I have not posted since finishing my photojournalism program at Loyalist College. But I was happily surprised to get a call from Reuters on the morning of June 18 to cover the taking down of the Sir John A. MacDonald statue at City Park in Kingston. Special thanks to Alex Filipe, another Loyalist photojournalism grad, who sent Reuters my way to cover this event.
The pictures below represent the mood at the event. There was an emotional press conference by indigenous people about what this event meant for them. There were also indigenous people expressing their joy with music and dance as they celebrated. On the other hand, there were also a few Kingstonians expressing their disagreements with this action.
I must say that attending this event has allowed me to reflect a bit more on the events of the last few weeks in Canada related to the residential schools.
There is no doubt that Canada has made some bad decisions in the past that have affected some communities in a terrible way. Canada is not perfect and we need to recognize, learn from, and grow from our past mistakes. However, we also have to put these mistakes in their proper context. It is too easy to judge past actions against today’s reality.
We, as individual Canadians, also need to learn from each other as so many of us come from different background. My own roots are French Canadian and European and that makes it more difficult for me to understand what Canada’s indigenous people have been through. I must therefore make up for that lack of knowledge by listening better while showing compassion for all points of view expressed. As Canadians, our diversity is a strength but it is also a challenge. We must do better at expressing our diversity as a strength and not let it divide us.
I therefore cannot agree about this being “minority triumphing over the democratic wishes of the majority”. Most Canadians are members of some minority in one form or another. We must learn to develop solutions that respects everyone’s aspirations. Of course, that is not easy, but it is what makes Canada what it is.
I still believe that Canada is one of the best countries in the world to live, no matter where your roots might be from. Yes, we have made mistakes along the way, but we have also been very successful in developing a prosperous and peaceful nation. Let’s all learn from our past mistakes, even better, let’s learn from others’ mistakes, and improve on what we have already achieved together.