to call attention to the discrimination many Indigenous populations in Canada face that often get under represented.
Issues of race aren’t the only ones emerging in the last two years of Canadian history. The election of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister seemed promising for a “greener” Canada, but Trudeau has been raising eyebrows when it comes to issues like the Keystone XL Pipeline. When Barack Obama vetoed a proposition to expand the pipeline last November, Trudeau expressed his disappointment publicly and voiced his support for increased North American oil pipelines.
All things considered, the United States is a scary place right now. However, making jokes about migrating to Canada is a dangerous thing to do when many minority families are seriously questioning their place within an America led by Trump. It’s insensitive and trivializes very valid fears that people have.
During times like these, where we’re so quick to criticize the circumstances in the United States, it’s important to remain aware that there’s still a lot of work to be done on home soil to combat bigotry and institutional mistreatment of minorities.
Tegwyn Hughes is a first-year history student.
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