If we close our eyes and block out all the noise, are all the terrible things around us still happening? If we choose to be selective, to see only the good and ignore the bad, are we being optimistic or just naive? For centuries, Canada and its citizens have looked at the countries around them with disappointment and with shame, confused as to what happened for those countries to be filled with sexism, xenophobia, and racism. However, we constantly refuse to look at our own country, follow our fault-lines and trace them back to a history where white supremacy thrived. We can always argue that Canada is great, but we cannot deny that it was not always that way, and even now, we are far from perfect – and identifying where white supremacy takes its form right here in Canada is a good place to start getting better.

“Colonialism is not a ‘behaviour’ that can be superficially changed by a prime minister professing ‘sunny ways.’1 It is the foundational system in Canada.” Before we understand all the ways we can take action, we must understand how our country came to be, and how the impacts of a system built around these ideologies have affected its citizens along the way. Somehow, it always comes back to colonialism, when the British settlers took away the only land the Indigenous knew to call home and called it their own. It seemed as if because the British had the weaponry and the power, they truly believed that they belonged to a more evolved race. At that same time, science was rapidly advancing all across Europe, furthering their belief that they were superior. People of colour were  systematically excluded from emigrating to Canada, and the Indigenous were being brutally mistreated. Fast forward a couple of hundred years to the present, the Indigenous are still systematically marginalized, and Canadians are still dismissing it all because “at least we are not America”.

The Indigenous peoples of Canada are just one of the groups suffering from this long-standing white supremacy. Right now, there are about 100 active white supremacist organizations in Canada.2 Aisha Ahmad, a Muslim-Canadian who only wanted to attend a Toronto Symphony was assaulted by a white man in June, and others attending the concert supported the attacker. As she was the only woman of colour there, she believes the attack was racially motivated.3 She is not the only one being affected. There are anti-Semitic messages constantly being painted on Canada’s places of worship.4 So, it is hypocritical to look at the country south of us in shock. We cannot be blind to the terrors that take place everyday on our own soil; there is no excuse for it.  We must open our eyes, see our country’s wrongdoings and speak up because silence can never change anything.