My Canada has always been a place where the idea of white Anglophone superiority is driven home with consistent ferocity. Though I have a Canadian passport accepted around the world, that doesn’t mean I am accepted as Canadian. I used to internalize that rejection, fuelling my travel with a desperate longing for a new home. That phase is over now. I know that I belong to this place, and I’ve become used to asserting that.
Between my global views and my local wounds, I consider my citizenship a lucky penny with a tarnished side. Canada was, without a doubt, a good place to be born. I have had a safe and comfortable life here. But I refuse to be endlessly grateful to anyone other than my parents. The comfort I live in is no more than I deserve, since housing, health care and education are basic human rights, and hardly guaranteed to every person born in this country. And that comfort comes with a price, anyway. It requires me to know my place, refrain from challenging it, and help maintain an often unjust order – one built on an illusion of equality and opportunity.
I’m constantly grateful that my parents moved to Canada when I was a child, and that I have been given so much opportunity by growing up here. I need to be better at remembering that this opportunity is not given to everyone, even those that live in this country, and that I must challenge that inequity regularly, constantly.