How does Donald Trump celebrate Canada Day

150th birthday : A big experiment called Canada

Canada is celebrating. The national holiday "Canada Day" on July 1st is a special holiday this time: The state of Canada is 150 years old. There are festivals across the country, the biggest birthday party takes place in the capital Ottawa, where half a million people are expected in parliament.

Melissa and Andrew Gawrys came to Ottawa with their five children a few days before the big celebrations in Whitby near Toronto. It is her first visit to the capital. They stroll with their children on the lawn in front of Parliament. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will be there on Saturday. With hundreds of thousands, who will be wrapped in red and white maple leaf flags, their faces painted red and waving flags.

For Melissa and Andrew, Canada is the country that respects people who immigrate from all over the world. “It's one of the Canadian values ​​we want to teach our children,” says Andrew. “Tolerance and the right to express one's opinion freely and without fear.” Melissa is a native of Canada. Andrew has a completely different résumé. "I'm an immigrant, came from Poland with my parents when I was five in 1981." It was the year that ended with the imposition of martial law in Poland and the suppression of the trade union movement.

High standards of education and living

Canada is a land of vastness with fascinating landscapes, but also with modern cities and a wealth of natural resources that it is envied for. The residents generally enjoy a high standard of living and education. Internationally, Canada is seen as the model country of multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence of many ethnic groups. His immigration policy is seen as a role model. The country is home to a population of more than 200 different ethnic origins and as many languages ​​(including the two official languages, English and French, and approximately 65 native Canadian languages).

2017 will be a year to understand the potential of this “great experiment” Canada, says Governor General David Johnston, representative of Queen Elizabeth II, who as the “Queen of Canada” is the formal head of state of Canada. “Even after 150 years, Canada is an evolving social experiment.” An experiment in the sense that to this day people from all over the world, long-time residents and newcomers, come together to make the state a success.

With the election of Trudeau, Canada gained in reputation

The Canadian experiment doesn't just go back 150 years, however. Thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans, indigenous peoples lived in this country - now known as "First Nations" - and the Inuit of the Arctic. From the 16th century the French, British, Irish, Scots and Germans came. Rangers and fur traders advanced west. The people of the "Metis" emerged from the contacts between European settlers and Indian peoples, and today they are recognized as the third indigenous people of Canada. Canada can only be proud of its diversity if everyone participates in its success. And, as Governor General Johnston says, that has not yet been achieved among the Native Americans.

The fact that areas of what is now Canada that were colonies of Great Britain amalgamated into one state in 1867 was less an expression of a striving for independence. It was rather an effort to jointly oppose a possible expansionist drive by the USA, where the civil war between northern and southern states was raging. The British North America Act was negotiated in several conferences in Canada and London. It was passed by Parliament in London in the early summer of 1867 and came into force on July 1st. The present-day provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were thus united to form the "Dominion of Canada". Today the almost ten million square kilometer country is a colossus from the Atlantic to the Pacific and to the Arctic Ocean.

“As Canadians, we know that our diversity makes us stronger,” said Prime Minister Trudeau. With the election of the now 45-year-old liberal politician as Prime Minister in October 2015, Canada gained in reputation. His unconventional demeanor and his commitment to feminism, immigration and the acceptance of refugees have earned him and his country a lot of international recognition. And the election of US President Donald Trump shows the world that Canada works differently. A populist movement that could focus on xenophobia and isolationism cannot be ruled out in Canada either, but it is currently not in sight.

The differences to the USA are striking

Canadians are allergic anyway if you lump them together with the USA. Because the differences to America are striking. The death penalty has been abolished. There is no right to carry weapons. Canada has had a public health system for around 50 years. The people value their country's independent course - as in the times of the Vietnam War, when US deserters were allowed to come to Canada. Or like 15 years ago, when Canada did not send soldiers to the Iraq war.

But not everyone feels like celebrating. This applies, for example, to the advocates of Quebec's independence, who continue to be reserved or hostile towards the state. But above all it is true of the indigenous peoples. Racism and colonialism have long shaped Canada's attitude towards its indigenous peoples. The tragedy of boarding schools, in which Indian and Inuit children were to be forcibly assimilated into the 1960s, were robbed of their language and culture.

If there is one thing indigenous peoples celebrate, it is the fact that despite colonization and oppression, they are still there. "And that we have regained our pride," says Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Indian nations. Reconciliation with the indigenous people is one of the great challenges that Canadians are slowly becoming aware of. However, they also ask how it can be possible to maintain “Canadian values” as a binding bond in a society that is dependent on immigration.

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