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I am taking this opportunity to wish my country prosperity, peace and justice. Happy Canada Day.
However, I am worried about the trend my nation is taking -- one away from the principles of justice, equality, peacekeeping and other noble qualities Canada used to be known and respected for.
The Harper government has introduced a two-tier system where Canadians who were not born in Canada can lose their citizenship as outlined in Bill C-24. Whereas Canadians who were born in Canada will not face the same consequences even if they were accused of the same violations.
This reminds me of when I was jumping up and down celebrating my citizenship. Someone told me not to be too excited about it. You have to be white to be a true Canadian, he said.
All that you hear, he added, about rights of citizenship are only temporary for you. He advised me to always read the fine print of every product. You will always be a second class citizen, and it can be taken away without notice, he said.
His remarks are making sense now with the newly introduced divisive Bill C-24, but the list does not stop there.
Bill C-51 was introduced to take away the rights and civil liberties of Canadians, especially those who look a certain way, in the name of fighting 'terrorism'.
Women who choose to wear certain religious attire, such as the niqab, can not take their citizenship tests anymore.
There are serious questions we need to ask ourselves. We should not play smart as some politicians do and avoid the real issue altogether.
As we are celebrating the birthday of our nation on July 1, we should strive to maintain our principles of justice and equality which has brought us to where we are today.
Our whole world is in turmoil. Wars, mass killings, catastrophes, starvation and injustices are rampant. Let us pause to reflect on what we can do for the betterment of humanity.
We live in global village where we are interconnected more than ever before. We should take this opportunity to come together and ask ourselves what has gone wrong?
We should not take things for granted and assume that what is taking place in other countries will not affect us here. Sooner or later it will.
Why have we failed to be able to play a role in establishing some kind of a just peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis? Why have we failed to do something about it for so long and instead have been taking sides, which serve our political agenda here at home?
Why do we only intervene to stop massacres around the world when it serves our interest and look the other way when we don't get a piece of the pie? Like Canada's lack of action in Syria to stop President Assad's slaughtering of his own people?
Canada Day celebration should be a chance to bring Canadians together to tackle the many problems facing people in Canada and abroad. Things are getting out of control. The ship is almost sinking. We need to play a key role around the world in order to establish justice.
Our hypocrisy and double standard is not helping. Instead it is making things worse. It is adding fuel into the fire including the fight against terrorism.
Peace and justice are the two qualities missing in today's world. We need to change that.
Happy and prosperous Canada Day!
Abubakar N. Kasim is a freelance writer lives in Mississauga.
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