When people think of Canada they think of a country having basic safety and security, human rights and freedoms among other things and overall great living conditions. However, this is not true as it has not always been this way. Canada was not always as accepting or welcoming to its current progressive and liberal values in the past, and it took a lot to get to where it is now. Although, Canada still is no way close to being the perfect country, but it is definitely better in comparison to other nations. When talking about the past, Canada faced several serious challenges that were mainly faced by minority groups like the indigenous communities, and the LGBTQ community. These two minority groups have fought their way out of the unjust social system and contested the system’s morals and values which over the years has led to better and improved standards of living for these communities. However, despite such developments over the years the indigenous communities are still treated unfairly and their rights are often challenged and at times infringed. Moreover, the Canadian hero Terry fox is another great example of a person that has greatly impacted the lives of many Canadians through his work for people with disabilities and cancer research. Canadians, particularly the LGBTQ community, indigenous communities as well as the Canadian hero Terry Fox have contributed significantly to the values of Canadian society throughout the course of history to bring change for the better.
The LGBTQ community were not considered normal people up until 1960s, but the prime minster at the time Pierre Elliot Trudeau changed this unjust treatment as he was a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights. Although today discrimination against LGBT people persists in many places, but many have accepted them around the world. This challenges with LGBTQ people acceptance in society was brought to everyone’s attention when in 1967, Everett George klippert was sentenced for being a dangerous sexual offender, but his only crime was that he was homosexual. (Armstrong) Being homosexual at the time was not accepted in Canadian society which was reflected in most of the supreme court decisions that were never in favor of people part of LGBTQ. The homosexuals during that time were not given the same human rights as other Canadians. Even after former prime minister educated everyone that it did not matter what sexual orientation an individual belonged to as it is one’s right to make their own choices and to be treated equally and fairly no matter what sexual orientation one preferred. Despite the support from some people the LGBTQ community faced several challenges and still to this day they face challenges in their everyday lives. Still in some countries around the world same-sex marriage is not legal, and it was only made legal in Canada in 2005. To this day many people get attacked for belonging to LGBTQ as there are still majority of people that are not accepting of people belonging to different sexual orientations which are against the so called societal “norms”. According to the 2014 General Social Survey, on Canadians’ Safety Canadians aged 18 years and older who identified as lesbian or gay and bisexual were much more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be victims of violent crime. Nevertheless, the LGBTQ community should be given credit for challenging the value of Canadian society that they have fought to change and continue to fight for their rights and freedoms.
Indigenous communities in Canada have also had a great share of challenges that they have faced throughout the history and still face a great deal of issues that are ongoing. Indigenous groups have been treated very poorly. Looking back at Canadian history it’s all about the torture the indigenous communities had to go through and then Canadians trying to make up for what they did in the past. The first Nations, Inuit, metis and many more are all part of the indigenous community, these groups were the first to reside on the land that is called Canada, even before the Europeans settlers came and took over indigenous lands. Indigenous people were treated so poorly, for example residential schools were built specially for indigenous children to attend so they could forget their indigenous way of living and adopt and adapt to the value and norms of Europeans. The colonial settlers took indigenous kids away from their families and taught them their values and culture so that they can forget their indigenous culture and traditions. The Europeans believed that indigenous community were not living life properly. But fortunately residential schools were shut down. However, that didn’t end the problem or the challenges that indigenous communities face but have come a long way. They have fought very hard to get their rights and the challenge the unjust and cruel system and by standing up for themselves and their rights and freedoms. To this day the indigenous communities are struggle due to what happened to them decades ago, the impact has been so strong. As a result, many of the indigenous people are highly dependent on alcohol and drugs and they do this to forget about all the pain they had to endure and are still facing. Even though Canadian government and the authorities in charge have apologized for their cruel treatment of indigenous groups but still have put indigenous people on reserves where the living conditions are very poor without any proper facilities.
In addition, Terry Fox has also played a very influential role in Canadian history as he has worked as an activist for people with disabilities and raised money for cancer research. Terry was 18-year-old, when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. His right leg was amputated six inches above the knee, and he underwent chemotherapy. While in hospital, Terry was so sad by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children, that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Growing up terry was an athlete he loved playing sports and was even on the basketball team at SFU. Terry began his Marathon of Hope on April 12, 1980 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Terry is still a big influence on people with disabilities.(The Marathon of hope). After he was seen running with his prosthetic leg, many people took inspiration from him since despite having a prosthetic leg he conducted himself in a very normal manner his disability did not make him weak or challenge his normality. Instead Terry was more motivated to inspire people like him or people in similar situations like him to not feel sorry about themselves and that no one’s disability should come in the way of living a normal happy life. Many people related with him and his struggles. Terry’s legacy lives on till this day, every year all schools and communities have a terry fox day where they run to raise money for cancer research. He changed people’s attitude towards the disability, and he showed that while cancer had claimed his leg, his spirit was unbreakable.
In conclusion the indigenous groups, the LGBTQ community as well as Terry Fox had challenged the Canadians value of the past to get to where the country is today in terms of its values and progressive system. However, there is still a long way to go as the LGBTQ and the indigenous communities still face a number of challenges that can improved with hearing them out and giving them the rights they require to feel welcomed and accepted in society. But Canada did have great hero’s like Terry Fox who helped remove the stigma around people with disabilities and contributed towards cancer research. All these, the indigenous groups, LGBTQ community and Terry Fox are great examples of people challenging the old colonial value system of Canada to bring about change and have contributed significantly to the values of Canadian society throughout the course of history to bring change for the better.
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