Thank you for your thoughtful response. One thing to clarify – my primary intended audience are Americans who have an overly rosy vision of life in Canada. I was very annoyed by some of the commentary I saw after Trudeau’s speech where people were fawning over his performance, but I felt it missed the reality of the Canadian experience. Part of the reason that I felt this was important was because Canadians use the “At least we are better than the US” line as a get-out-of-jail card. Even if we are better than the US, that doesn’t mean we don’t have work to do as a society.

My second audience is Canadians, who have bought into our own myth, but for there the intent of the article is a bit more complicated. We* are brought up with this story about Canada being a mecca of multiculturalism. This article is meant to challenge the reader, and ask questions about how we think about ourselves. Why don’t we remember slavery? Why haven’t we done more about residential schools? Why do we have so many hate crimes?

There is nothing specific that I want you to do with these questions. I am thinking every day about my own response to systemic racism, so Im not going to pretend to have answers for anyone else. This is why I mention at the end of the piece my own conflict with the subject of Canada’s narrative. To do a full-bodied deconstruction of Canadian history requires a lot more than I can cram into a 10 minute article, so I’m not able to talk through the tension of Canada’s race-positive narrative versus my critical observations.

I understand Trudeau’s 21 seconds have read very differently to different people. There is a bigger article in here about the relationship between Canada and the US, as I feel the relationship is fundamentally toxic. The idea that Trudeau feels he can’t fully speak his mind about such a blatant abuse of power probably says more about the Canada-US relationship than Trudeau himself.

*it is obviously impossible to accurately describe the experience of every person in a country so I am speaking for the experience I got myself in addition to the impressions I have gotten from the experiences of others that I am close to. Im sure there are those with different experiences, particularly those who grow up on reservations or immigrant families.

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Scientist / Writer / Environmentalist ~ I would love to work with you. Learn more about me: https://jesse-harris.ca/

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