Thursday, December 17, 2020

Why do I have to agree with the British monarchy or empire in order to be proud of "my homeland"?

This topic regularly comes up in discussions around the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) report that recognized a few examples of genocide committed by the Canadian government against indigenous peoples. This was specifically discussed in the context of the residential schools policy, but applies to other related policies.

Inevitably someone gets angry and says something along the lines of, "You just called my homeland genocidal" (Example on facebook).

While I can understand someone being upset if I falsely called their homeland genocidal, I can see a few problems with this statement.

  • The Dominion of Canada (Canada) is not "their homeland" even if they were born here.
  • Canada is a subsidiary of the British created for the purpose of expanding the British Empire here. That purpose is clearly articulated in the British North America Act that came into effect on 1 July 1867, which people reference as the creation of "Canada".
  • Contrary to words that the British uses, this subsidiary never had sole dominion over the land within what it claimed was its borders. It has treaties with the nations of this homeland to share.
  • This homeland, and the peoples of this homeland for thousands of years, have been the ongoing target of European (and specifically British) colonialism. Anyone with loyalty to this homeland should have loyalty to the peoples of this homeland that are the targets of the genocide, not loyalty to the foreign government(s) committing genocide against this homeland.
  • I am not using the term genocide lightly, but referencing well documented activities of the Government of Canada through processes that are recognized internationally.


I am aware that my understanding of the problems with that statement is recent. Until 2020 I had never bothered to read any of the policies that created and define Canada, or spent time to understand the peoples and nations of this land. I thought of the connections to Europe as distant history, and not the current active policy of Canada. The BNA Act was passed less than 3 times my age ago, so the entire history of the British subsidiary called Canada should be understood as current.

Canadians believe they live in a country that upholds human rights, largely because they have been told that is true by representatives of the Government of Canada. If these are federal Members of Parliament, they all swore allegiance to the British Queen.  This suggests they are loyal to the British empire and the honor of its crown, and not necessarily loyal to this homeland. I don't see how it is possible to be loyal to this homeland and to the British at the same time.

If it were actually true that the Dominion of Canada fully respected human rights, there would not have been people of his homeland (First Nations people) having to go to the United Nations and working since 1982 on a United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to specifically put pressure on countries such as Canada to offer at least a bare minimum of human rights to the indigenous peoples of this homeland.

I hope Canada will eventually become the country that it markets itself domestically and internationally as, but there is quite a bit of work to get there.

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