Canada’s 150th birthday bash is over. The estimated cost for this birthday bash not including security costs are 500 million dollars. The 150th birthday party was something the Harper Government put into play and the Trudeau government could have and should have nixed right away, using its majority status, in the House of Commons. There were two good reasons why Canada should not have thrown this party:
- The government has maintained that it cannot afford to provide much-needed services to all Canadians.
- It was wrong to celebrate Canada’s historical and continued abuse of its indigenous people.
While the government claims that Canada’s indigenous peoples must wait patiently for fresh drinking water, the healthcare program is unsustainable and Canadians must work longer before they retire, the government spent a half a billion tax payer dollars on a nationwide party.
I could not celebrate knowing that:
- What was being celebrated was a history of genocide, theft of land and resources, discriminatory laws, policies, and the exclusion of Canada’s indigenous people from their territories.
- While Canadians partied, as many as 200,000 Canadians were homeless: living and dying on the street.
- While the government spent 500 million dollars on a party, one in four Canadians who do not have drug insurance are unable to afford to take their prescription drugs as directed by their doctor: One in 10 Canadians struggle to pay for their drug treatments, even if they have public or/and private insurance: Millions of patients fail to fill or refill prescriptions, or skip doses to cut costs.
- Morally and ethically the price tag for Canada’s 150th birthday bash was too high.
Infrastructure Projects included Canada spending 300 million dollars to get Canada clean and presentable enough to be seen by visitors. Canadians might want to consider why these types of infrastructure projects were necessary. Why is Canada not always kept clean and presentable enough for visitors to our country?
On the other hand, a lot of Canadians find the money that was spent on events for the most part a big waste. The funding for the Events category was split into 3 groups. (38 Signature Events, Community Events, and Big Events. Estimated cost of all Events = 300 million dollars.
Signature Events estimated cost = 80 million dollars to pay for things such as a re-enactment of a canoe race.
Community Events estimated cost = 100 million dollars to pay for things such as a giant snakes and ladders game in Calgary. Price tag = 416 thousand dollars.
Big Events estimated cost = 20 million dollars to pay for things like the celebration in Ottawa on Canada Day.
The 500 million dollar estimated price tag for Canada’s 150th birthday party does not even include the cost of security for the parties being held from coast, to coast, to coast. The estimated price tag for Ottawa’s security alone which does not include the cost for the RCMP is $1.5 million dollars.
When I first heard of the idea to hold a party across Canada to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, I was thrilled. My mind drifted back 1967 and how different things were back then. How young we were, and how little we really knew, or cared about the moral, ethical, and financial cost of such celebrations. We, who celebrated last time are no longer children. No longer can we claim not to know the price others paid in suffering and blood for this type of celebration and nationwide party.
I look forward to a time when all Canadians can celebrate some Canadian firsts, like:
- no more court cases being fought by provincial and federal government, seeking to prevent First Nations from getting what is owed to them;
- no more Canadians living and dying homeless on Canadian streets;
- everyone in Canada able to get the medication that is prescribed to them by their physicians;
- every Canadian citizen being able to afford and have access to operations advised by their doctors in a timely fashion;
- every Canadian being able to get access to the same level of education no matter their financial position.
Canada’s 150th birthday party proved:
- that politicians are more interested in doing things that look good, without caring if they do good for the people of Canada;
- how wrong the government is prioritizing how and what to spend tax dollars on;
- how little Stephen Harper cared about the historical and continued abuse of Canada’s indigenous people and how Justin Trudeau speaks with a forked tongue.
It is the responsibility of the people to hold government to account and to this end Canadians are not upholding their end of the deal. Canadians from this moment on need to stop whining about the long waits in emergency rooms, lack of funding for needed medications, or higher education. Canadians need to think instead of the great Canada Day celebration they had; the giant rubber duck and the re-enactment of the canoe race they saw. Canadians need to think about all of the fun they had celebrating. Or, perhaps the next time Canadian politicians want to spend half a billion dollars celebrating something, Canadians might want to consider what exactly are they celebrating and is it worth the cost?