What’s wrong with Canada?
Jun Lin’s mother said “We still believe that most people here are very kind, but this heinous crime happened in Canada. It’s made me reconsider what kind of place this is,” and she said that Jun Lin saw Canada as “a peaceful place with great respect for multiculturalism.” These words really made me think.
Canadians are known to be among the nicest people in the world. Canadians are kind, caring and polite. If you bump into us or step on our foot, WE apologize! This is true for most fellow Canadians I know. Canadians can travel the world with the Maple Leaf Flag sown proudly on our backpacks. Not only that but Canada is a highly sought after place to live for people looking to move away from other countries. A land of opportunity, a place they can come and maintain their cultural identity. Unlike the melting pot of the US, in Canada we celebrate our differences. We are happy to have diverse communities and circles of friends.
But there is a flip side to this, a darker side. Because we celebrate cultural identity so much, some of us are left out. As a Canadian whose family has been in this country for many many generations, my ancestral roots are all but gone. It matters not what European country my ancestors came from, as I do not identify as European. Like most Canadians, the closest identity I can relate to is American, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a Canadian waving the Star-Spangled Banner. We’ll take your music, movies, and TV shows thanks, but you can keep your “culture of fear” (Michael Moore).
You see places like Chinatown and Little Italy and although Canadians accept everyone into our communities, these people have a second close knit community to be a part of. People like me and Luka do not. It’s somewhat alienating at times. It’s obvious that Luka also experienced this, given his attempts to identify himself as Russian and Italian, for example. We would love to have a culture to proudly celebrate outside of maple syrup, Beaver Tails and poutine! Food is not an identity; it’s only a part of what makes up a culture. We Canadians have no traditional national attire, no dance. Even our own music and TV is very much like the Americans’, but with a special brand of dry Canadian humour thrown in. This is where I think French-Canadians are better off and is possibly why Luka moved to Montreal in the first place.
Take somone with the obvious identity issues that Luka has and compound this with living in a multicultural society as a member lacking a cultural identity and I can’t help but wonder if “Canada” is part of the problem in a roundabout way. Now before you start going off on me for justifying what Luka allegedly did, please see that’s not what I’m doing, nor am I saying that this is bound to happen to many other non-descript white Canadians. What I am saying is that this could be a part of what’s wrong with our society. After all, how many other Canadian killers belong to this same group of “average white Canadians”?…Russell Williams, Robert Pickton, Paul Bernardo, Karla Homolka, Michael Rafferty, to name a few. It seems to me that there’s a possibility for this problem to cause much more serious disconnects than just racism.
Dear Mrs. Du and Mr. Lin, racism did not kill your son, but “Canada” might be partially to blame, and for that we’re all terribly sorry. While it is tragically too late for Jun Lin, I hope it’s not too late for our society to change. Maybe if people stopped looking at this as the psychotic break of an inhuman monster, and realized that we all and our society are partially to blame, we could prevent future atrocities. Sadly, the way we’re going now, it seems like tragedies like this one will continue to occur, while we sit back blaming the perpetrators instead of trying to fix the circumstances that create the monsters among us. Jun Lin’s mother’s view of Canada has been shattered; if only Canadians could see it the same.
RIP Jun Lin